- CCP wasn't presenting to its current customers on Saturday. They were presenting to the press.
- It should not surprise EVE players that since the DUST players were more agitated, they received more attention.
- While as an EVE player, I was overall disaatisfied with Saturday, as a CSM member, I'm delighted.
If you're not at Fanfest, the thing you don't see on the stream is how people are filtered into the keynote venue. At the bottom and top levels are players of both games yes, but in the middle is the press area. And press were everywhere at this Fanfest. You couldn't throw a rock without hitting someone wearing a Press badge. I saw everything from local media to Eurogamer to Playboy in attendance, and every media outlet in between. I caught up with CCP Manifest at one point and asked him if he could arrange for a quiet place for me to write in the venue and he let me know that the press areas within the venue were totally full (I ended up doing my writing at the hotel).
What was the reason for the overlap with the other two keynotes? Press attention. What was the reason for the focus on the new products, particularly all that's happening in DUST? Press coverage of CCP's new game. Everything shown Saturday shows that CCP wants to broadly expand the audience of the "EVE universe". Will the comic and the TV show and the clothing line and the books of lore and the EVE Collector's Edition and the TV spot and the MMA fighter sponsorship all succeed? Of course not! This is a shotgun approach. You throw out mutliple things and you hope one or two things resonate. Something goes viral. That something expands your market. That's how this stuff works.
Each of us probably has one or two of those that they liked. For me, it was the 64-page comic and the Collector's Edition (which I'm pre-ordering the instant I get home). For you, maybe it was something else. We'll see what succeeds in the coming months.
Next up, the DUST focus. I'm already hearing from lots of players that CCP Presents was nothing more than a second DUST 514 keynote. No. Not true.
But you could be forgiven for thinking it was.
Now part of this is EVE players becoming more and more wary of DUST in its tail that wags the dog role. In talking about the PCU count, David Reid made it pretty clear that CCP expects the combined count of EVE and DUST concurrent players to pass 100k sometime this year. That means that it's taken DUST eight months to find an audience equal to the size of EVE. And they seem to be holding on to that audience in a shooter for coming up on a year (a life-age of the earth in shooter ages). Let me clear my throat and say that again so that you hear it:
In less than a year, DUST has gained an audience equal that to the size of EVE Online.
But the DUST audience IS agitating for CCP to fill in the basic gaps in their game. Are they at the level of player riot? Not even close. But they have a legitimate gripe, they're a key expanding market for CCP, and it didn't surprise me at all that CCP wanted to focus on that audience. Besides, you might have noticed a bit of a personnel shuffle on the EVE side. A lot of the stuff shown about EVE in the CCP Presents keynote was almost deliberately vague. Watch it again and you'll see that lots of those promises can be interpreted in more than one way...
Which brings me to the point where as an EVE player, I was a bit aggravated by the keynote but as a CSM member, I was delighted. I haven't had NDA-level conversations with anyone in EVE game design yet so I don't mind saying it's pretty clear these vague directions are undefined. There's a damn good chance that CSM8 is going to be in a really good position come the May/June summit (whose date is not yet set, BTW) to influence the direction of this "space colonization" vision. At the Party, I was able to buttonhole both CCP Seagull and CCP Arrow and tell them both "Know what was missing from that graphic of those Bustards building that stargate? You zoom past that view and there's a hundred sub-caps fighting to defend them as they spend hours or preferably days at that work."
I'm all for a big industrial expansion or two (and that's what feels like is coming, honestly), but there's more than enough room in this theme for some explosions. ;-)
So overall, I was of mixed emotions about the CCP Presents keynote. The new Origins trailer, though? That's the best trailer the video team has done in years. Dear Heaven does it do a lovely job of selling the games.
And selling the games -- yes, plural -- was what Saturday was all about.