Europeans latch on to 'Second Life'

European fans of the virtual world outnumber Second Life users in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific, study shows.

The popularity of Second Life continues to rocket, with the virtual world currently proving even more popular in Europe than in the United States.

In March, 61 percent of active residents were from Europe, compared with 16 percent from the States and 13 percent from the Asia-Pacific region, according to ComScore research.

The study calculated that about 1.3 million people ran the official software and logged into Second Life in March 2007. This represents an increase of 46 percent in the number of active residents from January 2007, ComScore said.

Second Life's own figures state that it has more than 6 million residents and that 1.7 million have logged in during the last 60 days.

Bob Ivins, managing director of ComScore Europe, said that with nearly 800,000 active residents in Europe, Second Life is proving to be popular on an international scale.

It is little wonder that brick-and-mortar businesses are seeing Second Life as a virtual-world way of accessing a global, real-world customer base, he said.

The ComScore research found that 61 percent of residents are male and 39 percent are female. While in the month of March, around 16 percent of Second Life users came from Germany, 8 percent came from France and 6 percent from the United Kingdom. The number of active residents of the virtual world coming from the U.K. grew 24 percent between January and March this year--compared with 92 percent growth in the number of U.S. users and a 70 percent increase in German fans.

In addition to the resident activity cited above, ComScore found that was visited by 3.6 million visitors in March, up 17 percent from the previous month and up 46 percent since January. ComScore said this indicates continuing and potential future growth in Second Life residents because the application used to access the virtual world is only available from this site.

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.

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