It can be challenging to know what to believe in the Eve community. For decades now there have been those among us that regularly post charts showing the definitive decline (and eventual death) of our treasured game. Server counts declining. Average on-line numbers declining. The end is near! The end is nigh!! Good grief I've talked about this process endlessly over the years here in these pages and no one listens. The funny part for me is that I've been putting a positive spin on Eve Online's ongoing near death experience for 12 years now... let that sink in for a moment. I've been writing about how the naysayers are wrong for 12 years! How would that be possible if Eve had died already? Obviously, it hasn't.
So today I thought I'd share with you all a little chart I keep track of as CEO of Stay Frosty. The chart above shows our monthly kills across NINE YEARS. I also keep other charts, but for the purposes of this post this one makes the most sense. You can clearly see that we average 1,500+ kills each month over the course of those years. And you can also clearly see the highs and lows across that time, with a rather large dip in the time-frame between 2018 and 2020. Those two years are my fault for having a very demanding series of full-time jobs! I blame no one but myself as I was not logging in all that often during those two years.
The period I want to point out today however is the Pandemic Era - from early 2020 until today. As you can see those two years plus have been the most consistent across our history. The two giant spikes being the most recent FFA events before this year's event. For some reason this year's event did not create as big of a spike - I think we were too busy handing out ships! I use this chart to measure activity and to keep an eye on any negative trends that might be happening. And I have to say that the last two years have been extremely encouraging from an activity stand-point.
Normally the dips you see are typically around the summer months from June until September, these are often the most challenging months of the year for general activity across the cluster. Lower log-in numbers mean less potential targets. And while this Summer has certainly shown less daily log-in numbers on the server (I can't argue that as it happens every year) it has not shown less significant ACTIVITY in space. Quite the opposite in fact. Right now we are smack dab in the middle of what should normally be our slowest time of the year and yet this month (July) we are on track to potentially break 2,000 kills in a month. At the very least July may be our most active month since the last FFA. For July to hit such a mark is unheard of.
In July 2019 we hit 724 kills total. July 2018- 731.
Look I know server numbers are important and are certainly a data set we should be concerned about. But I also know that server numbers do not tell a complete picture. Let's say we have 1,000 people logging into Eve on average. If 300 of them never undock and 300 of them are bots, then that only leaves 400 out in space generating content. But if only 600 log-in on average and 500 of them are active, then Eve is a much better and more engaged community. So less daily log-ins are not the only metric here, in fact I could argue that it is a grossly misleading one. But how do we measure active subscribers?
The chart above is the one I use. We can't explode people who are not in space. Our numbers go up when activity goes up, that is the only way that happens. More people actually in space, doing space things, means more kills for your friendly neighborhood pirates. And it also means more content for everyone.
So while the people who scream doom and gloom from the rooftops get all the attention, just know that some of us are paying even closer attention to the numbers that really matter. The numbers that impact the actual game and how we play it. And while I'd love nothing more than to see the player numbers on my launcher get bigger - I'd much rather have less inactive, bot, and other characters that contribute nothing to the game itself.
If Eve is really going to live forever it will be because of us, players who undock and bring content to the universe in one way or another. And please don't hit me with examples of content providers who stay docked all day, I am aware of those exceptions. I'm talking about numbers here, big sweeping averages. Not exceptions to rules.
From my perspective the last two years have been fantastic.