Why do people keep repeatedly
re-starting this old
discussion without doing any research whatsoever?
Quakenet's max user count in the last 2 years is 143,863 users. At the moment they're averaging 80,000. That's a loss of 60,000 in two years.
The story is similar for other IRC networks.
The story is similar for other networks, but you left out half of the story:
QuakeNet may have lost 60,000 people in 2 years, but it also gained 100k+ users in 2 years a few years earlier. Note that this was around the time that MySpace was hugely popular and Facebook was becoming so.
The story is that IRC is not dying, it's merely stabilizing. The growths of 200%+/yr you would have seen in the 2002-2004 years was not sustainable by any means. You see this same growth among most networks in that time period. No wonder these networks are getting smaller; they're stabilizing.
I'm sure there was a more interesting reason behind the increase in users at that specific time (counterstrike? p2p? who knows) but saying "IRC is dying" because you compare it to what it was 4 years ago is short-sighted and inaccurate. A more accurate comparison would be to IRC's user count before the 2002 "blip". Such an analysis would conclude that most networks are actually larger
than they were a decade ago, some by more than 2-5x.
It's also important to note that while some networks decline, other new
networks grow. So you still need to look at the complete picture of IRC. The network UStream.tv
has grown to ~40k users in the last year alone. That certainly accounts for much of the loss of QuakeNet users. I'm sure we can find other pockets of migration for other users as well. Networks like Rizon
have actually grown quite consistently over the last year, which shows promise. And of course, one of the biggest success stories, freenode
which has been growing extremely consistently over the last decade. It may not be the size of QuakeNet, but it's still a very healthy display of growth
QuakeNet sprung up just a little over a decade ago and is now the largest IRC network. One of the smaller networks right now could just be the next #1, so QuakeNet's decline (even if it's not just a stabilization) is not proof of any large scale decline of IRC.