By now most of you have probably seen this chart collection making the rounds. Once again the cries that Eve Online is dying are bouncing around the community and everyone has their own opinion about the reasons why. If you are wondering, I don't have an opinion. I have a lot of thoughts about it. I have some general ideas about it. But I'm in the business of knowing things, of using data to come to conclusions, and then using my experience, talent, and wisdom to develop solutions that work. I simply have none of those things right now. I don't work for CCP and I have no access to any real information. Without that all I'm left with is what we see above and that is not good. In fact, it is pretty damn horrible.
I'd point you to this article published way back in 2013 that makes the case that MMOs are doomed to failure. It is an interesting read. Just keep in mind that it was written nine years ago.
I'd also point you to various sources all over the internet that show all MMOs and video games in general have taken a significant hit lately. Many people believe this is a result of the pandemic push-back after two years of being stuck at home. While people spent a lot of time playing video games during the lockdown, now that things are opening back up - the numbers are falling all around. That is certainly yet another factor.
I could go on. As in any business there are multiple factors at play in the rise and fall of numbers, some within your control and some outside of your control. The world continues to change around you and you have to adapt or die as a result of those changes. This is true for all businesses. There is no escape. I just recently came from a stint in the eCommerce world and things are much more volatile there. Lots of finger pointing going on.
Steve Jobs said a lot of wise things, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them." is one of my personal favorites. Another one is, "You just can't ask customers what they want, by the time you get it built they'll want something else."
One of the great things about the "expansion" era of Eve Online was the anticipation of something new, the drama involved, the worry, the stress, the expectation of something truly innovative happening. Suddenly we got Wormholes. Tech3 Cruisers. Triglavians. Faction Warfare. New ships. Look back at the history of expansions and suddenly you see a regular and dedicated series of innovative and inspired development. And then Incarna and Walking in Stations happened. And since then, for the most part, we've stepped away from the expansion mentality. And while I can certainly appreciate the reasons why that happened - it wasn't the expansions themselves that we looked forward to - it was the leadership and the innovation.
And I think that is what we miss the most. Lately it seems as if CCP is mostly focused on giving the community what they want. Iterating existing ideas. Pulling back from innovative concepts because some people don't like them. Just look at what happened with Blackout, or NPCs attacking stations, or any of a number of other examples. Where did the daring go? Where did the new ideas go?
Look I'm as excited as anyone about the coming FW changes and I'm more than happy that these are finally getting addressed. But let's be honest here, changes to FW are not new. They will be iteration and expansion of an already existing mechanic. And hopefully one that brings new and exciting things that can be used in other ways. We hope. And I'm not complaining here. Or putting anyone who is working on these changes down. Not at all.
When was the last new ship introduced? When was the last old ship revised and updated? Can old ships even be updated anymore? Remember when we were getting regular updates to old ship designs? I remember. It has been a very long time.
It's time to shake things up. CCP needs to announce something innovative and new. We need jolt of leadership. Tell us and show us where Eve is heading. Where are we going? Why should we be excited to go there, where are you leading us? If CCP is bored of Eve Online, where does that leave us players?
To be fair, I'm not blaming all of Eve's woes and worries on CCP. Not at all. Like I said above, the world continues to change and evolve. I don't believe Eve is dying, at least not yet. And I know everyone at CCP is doing their best here. But it does feel like the leadership has fallen off over the last few years and I think they could be leading us better than they have been.
Now's the time to be bold.
As Steve Jobs once said, "It's not the customers job to know what they want."