As the expansive sci-fi MMO EVE Online prepares for its next expansion, Matthew Jarvis asked developer CCP’s CMO and executive producer of the game, David Reid, about how it’s achieved ten years of growth…
Popular space game EVE Online is set for an expansion on November 19th, following its tenth anniversary in May.
EVE Online: Rubicon is described by developer CCP as the first in a multiple expansion arc that will “allow [players] to undertake massive construction projects to shape space itself”.
Like previous expansions, Rubicon will be completely free, and is the 20th such add-on since EVE’s 2003 launch.
CCP’s CMO and executive producer for EVE Online, David Reid (also known as CCP Pokethulhu), told PCR how the game has sustained its popularity.
“While monthly subscriber counts do ebb and flow a bit around expansions, we’ve noticed a steady increase each year: ten consecutive years of growth is a unique feat among all the world’s MMOs,” he said.
“EVE began with a strategy that’s ultimately served CCP very well over the last decade: a quick development cadence based off of player feedback. We’ve also invested significant resources into making sure our single-shard server is top of the line, working with partners like IBM to make sure we are future-proofing as much as possible."
“Honestly, after seeing how the first ten years have blossomed, we expect EVE to outlive us all.”
CCP did receive a negative backlash from players a few years ago, after it attempted to implement a micro-transaction system.
“The best free-to-play/micro-transaction games are built from the ground up for that business model,” Reid explained.
“It’s a really tough job to retrofit a new model on a live game."
“We do have a hybrid free-to-play/subscription model thanks to PLEX [where game time can be purchased with the in-game currency ISK] but we keep micro-transactions focused on cosmetic items and player services.”
EVE was also one of the first games to be digitally distributed, alongside boxed versions of the game, and Reid affirmed that CCP is still “active in supporting the digital transition”.
“But,” he added, “we don’t expect retail to disappear anytime soon”.
Retailers interested in EVE can purchase Time Codes or Starter Packs from digital distributors TripleACodes and Xcel.
EVE is renowned for its dedicated players, who in July set a record for the biggest ever in-game battle – with over 4,000 players battling for five hours.
“One of the main reasons people come in the door is because it’s simply gorgeous sci-fi,” explained Reid.
“Another strain of player arrives in our universe because they are searching for more meaning in their games. And some like it because it’s a challenge.”
When asked about Virtual Reality spin-off EVE: Valkyrie, Reid stated that headsets such as the Oculus Rift will “transform the industry”.
“The first few months or years may seem ‘niche’, but it feels almost inevitable that widespread adoption will ultimately happen,” he said.