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.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday is recycling day

I've got enough material on this blog now that from time to time, if I feel like the message isn't getting through, I'm going to point backwards at an old post.  I'm going to start with something that I wrote more than six months ago, in March.  This is from a post called "The die is cast":
Every company dreams of "changing the paradigm" and making an order of magnitude jump in their customer base. In 1981-82, 300,000 CP/M computers suddenly became three million IBM PCs. In the early 90s, 10 million DOS computers became 100 million Windows 3.1 computers. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that somewhere in CCP, someone is dreaming of 300k EVE players suddenly morphing into three million DUST 514 players.

That thinking has almost certainly infected the Incarna team as well.

Remember: CCP is a business.  Take a look at the hard numbers.  The dark purple triangles are the EVE subscription database.  Ignore the other lines for a minute.  In January 2007, EVE passed 150,000 subscribers.  By April 2009, it passed 300,000.  In order to maintain the growth curve that EVE has enjoyed since 2003 and the growth curve to support their hiring practices over the last two years, the game should have passed 450,000 subscribers in October 2010.  Not only did that not happen, growth has completely stagnated for the last eighteen months.  Some have commented that the EVE graph is beginning to look alarmingly like the Ultima Online and Everquest graphs.  Just today, Casiella Truza, a respected EVE blogger, compared the EVE graph to the Star Wars Galaxies graph and said Incarna could break EVE entirely.

Can anyone share with me what CCP could have done with the in-space game to bring in those 150,000 subscribers they needed?  Because right now, CCP is highly motivated to change the paradigm: they've got 18 months of stagnant subscription numbers urging them on.

I'm sure that the Incarna team not only believes they can change the paradigm, they believe they have a license to ignore current player concerns as irrelevant, since I suspect they believe Incarna users will soon massively outnumber the current player base.
If you haven't read it before, please go out and read the entire post, then (if you feel like it) read the follow-up I wrote the next day.  When I wrote it in March, "18 months" was an estimate based on the MMO Data numbers, which were estimates of paid accounts.  Anyone who's followed my blog for more than a month knows the number of average logged-in players describes an even more dire situation: 30 months of stagnation, not 18.

What CCP is obviously doing to address this issue is a message that isn't getting through.  Some of the other EVE blogs don't get it.  The CSM doesn't get it.  Failheap certainly doesn't get it.  I'm going to have a lot to say about this topic in the next few days.


  1. Fiddler's Edge -almost- hit on it in April, 2010, in "EVE and the X by X Genetic Succession Unit."

    Which is funny to me.

  2. From the original article:

    "...as they walk down the Jita bazaar to check out the latest in EVE clothes, quarters, or the latest tattoo (each available for 99 cents)."

    99 cent imaginary t-shirts, what have you been smoking?

    Also, Eve is the purple squares in the graph.

  3. @Anon1214: thanks for the correction. In the last version of this chart, EVE was purple triangles. Now, as you correctly point out, they're squares.

    Also, in March, it wasn't known what the price of avatar clothing was going to be. ;-) Nobody in their right mind would have predicted CCP's final prices.

  4. As a very new player to eve (about four months)I have to say the new player experience in eve is pretty appalling. CCP lean very heavily on their community to provide even basic guides and documentation.

    I don't want the game to be easy but they really need to address the first six months a player is in the game. The only reason I've stuck it out is:

    a) I found a training corps who make me chuckle
    b) I've got a 1 year subscription

    If they want to attract new players they need to make the on-boarding process a little easier.

    Only now that I've just got over that 10,000,000 SP am I starting to feel competitive.

    I know someone will tell me it was much harder in the good old days, but there are hardly a handful of MMOs anymore.


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