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Comparing the virtual worlds of Warcraft, Second Life, and Eve Online to our own yields some surprising stats

Above: Epiphany learned some surprising things from comparing virtual worlds to our real world.

Image Credit: Epiphany

Online virtual worlds have become huge, but you can actually get a much better idea of how vast they are by comparing them to the real world.

Digital marketing agency Epiphany did that and came up with some very interesting comparisons for three of the biggest worlds, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft massively multiplayer online role-playing game, CCP’s space-themed MMO Eve Online, and Linden Lab’s Second Life.

Epiphany created some beautiful pages with the comparisons, and you can see some of those stats in the images.

World of Warcraft vs. real life

World of Warcraft population

Above: World of Warcraft’s population

Image Credit: Epiphany/Blizzard

World of Warcraft has more than 7 million active players. The game’s subscriber numbers had a peak of 12 million, which compares to a population of 11.5 million for Moscow, the world’s fifth-largest city.

About 84 percent of WOW’s population is male, while 83 percent of the U.S. military is male. Wealth distribution in the game is actually more equitable than it is in real life. About 25 percent of the players own 84 percent of the game’s wealth, whereas 1 percent of the real world’s population owns 35 percent of the wealth.

WOW uses about 1.3 petabytes of data, or about 1.3 million gigabytes. That equals 2,760 500GB hard drives, and is similar to the storage space that every photo on Facebook uses.

If you ever wondered why it’s so hard to dislodge fans from World of Warcraft and get them to play another game, it’s because its players are heavily invested in the world.

Second Life vs. real life

Second Life facts

Above: Second Life facts

Image Credit: Epiphany

Second Life is as much an online marketplace for digital goods as it is a game. You can trade stuff and receive in-game currency and cash that out in the real world. At 800,000, Second Life’s peak population was just short of the 825,000 folks living in San Francisco.

One English pound equals 410 Linden dollars. In 2007, Second Life saw a financial collapse when developers announced it would ban real-money gambling inside the game. That caused thousands of players to rush to Ginko Financial to retrieve their currency and sell it off. The run on the bank caused a shutdown and wiped out around $750,000 in real money.

Second Life has 10 embassies from real countries (Maldives, Sweden, Serbia, Estonia, Colombia, Macedonia, the Philippines, Albania, Malta, and Djibouti), compared to just seven in the real world in Pyongyang, North Korea (Germany, Sweden, U.K., Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria).

English is the most popular language in Second Life. From 2006 to 2011, Second Life saw a 4,000 percent increased in users. During that time, real-world Internet growth doubled.

Eve Online vs. real life

Eve Online stats

Above: Eve Online stats

Image Credit: Epiphany

CCP’s sci-fi online game Eve Online has been around since 2003. It has a whole galaxy, complete with alien races, stargates, and 7,699 star systems, compared to about 797 known planetary systems in the Milky Way. With a population of 500,000, it is just larger than Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, at 495,000.

The closed economy created within the game amounts to about $20 million in the real world. The profits from the game have topped $300 million, and CCP has hired professional economists to manage the game’s financial system.

About 96 percent of the players are male. By comparison, about 90 percent of astronauts have been male in the real world.

More information:

Activision (Activision Blizzard) is an American video game developer and publisher headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, but now operating worldwide. It was the first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consol... read more »

CCP was founded in the summer of 1997 with the goal of becoming a leading massively multiplayer game company. With the launch of EVE Online in May 2003, CCP has established itself as one of the leading companies in the field, winning n... read more »

Linden Lab believes creativity is in all people, and we make digital tools that let you have fun while exploring and sharing your own creativity. Best known for Second Life, the groundbreaking virtual world filled with users’ creatio... read more »

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