The founding principle behind EVE is maximizing human interaction.This is from Reynir Hardarson, CCP Creative Director and one of the founders of EVE Online.(1) Ironically, the quote comes from the World of Darkness presentation that happened early on Day Three of Fanfest.
And the more I think about it, the more it's interesting to me how many of the presentations at Fanfest had this as a subconscious theme. Virtually all of the presentations brought it up in one way or another: "More people! Bigger fights! More people! Bigger fights! More! Bigger!"
Those of us that actually like smaller-gang battles might be in trouble, of course. But the smaller-gang stuff has never particularly been what EVE has been about. EVE's main selling point and its competitive advantage has been in the ability to bring a couple of thousand people into the same system and let them fight it out. CCP Veritas did an excellent job of selling that the two times he presented.(2) The message was pretty clear: keep EVE's existing customers happy, and let as many of them as want to get into the same system and shoot each other.
What was missing from Fanfest this year from a lot of presentations was an appeal to add to the EVE player base,(3) except through what was almost my Quote of the Week:
The focus of this Fanfest is DUST 514.That one's Chris McDonough, World of Darkness Senior Producer, during the same presentation. And yep, most of the presentations had this as a subconscious (or flatly overt) theme as well. Fanfest was a Dustapalooza. CCP seems to be pinning the bulk of their hopes on DUST. Nowhere was this more blatant than in the framing of the keynote speeches. "Yesterday, we showed you CCP's past and present", the announcer said before the Saturday keynote. The implication: what we're about to show is the future. And what was shown? The focus was clearly on DUST 514. The strategy for 2012 seems to be "let's get a lot of new DUST players, have EVE players bomb them from orbit, and then hope that the DUST players want to participate in that bombing from orbit part themselves."
"We don't need to make EVE something it's not and we don't need Jesus features to get new players," David Reid said during his own presentation on Saturday, talking about keeping EVE a hard-core game. Not in EVE, anyway. DUST wasn't mentioned. ;-)
Tail, this is dog. Try not to wag him too hard.
The most interesting indicator of all? Seven thousand people were watching the DUST 514 keynote on EVE TV Thursday, Hilmar said when it began (I was one of them). And, oh by the way, he also mentioned, very casually, no big deal -- really, it's not very important at all -- but several hundred thousand were watching the keynote on the Playstation Home network.
Several. Hundred. Thousand.
In other words, there were probably more people watching on Playstation Home than there are EVE players... total. Remember what I said last year about order of magnitude jumps in customer bases? Reid wants to make "EVE + DUST the world's largest game universe." That's maximizing human interaction, all right.
(1) Technically, I think his last name is actually spelled Harðarson.
(2) He's also emerging as one of CCP's strongest presenters, and by far their strongest presenter on purely technical matters.
(3) Remember Hilmar last year, almost pleading with EVE players to help CCP introduce EVE to new players?