CCP has been doing extensive and intense introspection and revitalization. The result of this is a refocusing and reprioritization on a scale unheard of within our company.then there are two ways to look at that statement: from the point of view of the optimist, or the point of view of the alarmist. This is the optimist's view.
The optimist view states that having seen the mess they've gotten themselves into with the overly-ambitious plan they laid down for Incarna, CCP has learned from their past mistakes. They are ready to embrace a new vision of much more frequent, less massive expansions focusing on improvement of EVE's core game-play.
Let's start with the good news: EVE has no competition in the space they've created, at all. The Star Trek MMO is a flop and will soon be going F2P. I can't see this doing anything except greatly, greatly slowing down that game's development. TOR will not be entering this space, and every other attempt to create a solid EVE competitor has died or is dying on the launch pad. Perpetuum Online seems to be doing fine, but it's robots, not spaceships and at the end of the day, the audiences for the two games are different.
So that's the good news: CCP can take their time and now that they've decided to focus on flying-in-space, they have every reason to polish it to a high mirror shine.
I chatted with two friends of mine about EVE this morning. Both are lapsed EVE players.
I'm paraphrasing a bit, but one of them said "I'm in love with the idea of EVE, but not the implementation." As I've said a couple of times, CCP's own studies should show them the same thing: that lots of people have tried EVE but very few of those who try it actually stick with it. EVE's existing game-play is not that good and its NPE is worse, to the point where both of them are memes. CCP has hard data in front of them telling them this. All they need to do is look at the data and believe it... and that leads them naturally to the conclusion that it's the implementation of EVE's features that are the problem, not the features themselves.
So, a logical, rational approach to their own data should lead CCP's management by the hand to the conclusion that iteration of EVE's existing features will take them in the direction they need to go.
What about the curse of ambition? Trebor's blog post mentions that a feature war might well be underway in Reykjavik, but the optimist can disagree. Remember, the devblog directly states that CCP recognizes that its reach exceeded its grasp with Incarna. This is a very positive step in CCP's development, and growth as a company. They recognize that their plans tend to be overly-ambitious. Granted, they might again make the mistake of over-reaching in a year or two, but in the immediate future? No. I don't see it.
The feature whores will immediately start to yell that "polishing the sneaker" isn't going to bring in new players, but I completely disagree. EVE has always been at its most successful when they focus their marketing on two things:
- what the players are doing; and,
- boasting about what's already there.
On the other hand, direct advertising of in-game events -- including an actual TV commercial built by CCP's video team in 2008 was also hugely successful in bringing in new players. Whodathunkit? When you advertise your game in front of gamers, people might actually show up and play? CCP has dozens and dozens of hours of video footage that could easily be repurposed into TV or Internet advertising.
And in both cases, this would make the EVE game the news in the gaming journalism websites, instead of EVE's troubles. Good EVE press has always done a great job of bringing in new players. Starting a feature war will just piss us off again and cause us to create yet more bad press for EVE... the last thing CCP needs. I'm sure many in CCP are saying this flat-out right now to those that want to start a new wave of :awesome:. And I'm confident that view is being heard.
So, to summarize, CCP recognizes their collective faults and has vowed to change. The players have given them the first part of a road-map to guide this change, and the CSM will be fully supportive of efforts in this direction. So overall, the optimist has very good reason to remain optimistic.
The alarmist's view is down there somewhere. ::points down::