Big Increases in Older Second Life Population

Here’s a cool little piece of information that comes to us by way of Hitwise regarding Second Life: Interest in Second Life is increasing primarily among people over 45. Hitwise has been tracking visits to, which acts as a central portal and community site for the gaming world. Apparently, not only has the amount of hits received within the two weeks ending on Oct. 21 more than doubled since the two weeks ending on Oct. 7, but traffic to the site has increased 219% since 2005.

What’s even more interesting, though, is that the age of visitors to the website is beginning to skew significantly older. Comparing data collected in the four weeks ending Sept. 23 and another four week period ending on Oct. 21, the percentage of visitors between the ages 18 and 34 actually decreased, with the 18 to 24 range dropping a full 7%. Instead, big increases are being seen in the 45+ age bracket, with visitors aged 45 to 54 increasing by 3% and visitors over 55 increasing by about 10%.

I’ll be pretty interested to see how this translates into actual Second Life users. Right now, no good demographic statistics (and certainly none that take into account the quadrupling of the in-game population over the last six months) have been published. Damn, you, Linden Labs. Why must you tease me with interesting economic data, but keep the census data for yourself?

Anyway, anyone who’s heard me talk about Second Life on behalf of the lab knows that I’m a big fan of talking about the negatively skewed distribution of player ages in the virtual world and what exactly that means. What do you all think this means for world of Second Life? Is it "Today Corona, Tomorrow Metamucil?" Is it a greying of Second Life in the same sense as there's a greying of MySpace? I wonder if this will appeal to the same older demographics that love casual games.

I'm gonna throw the Hitwise graphs after the jump here for anyone wants them: