Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, February 13, 2012

QOTW: Biggest game in the world

From the "you keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means" file comes this for the Quote of the Week:
With DUST 514 shipping this year, with bringing in the tens of millions of people that play shooters on PSN into the New Eden universe, EVE could be the biggest game in the world at the end of 2012.
The quote comes from an interview that Hilmar P├ętursson and David Reid, CCP's new Chief Marketing Officer, conducted with Ten Ton Hammer last week.  The quote itself is Reid talking about... wait.  What is he talking about?

I've mentioned this before, but now it's time to start emphasizing it: DUST 514 could easily become the tail that starts to wag EVE's dog.

This quote simply serves to confirm that upper management at CCP is thinking that way, too.  The Playstation Network has some 60 million accounts.  EVE Online has, at best, two million accounts (most of those long inactive).  To become an EVE-dwarfing success, all DUST 514 has to do is convince 5% of those PSN account-holders to play it for a while.  If only 10% of them become long-term DUST subscribers, that makes DUST 514 an EVE-smashing success.

Does a successful DUST 514 launch automatically make EVE Online succeed?  Maybe Mr. Reid and I disagree here, but no.  From where I'm sitting, it doesn't... particularly since the EVE-DUST link still apparently exists only on a drawing board somewhere.  Hopefully, there will be a lot of new information about this link at Fanfest in another month, but... you know... I kinda doubt it.  I don't think CCP's had the time to really flesh this part of the equation out yet.  Remember, the DUST 514 session at the CSM December Summit was cancelled because the DUST team wasn't ready to present anything at that time... not even the game itself.  The CSM hasn't seen it.  And unless The Mittani or Seleene or some other CSM6 member runs into the convention hall that first day of Fanfest, DUST 514 will be played by a random Fanfest attendee before it's played by a member of the CSM.

Am I worried about EVE becoming a subsidiary of the DUST 514 universe?  Yep.  A little bit.

Despite that, am I going to feel a little smug about predicting it would happen back in September if it happens?  You betcha.

Will I be happy for CCP if it happens?  Yeah, that too.  Like I keep saying, I'm inconsistent.  I'd like to see CCP succeed, and if this is what does it, more power to 'em.  That said, I'm not going to be playing DUST 514.  I'm going to be playing EVE.

A lot of people are predicting -- for various reasons -- that DUST 514 is going to fail.  And sure, that's a possibility.  If that happens, that leaves CCP with EVE as its successful product.

But the worry remains.  Overall, there's a pretty remarkable lack of EVE content in this interview, despite the fact that both Reid and P├ętursson keep injecting it into the discussion.  It's just that every time they do, they inject it as a property to learn from, and features and technology to insert into DUST 514 and World of Darkness.

Gulp.

27 comments:

  1. Well they hired Reid to get DUST 514 noticed. And I feel this is just a PR thing to get the mainstream media notice with big esclamations.

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  2. Kinda reads as the oldest child who suddenly starts to feel jealous of the (yet to be born) youngest child, because the later end up receiving more attention.

    Well, supposing this comparison holds true I'd like to go a step further and note that, statistically, parents take less photos of their second child than their first one (and hardly any of the third child).

    With that in mind I predict Dust won't receive as much in-house marketing as Eve (not as many walls covered with Dust posters, not as much overall employee passion, etc).

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  3. So how long until World of Darkness players are complaining that too much of their money is being spent on that irrelevant space game?

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  4. If EVE became the biggest game, I wonder if we would have to say good-bye to CSM. I am sure the Mittani's head would explode from that many people to subjugate.

    Dust did look like a cool game, and I try to recommend it if I know someone with a ps. But damn that is some big numbers there.

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  5. i expect dust to do very well initially and ccp to focus to much on dust because of all the $$$ it makes, neglect the eve community, then lose both. Eve dies because the community is sick off ccp and dust dies because FPS do not have a long life spans

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  6. I think people will play it for a while. Then they will either get bored of the game that doesn't really change as much as other shooters do to keep up with the latest shooter fad, or get tired of the EvE pilots crapping all over them a la the future vision of EvE video and go back to call of modern gears of halo.

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  7. I'm fairly confident that regardless if DUST 514 succeeds of fails, the game I enjoy playing, EVE, will continue. Who knows, if DUST 514 fails leads to more EVE devs?

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  8. I just don't get why they didnt make DUST for PC and PSN (or whatever). Many PC gamers already have had a taste of the EVE universe and would like a chance to play in it without all the drawbacks of playing EVE(myself included).

    Bummer

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  9. EVE has ~300k accounts

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    1. I chose to look at both active and inactive accounts. Thus, the count is likely much higher than the current number of subscribers (thought to be just shy 400k).

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  10. This is a very good article, much better then the firebrand CSM article Seleene posted. Many worries about dust-eve remain and some caution is advisable. But if our biggest worry is that DUST will become to succesfull I don't think we or CCP will find many reasons to complain.

    The link between DUST and EVE will be limited at the beginning of the game. This is what CCP always has been saying, it will probably have some sort of impact but I doubt Dustbunnies will be able to topple empires in a day. They will be part of corperations though, and I am curious to see in what way they'll be able to "meta-game" in that capacity.

    I personally look forward to DUST 514 and I aim to play it even though at the moment I do not own a ps3 (always wanted to buy one for media).

    The fact that that it isn't on PC is logical shooters and console just mix terribly well. Not having planetside 2 as a direct competitor but Sony (planetsides publisher) as a strategic ally doesn't hurt your changes either. Hillmar makes a good point though when he says that franchise shooters do have a years long lifespan, if DUST does an free update every 6 months like EVE and has some succes with its ftp/hybrid + retail? + gamecards? model it could have a very long lifespan.

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  11. This interview makes me worry. The language and the absolute head in the clouds attitude (10m people are not suddenly going to play Dust514 no matter how hard you want them to) makes me think that old CCP and all the kool-aid drinking might not have gone as far away as we all hoped it had.

    Or maybe its just marketing bluster.

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  12. Speaking of "gulp" what do you think EVE's lifetime as an MMO is?

    Dust will probably succeed. Persistent shooter mmo, for the win.

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  13. @ Anom 13/02 17:50 : Are you by any chance one of those people that stand on the street holding an "Armageddon is near, Repent!" signs?

    What's with all the doom and gloom? Dust may be connected to EVE, and eventually, EVE may even become subservient to a stronger Dust 514 following. At the end of the day, if it flops, there will just be more features in EVE never iterated upon, like others before them, but EVE will go on as long as there are players, and all the time EVE is growing.

    I hope Dust succeeds, I have my concerns sure, mainly at the longevity of the game, considering how console games don't tend to last long, certainly the PS3 is already a well established console nearing the later stages of it's life cycle. The Unreal 3 engine itself is also a considerable age, but this at least is fairly flexible and scalable.

    On the other hand maybe it will end up with a following like Halo, and last on past the next iteration of the playstation, and all PS3 games are backwards compatible on the PS4 yada yada yada, and the game will go on and continue to evolve and grow with EVE.

    I would like to think that CCP have at least enquired with Sony about the direction they are going with the PSN and PS3 and are satisfied with the answer, or at least have a back up plan to port over to PC at some point to continue the IP, again who knows.

    The game desperately needs something to set it apart from the other FPS clones in the world (see what I did there :) ), something to entice and draw in players, that focus is the link to EVE, if it isn't a go at launch, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will one of the highest priorities after just getting the game working.

    Honestly, I love it when developers take chances and innovate, don't get me wrong, CCP needs to watch themselves, that they don't slip back down the slippery slope of Q1-2 last year, but I think there is great potential in two awesome games linked together, and forget being a member of new-eden, just as a Gamer in general, I'm excited by that prospect.

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  14. I think CCP have been uncharacteristically sensible in keeping exceptionally quiet about what precisely will link EVE with DUST 514. I'm not catastrophising just yet about it as I fall into the group that think DUST will probably be a critical failure most likely because of buggy performance and poor gameplay compared to rival FPS games.

    But to any CCP employee reading this I would suggest the link between the two must meet 3 criteria for it to be sucessful;

    1.) The link should be tentative especially to start with. I prefer the 'two games, set in one universe' model rather than the total integration approach. DUST will need to focus on quality gameplay since that is what drives an FPS. Players will not have the patience to 'search' for fun in DUST in the same way that EVE players will spend a whole night jumping through 30 systems looking for a mining barge to gank.

    2.) The economy of DUST should be largely independent and seperate to the economy of EVE to start with, even though this goes in the face of obvious logic. If and when the two economies do interact it should NEVER be through ISK. Aurum would be one way, or an alternative would be for two currencies that interact via certain market items that are common and fairly fixed in value, i.e. basic ores/ammunition etc.

    3.) There should be no advantage - financial OR strategic in playing both EVE and DUST. I.e. one should not be able to set a contract for mercanaries to fight X battle in EVE, then log into DUST on their PS3 and accept that contract. If this happens, intentionally or not, it will become too much of a burden for a lot of EVE players. As things stand I tolerate the botters (even though it winds me up that they are driving market inflation and making my honest grind all that much harder), but I'm not going to go out and buy a PS3 to play an FPS I don't want to play simply in order to stay competitive in EVE - the game I DO want to play.

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  15. You've got a thing for patting yourself on the back for making "predictions." You're only one of many theorists out there. Save the smug. More even keeled content please.

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    1. Last I checked, Jester NEVER claimed anywhere in his blog to be an "unbiased news source".
      *lolsnort* Even-keeled...try putting a name to your suggestions and requests, they might carry more weight.

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    2. I wouldn't say it's smug, he makes predications that are frequently born out - you can't really argue with his track record.

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  16. I will sit back with popcorn and wait for the planetary bombardment fleets to go cruising along looking for active dusters.

    THAT should be interesting.

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  17. You know the more I ponder on this the more I can't help but wonder whether it might be a good thing for DUST to drive CCPs goals and ambitions. I agree there is always a danger that EVE will become a sideshow to a game that is, in almost all respects, polarisingly opposite. But provided it can retain its own identity and voice this move would take alot of the financial pressure off EVE to be a major commercial success.

    CCP have always struggled with the fact EVE seems to be an intrinsically niche product, and breaking out of that niche within the EVE framework looks to be virtually impossible - since anything that drives in new players appears to drive out old ones entrenched in their nearly decade long niche.

    If DUST was the primary money maker it would leave CCP to be more attentive to the EVE players aspirations for the game.

    Having said that I think a lot of this is centered on the idea that DUST will be such a long lived sucess as EVE, when PS3 games tend to have a very limited shelf-life. The only FPS games that can retain an audience are the 'benchmark' FPS games like Halo and Unreal. Even the megalithic COD franchise requires an annual revamp to keep people playing.

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  18. "(...) if you can grow after a year like that, what’s going to hold you back?"

    Hmm, arrogance, maybe?

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  19. Superb article - agree with practically all of it. However Enemies Abound 5/5 is a piece of piss in a Marauder with good to very good skills. And the loot /tags are highly worth it.

    Cast

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  20. My worry is... In the way EVE allows griefing, which is somewhat unique in the gaming world. Many of the FPSs players Dust will get have grown up in an environment where you are not only immortal, but it also protects your "stuff".

    Will we see same the kind of 'for the lulz' duster griefing that we do in EVE? Say, planetary bombardment griefing of dusters? We, the EVE community is smaller than it could be, I feel in no small part, directly due to noob griefing and grief play in general... how will players who have spent years with some form of game mechanics to protect them from this deal with being griefed by EVE players whose sole joy ingame is to cause rage and 'tears'?

    Will a cap pilot be able to bombard the clone facility over and over and over as soon as the dusters walk outside? There are those in EVE who, if allowed to, will do exactly that... and they would die LOLing over the 'tears' and rage quits they will generate if they can... and scream and rage over the dustybears unfair 'safety' if they can't.

    Will Dust be allowed, or even able, to be as harsh as EVE?

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  21. I'm not going to speculate about the probable success of DUST.

    What IS worrying though is that the DUST-EVE link is apparently following along the same path as the Incarna discussion.

    Whatever that link may be, and whenever it may be added to DUST, it is the biggest hyped up selling point for DUST. Without it DUST is just another run of the mill FPS perhaps with some somewhat novel game ideas (from what I've seen, well, I've seen it before).

    And there's the same hype about the EVE-DUST link as there was about Incarna for EVE: that it was part of a greater vision, and that it will be a huge game-changer for the game, hell the industry and the universe.

    But for that, with both Incarna and the DUST-EVE link, CCP won't even show it (or its precursor, or even what CCP is planning to do), to its duly elected and otherwise quite useless soundboard, no matter how NDAed that customer panel is. We know how ignoring the players worked out for Incarna and its :vision:.

    For the supposedly big thing this interface is to be, for both DUST and EVE apparently, how could anyone who still cares about the latter not be worried? Especially given CCP's history on this.

    And if you're right, and this thing is still on the drawing-board. With so many years in which to think something up. And with supposedly less than half a year until deployment. With it being clearly so important for DUST and EVE. Then really ...

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    1. Jester, what is your opinion? What reasons CCP could have to be so protective showing it's new game to us, or even to CSM members for that matter?

      I try to put myself on their shoes, but still see no reason for this.

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    2. I don't think we have to look much farther than "it's not ready to be touched by untrained hands yet". CCP tends to work pretty close to deadlines.

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