For years, we've all been citing the subscription data collected by Bruce Woodcock at MMOGChart.com. SirBruce hasn't updated the numbers in a year. Understandable; the data-collection environment is expanding in all directions. Phil 'Vortal' White now bravely steps into the breach with MMOGData.com, apparently to continue and expand on Woodcock's efforts. What's especially cool is that Mr. White has started to break things down by business model. Free-to-play registrations at Runescape can be distinguished from subscription accounts at LOTRO. If he would add a Children/Teen/Adult variable, we would finally have a way to put Webkinz and Gaia and Club Penguin in perspective.
Let me also take this opportunity to howl into the ether once again about the need for formalized, official statistics for this virtual-worlding activity. The activity itself needs a name. What's a good verb for "going into a synthetic world"? And what name do we give to people doing that? Rory Starks has suggested "peggers" for the travelers, from MMORPG being pronounced "more-peg". The verb for doing the traveling would be "pegging."
Advertisers are not the only people who need to know where the eyeballs are. Parliament, Congress, the Bundestag, and the corresponding revenue-seeking agencies, are going to want to know very soon how many peggers there are and how much time they spend pegging. The industry needs to create an official, neutral statistics-reporting agency.
Until that solution is found, though, it would be nice if companies would send honest data to efforts like those of Mr. White.