Today marks a seminal point in the MMO space with the announcement that EVE Online has surpassed the half-million subscriber mark. What makes this so astonishing in today's generally declining subscription MMO market is the fact that EVE is marking its tenth year since release. Few games, including the-one-which-must-not-be-named, can make any such claim and yet here we are.
CEO Hilmar Pétursson is quoted in today's press release as saying:
"Ten years after release, it is incredibly inspiring that, through a lot of hard work from our EVE Online team, we are crossing the half-million subscriber mark. For me, this is a true testament that EVE can live on forever, as long as we do right by her. We have not come to this point alone; millions of players have helped push us to this milestone. I now know in my mind what I previously only believed in my heart: that EVE will outlive us all."
To help flesh out that statement, CCP leaders hosted a conference call to talk about what they believe are the reasons behind EVE's success and to talk about the next ten years for EVE Online. Chief Marketing Officer David Reid and CEO Hilmar Pétursson both attended the call and had much to say about the success of EVE.
In December, we were told, EVE had reached the 450,000 subscriber mark due in large part to the relaunch of EVE in China and the successful release of the Retribution expansion. Within the next two months, subscribers increased to the half-million stage. Much of the growth, according to Reid, can be attributed to two reasons:
DUST 514 has generated a lot of interest in EVE since the launch of its open beta. The growth of the player base there has affected the EVE player base as well, helping to swell the subscriber base as CCP prepares for DUST 514's official launch.
EVE players keep doing interesting things that are not scripted by devs. For instance, over three thousand players took part in a recent epic battle that came about through pure happenstance.
Because of things like this, Pétursson believes that EVE's best days still lie ahead as the development team continues to provide players with the tools they need to interact with one another rather than spending copious time with content creation from the development team. As Reid pointed out, most MMOs spend time creating content that players devour in record time which generally leads to attrition from the playerbase. By giving players tools as opposed to content, they are able to create their own content and memorable moments.
EVE has experienced a lot of memorable moments over its first decade, there is no question. To that end, CCP has embarked on an ambitious project to canonize the history of EVE through the creation of an epic timeline of events since the game's launch. Players have been invited to submit player-created events for inclusion on the timeline. In addition, convention attendees will have a chance to take part in an epic in-game event that CCP is keeping under its hat for the time being. DUST 514 booth players will take part alongside online players to help script an evolving storyline that will undoubtedly find its way onto the timeline as well.
As interest in EVE continues to grow, the team is forging ahead on creating a gentler learning curve for new players into the game. According to Pétursson, the work has just begun as the team is working to ease accessibility but, at the same time, to avoid sacrificing what high end flexibility veteran EVE players expect. He told players that they can look for much more on this with the summer expansion.
Lastly, EVE will be immortalized at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on March 1st. To capture the essence of EVE, a pair of monitors has been set up. One will show the gameplay as it is happened live on a single day in December. The other will detail the incredible amount of player interactions with the EVE universe in terms of creation, destruction and much more data as presented in infographics.
As the official May 6, 2013 tenth anniversary approaches, there is only more to look forward to as time marches on for EVE Online. More information about how the next ten years will look will be revealed during March's Fanfest as well as in subsequent months during convention season. We'll keep you apprised of all that is planned.
What about you? Do you play EVE Online? What have been the most important moments in your experience? Let us know in the comments!
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor at MMORPG.com.