Eve is Dying Again?


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."


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. First of all: I have a different view of that problem, and it´s my personal opinion, and that is the true for me, not the “true itself”. So, let´s go:
    “Lately it seems as if CCP is mostly focused on giving the community what they want” – By my point of view, that is not happening at all! If fact, there are several easy things community ask and CCP just do not care at all. Top of my mind is ship skins, dozen of it for a cheaper price. Simple put: No, they are no listening us for what we want. Instead, they are giving us a few things that suits them in then grand scheme of bring more money.
    “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?” – Yes! We need those back. Fast. It is a big component of the solution for the eveisdying problem.
    “I don't believe Eve is dying, at least not yet” – I do not believe it either. However, I firmly believe that the game is in a down ward that will lead to only the whales players staying. The other ones that do not have unlimited credit cards will be gone in a small timeframe. And do not be a fool, CCP KNOW it and do not care. As a business company the ultimate goal is money profit. They are making money now, yes they are. And that is the reason that things will not change for us.
    “And I know everyone at CCP is doing their best here” – Again, I do think it is true. Most of the employee are doing they jobs. Devs, tech people, Art team, they all doing what they need to do. Even the community team are doing they job very well (I have to admit, even when I do not like any of them). However, the ones in charge of the “true game direction” are not concern with the state of the game at all. For me, this is the biggest problem. The directors are concern with money (very!), and they are doing a very good work in bring the money in, but this will lead the game to the scenario that I told before. The good players will be gone, the one that do not care about the money will stay. The game will not die.
    But for me, the true EVE will be gone. And I will have to be very strong to leave two decades of joy. I am sorry, but I will not stay for the new “by money” eve game.
    It is hard for me to say, but for me the true is: After 18+ years of playing the game, for the first time in my life, I reach the point when I do not have faith in CCP anymore. So, now, I expect nothing, just the usual “ignore player base” CCP position. o7

    1. For someone with a different view, you ended up agreeing with me a lot. :)

      Just to address something here, and please don't take this the wrong way, but old CCP cared about money also. Trust me. This is a business and all the business people care about money. We should want them to care, to grow the game, to invest in it, and see it continue to grow. We make out, they make out. It's good for everyone.

      What you mean when you say that I think is the more "obvious" money grabs, or potential ones that seem to be on the horizon. But remember they did introduce F2P not long ago and yet the numbers continue to decline. Personally I think this has more to do with people's taste in games, the war in Ukraine, post-pandemic blues, and other factors than a money grab by CCP or PA. CCP's revenues did drop last quarter and that is concerning.

      But I think Eve is in transition. The question really is, into what?

    2. Leadership is difficult. Focus is hard to maintain over time, especially with continuing intensity. CCP has often fallen foul of both of these things. At one point or another they were awash with cash, see 2006 - 2010. They tried to buy diversification, it’s a typical business tactic merger and acquire, buy “organic” growth, they made the wrong bets and in trying to pursue the good money and intentions they lost focus from eve. They still don’t have the focus, they still have a leadership that is looking to make the next great entertainment tech leap - VR anyone, consoles? All this to say that I agree, we need to see innovation, a path ahead, not the iterative nuts and bolts grind we got at this years fan fest, but something that we want to be part of, inspired by, and presented to us passionately by an engaged leadership. Yeah sorry that was a bit long and wordy :(


Post a Comment