EVE Evolved: How many subscriptions does EVE have?

Two weeks ago, a mathemagician over at The Nosy Gamer published some interesting calculations showing that EVE Online‘s subscriptions may have dropped by around 18% in the past two years. CCP has always prided itself on the fact that EVE has grown year-on-year since release, but the last official number we heard was when it reached 500,000 subscriptions back in February 2013. Players have taken the company’s silence since then on the matter of subscriptions as an admission that subs have been falling or at least not growing for the past two years.

So where did this 18% figure come from? It was extrapolated from estimates of player participation in the last two CSM elections, and the reasoning behind the number seems pretty good in the absence of any official announcement. It will probably not come as a shock to anyone if this calculation turns out to be accurate, as EVE‘s concurrent player numbers have also seen a roughly 20% drop since 2013. As development on EVE has been very well-received over the past two years, I’m inclined to believe that the drop in activity has more to do with trends in today’s gaming habits and purchasing choices. Online gaming seems to be going through an evolution, and the mandatory subscription model may be becoming obsolete.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I run through a set of calculations to work out how many subscribers EVE really has, determine where the reported 18% drop is coming from, and ask whether this is a trend CCP can fight.

opportunities-3Official subscription numbers up to 2013

The latest three official data points we have for EVE Online show that it passed 400,000 subscriptions in March 2012, went on to hit 450,000 subs in December 2012, and finally reached 500,000 in February 2013. The last two of those numbers included subscriptions from the game’s relaunch in China, and CCP hasn’t released any official numbers since then.

In the absence of official figures, players have turned to a little piece of mathematical wizardry involving the CSM election results: By dividing the total number of votes cast by the percentage participation, we can see how many accounts over 30 days old (and thus elligible to vote) existed on Tranquility during each CSM election. The numbers obtained using this method for the CSM elections from 2008 to 2012 match up within a few percent of the official sub numbers, the difference being due to inelligible accounts under 30 days old.

The participation percentage was omitted from 2013’s election results, but CCP did release a breakdown of voter countries as a percentage of subscribers, which was enough to calculate that turnout was around 12.13%. Extrapolating from that number proves that as of April 2013, there were just under 410,000 voting-elligible accounts on Tranquility. There were also an unknown number of accounts younger than 30 days (possibly a few percent), and up to 90,000 active subscriptions on Serenity. This is the last piece of concrete subscription data we have.

subdeclineFiguring out the 2014 subs

EVE blog Jester’s Trek estimated that EVE lost 5% of its 500,000 subs by May 2014, but that was just an educated guess based on the fact that CCP didn’t release new figures at Fanfest. CCP’s PR department confirmed in an email to me at the end of January that global subs actually grew by a small amount between February 2013 and 2014. The press releases throughout that entire year even read that EVE was “celebrating an unprecedented eleventh consecutive year of subscriber growth,” but that doesn’t preclude the possibility that subscriptions dropped after February 9th when the game hit peak concurrent player activity for the year.

Another potential data source is the number of names on the EVE Online monument, which were collected from active subscribers on March 31st 2014 (originally March 1st, but was apparently changed). A developer reportedly confirmed at Fanfest 2014 that there were 480,000 names on the monument, which includes players from Serenity but excludes any names found to be offensive or inappropriate. Assuming fewer than 1% of names were rejected, that means there were at least 480-485k global subscriptions at that point, which is a drop of up to 3-4%. Some of those accounts may also have been registered or resubscribed solely to get onto the monument and allowed to lapse before the CSM 9 election, so the real drop could be a little worse.

globalsubsThe 2015 subs and 18% drop

A 4-5% drop for February 2013 to May 2014 looks like it’s about the right number, which would put the final total of eligible voters in CSM 9 at 389,500 to 393,600 for a percentage turnout of 7.95% to 8.03%. The Nosy Gamer’s estimate of the 2015 subscription numbers was based on CCP Leeloo’s statement that turnout for the CSM 10 election was 3% higher than last year, which by my numbers would be a 10.95% to 11.03% turnout. That produces an estimate of 335,170 to 337,731 eligible voters, which would be a drop of 17.6% to 18.3% since April 2013 and puts global subs at around 410,000. Unless CCP Leeloo was mistaken about the 3% increase or someone has his wires crossed, it looks as if EVE may have lost up to 18% of its subscribers over the past two years.

That may seem like a huge loss, but the latest financial projections on the worldwide MMO market actually predicted an 18% drop in global revenue from pay-to-play MMOs over this two year period. That means EVE Online has the exact same market share as it always had and still dominates its particular niche, only now the global market for subscriptions is shrinking and squeezing EVE as it does so. It’s interesting to note that EVE‘s player activity graph began to plateau around 2009 right when the subscription MMO market levelled out; EVE‘s success in 2013 and 2014 was actually bucking a significant downward market trend. That makes the recent drop an understandable rebound effect and gives me some hope that EVE can beat the market trends again in the future.

finalthAs tempting as it is to assign blame for a subscription drop to a particular update or an unpopular change, it may simply be the case that fewer gamers are willing to pay for mandatory subscriptions now. Today’s PC gamer is also bombarded with cheap Steam games and free-to-play titles and is starved for time to play them all. It’s no surprise that games like EVE that require a great deal of time investment per session are being squeezed while more casual games like free-to-play MOBAs continue to grow.

Only time will tell whether EVE Online will defy the current downward market trend in the subscription MMO sector or CCP will have to adjust to an ever-decreasing revenue stream and push more new projects like EVE: Valkyrie out the door. With any luck, the upcoming nullsec changes will help revitalise EVE and bring back a lot of old faces to take part in a new type of territorial warfare, and we may see EVE go through its own virtual renaissance.

EVE Online expert Brendan ‘Nyphur’ Drain has been playing EVE for over a decade and writing the regular EVE Evolved column since 2008. The column covers everything from in-depth EVE guides and news breakdowns to game design discussions and opinion pieces. If there’s a topic you’d love to see covered, drop him a comment or send mail to brendan@massivelyop.com!
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71 Comments on "EVE Evolved: How many subscriptions does EVE have?"

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slavetoguilt
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slavetoguilt

I simply unsubbed for a couple reasons (4 year old account)

1) PVE got REALLY boring.

2) Finding a PVP fight took way too long.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

GeneMartin2 Nyphur Kayweg keysmachine There’s a huge difference between what Star Citizen is doing and EVE Online’s single-shard server model, in terms of what’s possible as emergent gameplay. When we talk about pirates, for example, I’m talking about actual players rather than NPCs. And when we talk about events, we’re talking about incidents where actual players get together and do something spectacular rather than pre-organised official events.

Even just looking at developer-run events, a sharded or instanced server model inherently limits the efficacy of events that can take place. EVE once had an event where Serpentis pirates stole a Federation Navy titan, and some players started chasing it and locked it down in nullsec, sparking a huge battle. People turned up in droves to kill the titan, others turned up to defend it, and some turned up just to take advantage of the situation or loot the battlefield. What made that event special was that the outcome was determined on the spot by players, but if the event was spread over hundreds of instances then that couldn’t happen. The outcome would have to be the same over every single instance, so it has to be determined in advance. You’d just be taking part in an NPC’s pre-written story, and your actions or the collective actions of players could have no real lasting consequences.

EVE Online’s single-shard model is largely responsible for the emergent gameplay that happens there and no other game can meaningfully intrude on that niche without using the same model. The fact that there is only a single copy of any location in the EVE universe has an extremely powerful effect on gameplay, which I’ve written about a few times before:
http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/17/eve-evolved-building-stronger-communities/

http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/08/eve-evolved-four-things-mmos-can-learn-from-eve/
http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/18/eve-evolved-how-would-you-build-a-sandbox/

Playos
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Playos

GeneMartin2 Playos Nyphur Kayweg keysmachine Really? Overhyped game that literally has to be on a god engine to deliver… sounds like Daikatana to me. 

If and when SC actually delivers something compelling and new, I’ll eat crow and admit that Roberts might be decent. I feel no danger of that happening, but the universe is an odd place. Until then ED and Valkyrie have both shown as much in the space dog fighting genre in about the same amount of time and SC hasn’t shown anything to compete with either in the MMO area. 

Remember now, his original timeline was BETA IN 2014. But ya know, early projections and plans, we’ll give him a pass… fast forward to quotes from late 2014… we’re getting pretty far into 2015… where is the announcement on S42? Oh it’s being pushed back too? Notice a damn pattern. Better companies with more money have tried to do less and failed, I have literally no reason to believe this diva can do better.

Jarin
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Jarin

Dope_Danny Let’s be honest here… the real reason EVE remains a niche game is the unfriendliness of the nature of the game, not just the unfriendliness of the UI. That “Cold Dark Universe” stuff keeps a core playerbase engaged, but shuts out anyone who doesn’t want to have to spend every moment of every day hiding from trolls. Add to that the ridicule of the community of anyone who complains about the above as a “carebear” and you have a nice recipe for never expanding your game.

GeneMartin2
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GeneMartin2

Playos GeneMartin2 Nyphur Kayweg keysmachine Okay, you just gave yourself away as a troll at this point. Daikatana and Star Citizen have nothing in common.

Playos
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Playos

GeneMartin2 Playos Nyphur Kayweg keysmachine Hey, look you linked a lot of people who have over promised before as well. It’s the nature of game development, and especially hyped up infinite stretch goal crowdsourced projects.

You’re right he’s not Peter Molyneux, at least he’s been shipping games this and the last decade.

It wasn’t a well fleshed out idea in the first place and people keep pouring ideas into it and so long as the money keeps rolling in Roberts has no reason to stop trying to wiggle more into it. This project looks more like Daikatana day by day.

GeneMartin2
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GeneMartin2

Playos GeneMartin2 Nyphur Kayweg keysmachine Evidence to what? Freelancer? That he was forced to leave because Microsoft was pulling a typical publisher wants it now thing? Even then, many of the features he spoke about that didn’t make the publisher’s cut were in the game’s files and snippets were released in mods. Wing Commanders 1 and 2 were spot on what he said they’d be and more. I don’t know how much development CR was in charge of for WC3, so I can’t speak to that. Chris Roberts has a fine track record on games he’s been involved in though, he’s not the Peter Molynoux you are looking for. Have you looked at the 300+ developers working with CR as well? Can you honestly say that his team is inexperienced or hasn’t proven they can deliver? 

Just do a quick search on some of them, Erin Roberts of Starlancer…legos games, etc.

Tony Zurovec of the original Ultimate games.

Alex Mayberry of several Blizzard games.

http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/13/star-citizen-hires-ex-blizz-producer-mayberry/

I could go on, but their dev team is too massive even for a massively OP comment chain.
But yes, Star Citizen is full of mights right now. That’s certain. CR hasn’t even released a deep dive doc on this stuff yet, because he’s acknowledged there’s a lot of unknowns. However, there’s no reason to spread misinformation that the devs are unreliable or simply designing things in a way they aren’t.

Playos
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Playos

GeneMartin2 Nyphur Kayweg keysmachine You’ll note that’s a dev talking about the game and NOT gameplay. Comparing what Star Citizen’s MIGHT do vs what Eve ACTUALLY does isn’t apple to oranges. Considering Robert’s history, gameplay footage or it isn’t happening.

GeneMartin2
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GeneMartin2

Nyphur GeneMartin2 Kayweg keysmachine I’m not sure where you are getting your info. However, you won’t be able to switch to another instance to avoid pirates in Star Citizen either. There won’t be copies of star bases. Although, there is a bit more complexity into instance matchmaking. You can argue that EVE is more PVP focused and will force PVP more often, sure. However, the System Server will look at the economy and activity in that area and feed it to the Universe Server. If there is a high probability of pirates in that system, then you will be forced to deal with the pirates. It’s not like SWOTR where you can just click “instance 1-10” in the top left corner to move out of it.

Since the game world is 90% NPCs, unless you are in an area of space that the vast majority of the galactic empires don’t visit, you’ll most likely run into NPC pirates and there is no way to avoid that. If you choose to do PVP, then the server will look to match player pirates against you if there are player pirates chilling in that system. 
Star bases, which are extremely limited at the moment, are persistent. If you go to capture one and not enough players can be accommodated, then you will be stuck in orbit until there is room. There might be different orbital instances, but there isn’t another copy or instance of the star base to take. Star Citizen won’t focus on structures as much as ships though. The big prizes for PvP guilds in Star Citizen will be derelict carriers or large capital ships.  There is talk of making separate room servers control areas of those ships, that communicate to a local server, then system server all to one Universe Server. These ships are also persistent though and all players will be forced to compete over a limited number, there are no copies of them in different instances. 
Still, these are all mechanics that are in development. There are still many unknowns, but there are some nice recent interviews on instancing in Star Citizen. IT has nothing to do with putting the game in different shards or copying persistent locations. Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0r6aOasFEQ for a recent one done by Gamers Nexus. 
As far as persistence and everyone being able to get involved in an event in an area. And same with Star Citizen,  check out Operation Pitchfork that started forming as a concept in 2k13. https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/60679/invading-vanduul-space-at-the-end-of-the-beta-operation-pitchfork/p1 Something the Devs have said will be possible, mentioned in their dev videos, etc. Everyone can get involved, but there will be limited players in different instances. So, while you won’t be able to see several thousand ships at once, you’ll still be able to make a lasting impact there. I’m not sure waiting for a long time for Time Dilation, dealing with server hiccups and lag in EVE is much better than simply segmenting people off into areas where everyone is able to move in a twitch-based time frame.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

GeneMartin2 Nyphur Kayweg keysmachine Star Citizen’s persistent shard won’t be anything like EVE’s single shard, unfortunately. The thing that makes EVE’s single-shard structure special is that there is only a single instance of any given location and item in the universe. If pirates are hunting in a star system, you can’t switch to another instance to avoid them, and if someone has captured a space station, you can’t just switch to another copy of the star system and capture it there.
That adds a very real persistence to the universe and is what makes a lot of EVE’s emergent gameplay happen and the actions of players more meaningful because they can potentially affect every other player in the game. It doesn’t matter that you don’t often get several thousand players in one place, the important thing is that when something big does happen in EVE, that you could personally have been a part of it if you’d decided to go to that star system at that time.
Star Citizen will not be able to promise any of that as long as it’s using instancing to split players up, and heavy instancing is a technical necessity in SC’s case because twitch-based games with direct flight controls use a lot more server resources.

GeneMartin2
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GeneMartin2

Nyphur GeneMartin2 Kayweg keysmachine Oh, I’m not arguing that it only succeeded due to a lack of competition. I’m merely stating it hasn’t had real competition for quite some time and the X Series as well as STO are hardly high bars to match. In the most advanced engine of X3 Albion Prelude, you could lose all your wingmen by simply having them dock. I lost so many ships from AI smashing into warp gates. STO looks like something from the early 2000’s with its avatars. Rebirth’s character models are worse than STO’s.

But yes, ED has a laughably low amount of social features. It’s why my guild didn’t get into it. I’m glad Star Citizen isn’t going that route. However, ED is just one persistent universe or shard from what I recall. It just instances people out of interacting with one another on that shard in certain places or based on player preferences. IIRC as well, E.D’s economy is still impacted by players and only one shard. 
Star Citizen is also being built on one Universe Server, there isn’t an “RP shard” or different Universes that the economies, players will work on. I’m not sure why you keep hammering this single-shard business, to be honest. It’s extremely rare that the entire several hundred thousand players are located in one system in EVE, if that’s ever happened.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

GeneMartin2 Kayweg keysmachine I think it does EVE a disservice to imply it’s only succeeded due to a lack of competition. EVE has had competition in the sci-fi space and as a sandbox title before, and it’s succeeded on its own merit. It has had its niche locked down for over a decade now though, which is a unique combination of spaceships, no-rules emergent gameplay, PvP, and a single-shard sandbox. It’s had plenty of competition in the “space anything” area, but nobody dares tackle the challenge of making a single-shard MMO scalable.

Playos
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Playos

Nucleon maspien They banned key broadcasting (through software or hardware, including wooden down setups people had lol).

That did push out a lot of 10+ account holders to downsize, but didn’t really affect people running less.

Playos
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Playos

Arktouros maspien WOW Tokens are the equivalent of PLEX which eve has had for many years. Eve has also done incremental updates and free expansions for years. Eve has a cosmetic only cash shop that stalled out after player push back when they wanted to include non-cosmetic items and the pricing was absurd.

Bottom line is:
B2P has to include enough content on delivery that players want to buy it, ED and Wildstar do a good job here.
P2P has to keep delivering enough content to justify the subscription, WoW and Eve do this well… Wildstar, LoL, ext don’t.
F2P has to have enough player buy in and epeen ability to motivate cosmetic (non-game changing) purchases… LoL and Team Fortress do this really well.

You can actually have all 3 in a single game, but the balance and value propositions are just really difficult. WoW tokens, Plex, ext aren’t a factor in any of this because usually those players are more profitable than subscription players as the rates they pay are 1.3x-1.5x the subscription rate and they provide players for increased content.

Playos
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Playos

FlyinDutchman Eve is a tactical combat game, not a flight sim. ED and SC will cap out at maybe 80 player fights… that’s an hourly occurrence in Eve. They’ll never have hundreds or thousands, and I have my doubts about either of them ever delivering the kind of world or gameplay where people stay truly invested once the “fill in your dreams” forum posts turn into actual computer code.

Playos
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Playos

keysmachine Nucleon Boardwalker We lost alliance mates to ED on launch… they’re back already. It’s a weak experience compared to Eve for the social side and without the feel of having any meaningful impact on the universe. ED and SC are game companies, just like CCP… it’s always about what’s being promised, and CCP is matching them punch for punch on potential while actually having a solid fleshed out game today.

GeneMartin2
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GeneMartin2

Kayweg keysmachine Those aren’t very high bars for competition though, so EVE did have a pretty comfortable position in the “space anything” area of gaming for quite some time.

Bluntoze
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Bluntoze

I think free to play will be a passing thing, at least if it keeps going in the direction it is now. The “true” free to play itself if getting a bad reputation from the “actual” free to play implementations on the market that are more like pay to get ahead ( and culminating with P2W).

But I personally know  a lot of people that are sick of it and rather pay a subscription and know they have the same chance as everyone else. There are a lot better ways to solve the “I don’t have time to play as much as others” than to allow those people to throw money at it.

The ironic thing is that the industry just realized that cash whales are much profitable , and you only need to get a lot of money from people for which your “a lot” means ” a little bit”. But due to that people are starting to leave the game because they see it unfair , triggering a quit from the actual whales , as they don’t like swimming among each other ( they can’t feel like giants if everyone is a sort of giant ). So you get a game with a short expectancy of life. 

Now they are trying to find the sweet spot in between , so they don’t make people that spend little to nothing , and keep the whales happy. But I think that is just a matter of time before enough people get fed up with the actual principle of pay to win and steer away on sight rather than testing the sweet spot.

I can’t wait the day when even browser games like Ikariam, Travian or Stronghold Kingdoms  become subscription based. Though these types of games started it all , and it would be fitting for them to also end it , I think they will still be the last to hold on.

I think that today the only game that I feel truly can be called a fair free to play is LOL,Smite or Dota2. But it’s just my perspective , I just dabble here and there in them , and I have yet to see an advantage that I can buy. And the sad truth is that I never spent a cent in them. 
If they would make them subscription , i would never pay more than 5$ a month for that , and I would probably enable it from time to time.
What I would pay is a 50 cents per day, because mostly I really don’t play more than 10 days a month, or even a 10cent per match. 

It’s not that there are no ways to fairly monetize a game , there are plenty, but it’s really hard to monetize a game that it actually makes profits for a lot of other people that have no investment in it , besides signing a check and expecting a small fortune in exchange without lifting another finger.

If you want to blame something , don’t blame the industry , blame the society in which the saying “money makes money” is all too true.

Kayweg
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Kayweg

keysmachine I accept your point and agree that Eve needs to innovate, with competition like ED and SC rising.

But on your use of a broad term as “wanted to experience space anything”, i want to point out STO, and the X series.

It’s not like Eve had a 100% monopoly over that last decade, if that’s what you were implying.

Loopstah
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Loopstah

Elirion woolydub PVE EVE would definitely be a different game – no question about it. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it would be a “worse” game. Instead of having economy depend on players it would mostly switch to a more traditional model with potentially AI traders fluctuating the prices.
Instead of having the content revolve around player battles between low/nullsec, the game could expand on the factional warfare in the sense of battling faction NPCs, and transition from hisec to nullsec would increase overall difficulty of NPC pirates to a point where things like wormhole space would solely be for groups with possibly dynamic escalation mechanism.
There is a ton of PVE content in the game that could be expanded upon – PI, Exploration, Missions – even industry. Development in the PVE EVE would concentrate on these instead – colonizing planets, extracting resources, exploring new sites, etc.
PVE EVE would not be EVE as we know it. But it could still be a fun game with a whole lot to do.

squidgod2000
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squidgod2000

Nucleon
For all practical purposes it basically is F2P has there are a lot of Eve players that buy Plex for their subscription as well as those that earn plex for theirs.

It’s F2P for established, veteran players, but a sub game for new players. That doesn’t help, as attracting new players if generally more important to the survival of a game than retaining old players.

keysmachine
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keysmachine

Nucleon Boardwalker keysmachine thank you this was my EXACT point.

first reply just went off the rails and said Elite and SC are nothing like Eve.

wrong. Eve is a space game and that’s all that it needs to have in common with the other two. IF you wanted to experience space “anything” you had no other choice but play eve. 

now you’re no longer tied to eve to enjoy space exploration, combat, trade and money making.

CistaCista
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CistaCista

Denice J Cook CistaCista No, they went from 7 to 10 million with this launch. Peak was in pre-Cataclysm with 12 million.

Denice J Cook
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Denice J Cook

I think it’s the natural decline of an old MMO, but only because it’s combined with their past catching up with them and keeping people away (blotting out the sun with articles about DUST 514 and World of Darkness while draining Eve’s profits but leaving it to fester with half-finished updates, forcing paying customers to beta test WoD with Incarna, then the Mittengate Fan Fest, then later banning the players who defaced their real-life statue but not banning those trying to get a real-life human to commit real-life suicide, as well as “Greed is Good,”  “Monoclegate,” etc.)  Otherwise, I think Eve would have continued to grow.

Having your development team and player base constantly in the news for being psychopathic arseholes is finally catching up with them.  I’m surprised it took so long to be honest.

Denice J Cook
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Denice J Cook

CistaCista 
They went from an all-time low of around 6 million players back up over 12 million players with the release of Warlords of Draenor.  (I know, really?  And for an MMO that nowadays resembles more of a Facebook game to boot?  But it’s true.)

Dope_Danny
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Dope_Danny

I dont think eves problem is retention so much as bringing in new players. The UI is a mess, an understandably needed one but still a mess of windows like an emulated OS in an OS almost and to be honest the beginner experience is absolutely dreadful compared to other mmos. In every other mmo you get your intro and bam! out into the world to run into your first higher level monster/enemy/ship to send you back to the tadpool nub scum.

In EvE however the experience is “heres some books, pick what bar you want to fill and it will be done many real world hours later”. I mean fuck that is tedious in wows garrisons but at least thats something you dont run into till lvl.90, this is out of the gate content!

That starting experience is such a poor sell for a sub mmo. People get pretty vocal about it too but quite honestly i dont know how they can change it without it not being eve anymore.

I guess better to have a niche than try to eke out a living as a f2p wow clone though i suppose.

Styopa
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Styopa

Lethality Jack Pipsam “This armchair analyst stuff has to stop. It’s poison to the industry.”
Says the guy who wrote twice in a thread analyzing the people analyzing the game?

Seems like you’re either a masochist, or didn’t consider the article title very carefully.

GeneMartin2
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GeneMartin2

Nyphur GeneMartin2 Boardwalker DPandaren keysmachine Yeah, I think they will scratch different itches. EVE also has many levels and progression is much more vertical, needing time (even when not playing) to level. I tried to play EVE, but I would have to grind months of playing things that don’t particularly interest me before I could have the large industrial ships I wanted. Star Citizen is doing away with levels for more horizontal progression, making hulls much easier to get access too, but making builds with them a lot more complex. 
As for being a single shard, it kinda is. There will be one universe server, it will communicate to different star system servers that then break it down further. While latency may make it unlikely that I play with someone in Europe (unless we’re friends or same guild), what players in EU do to affect on one side of the galaxy will still impact the rest. At the fidelity they are aiming for, it will never be possible to make the large battles that EVE can have. You can’t do the time dilation trick with twitch based combat. The multiplayer combat will simply be different too, in SC, someone will be fixing internal systems and loading torpedoes, that’s not a job anyone in EVE would ever fulfill as everyone is their own ship. So even in the slow capital ship combat that may arise in Star Citizen, things will still be going hectic inside the capital ships.

One of the smaller capital ships at the moment is the Idris, a Frigate with an easy 20 jobs for players to man, even more for NPCs. I think they said the one in SQ 42 is something like a 60 person crew and still has lots of empty space. 

So yeah, very different games. But there are quite a few EVE vets jumping into SC’s community, we have a few in the guild I’m in. There has already been some EVE style espionage between current EVE players and some guild break-ups, even before there is a game to play in. On the whole though, I don’t think SC is similar enough to really threaten EVE, just enough to pull a couple subs. Probably the same impact FFXIV: A Realm Reborn had on WoW, some who liked the Final Fantasy IP jumped ship, but not enough to make a difference.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

GeneMartin2 Boardwalker DPandaren keysmachine Star Citizen does have the advantage that it’s building a game for next year’s technology, not today’s. Server hardware and broadband speeds will continue to improve before the game is released, and larger scale of multiplayer may become possible. The fact that it’ll never be a single shard makes it another class of game entirely to EVE and really dampens my interest, though, and EVE already has massive scale now. I imagine most people will be happy with 100-player instances, but I don’t think it’ll click with me like EVE has.

GeneMartin2
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GeneMartin2

Boardwalker DPandaren keysmachine Star Citizen is shooting for 100 players and always has, but with a huge caveat of unknown. They will know more after AC 2.0 and some balancing with multi-crew combat. They also need for NPCs to be out on player ships, to see if that impacts the instances. I suspect that it will also be influenced by the number and types of ships, so instances may end up being dynamic with a point based system given to everything in the instance. CR talked about such a system a long time ago, but they seemed pretty confident that the changes to netcode and a double precision system would allow them to aim high on the player cap.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

Croda I actually went through quite a few other methods when writing the article, such as extrapolating from CCP’s financials or the PLEX market, and ended up cutting most of them because there were too many unknown variables. I even tried to estimate the number of Serenity players on the monument by calculating the area taken up by their names (12.5%), but that wasn’t good enough because we don’t know how long the average Serenity player’s name is. This is likely why Jester’s Trek made an educated guess at the 80%-20% TQ-Serenity split in subs, because firm numbers are difficult to infer and 20% seems right by the activity numbers.
I removed this guesswork by assuming that the TQ-Serenity ratio remains the same from April 2013 to today, which I think is a reasonable assumption as the player activity graph on Serenity has been relatively stable since about February 2013. I also take CCP on its word that global subs rose slightly between February 2013 and the end of January 2014, making this a new reliable data point for global subs. I then use the monument to account for drops in subs between Feb 2014 and the end of March 2014, bridging the gap between our reliable stats and CSM 9.
There’s some wiggle room in these numbers based on factors like changes in TQ-Serenity ratio and the percentage of inelligible accounts from reactivation offers or that subscribed just to get on the monument, but the reasonable maximum drop comes out to around 18% (it could be a little less). In the absence of official figures, I think that’s the best we can do.

Nucleon
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Nucleon

Boardwalker keysmachine Spend any time on the Reddit for ED or SC and you’ll see frequent references to Eve and frequent mentions to players of SC/ED being former Eve players. I would venture to say that a lot of Eve players are more interested in the genre than the game. Now that there is legitimate online competition in the space genre it’s pulling subs away. Does it mean that Eve is dead or dying, no, but it needs to keep innovating to stay competitive.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

FlyinDutchman I disagree with this because I know that EVE’s underlying mechanics have changed over the years. Practically every core system that was in at launch has been rebuilt from scratch at least once, including things like the warp code and aggression mechanics we were once told were off-limits because it was undocumented legacy code and the programmer had long since quit. The GUI has been overhauled significantly in the past few years, and we have much faster paced gameplay than in the old days (If you think EVE is slow, you should have seen it in 2004).
EVE was never intended to be a twitch-based space sim and isn’t competing with other space sims on those terms. All of the updates over the years have kept EVE up to date and playable alongside modern games and kept it at the top of its class, but space sims are a different class of game entirely. Regarding Star Citizen, I’m reminded of something Raph Koster said in a comment here at MassivelyOP recently. Something about when a giant launches in your industry, it’s to your advantage to be different. Star Citizen could end up acting as a gateway or stepping stone for people into EVE if they don’t get what they want from SC, and I think it’s far too early to call this one when SC isn’t planned to properly launch for over a year.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

Nucleon I think PLEX is essentially what allowed CCP to buck the downward market trends in subs for 2013 and 2014 by letting people pay for their second accounts etc with ISK. The problem is that the price of a single PLEX has been continually rising throughout this period, to the point where those extra accounts are being let go. I know I only keep two of three accounts subbed now due to the PLEX prices, and am thinking of letting one of those lapse for a while as I’ve been playing on the other one almost exclusively. It’s also pretty common to hear on the forums that people are letting accounts lapse now because the cost is prohibitive, so it’s not a stretch to think the sub drop was essentially delayed by the presence of PLEX.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

SallyBowls1 The problem with this reasoning is that WoW is so big in this space that it distorts the entire market. Take the graph in the link you pasted, for example: The latest WoW expansion pulled in a sizeable number of subs, but it would be wrong to call that an upward market trend in subs. This isn’t business as usual, it’s the same bump any sub MMO sees when an expansion sells well and the game gets an injection of players. We can’t ignore the obvious downward trend before this expansion hit, which is the prevailing pressure on the market right now just as the upward trend in 05 to 09 indicated the market was rapidly expanding.
Your last point is essentially what I said, except that I think it’s true for the entire subscription market. All game developers will have to rid themselves of the idea that subs should continually grow, because when the market is in a downward trend just keeping pace with that level of loss is good. The impressive thing is that CCP actually managed to beat that trend for the past few years, so now CCP has four realistic options:
– Try and buck the trend again with some amazing new gameplay and revitalise subs
 – Create more alternative revenue streams with their existing products

 – Focus on new products in emerging markets
 – Or get better at shrinking dev costs each year to stay ahead of the decreasing sub revenue.
Based on my experience at Fanfest 2015, I’d say they’re doing all four. We have the big sovereignty overhaul and structure revamps coming to EVE, the ship skin overhaul will provide another revenue stream, EVE: Valkyrie and the focus on VR tech will produce new products in emerging markets, and Hilmar himself said that CCP has had to become leaner. The fifth option is a free-to-play conversion, but I don’t think we’re there yet and I think the EVE players would resist it. I’d say whoever’s making those business decisions at CCP knows exactly what he or she is doing, and hopefully it all works out for them.

CistaCista
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CistaCista

World of Warcraft has lost 25-30 % of subscribers since 2011, just saying.

Muspel
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Muspel

Nucleon Of the four most prominent subscription MMOs on the market right now (WoW, EVE, FF14, and Wildstar), three of them have something equivalent to PLEX, so that’s not really something that’s unique to EVE.
(To be fair, Wildstar’s presence on that list is a bit debatable since it’s been bleeding players, but it was a very high-profile release and is still subscription-based, at least for the moment.)

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

Lethality It depends on your time horizon; if you are going to play a SPG or an MMO for 3 weeks, then it really doesn’t matter that much if the company folds in 4.  If you hope to get a year or gasp two out of an MMO you get past the first month in, then I think it is reasonable to say that a customer looking at the long term prospects of say ARR, WoW & GW2 versus say Wildstar or Archage.   Star Citizen versus Greed Monger. …

Boardwalker
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Boardwalker

DPandaren Boardwalker keysmachine  Sure, SC can be considered an MMO. Even though it is heavily instanced with a max number of players per instance (is it 32? or that changed?), I don’t have an issue with people calling it that. It’s just not an MMORPG, which EVE is.

Boardwalker
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Boardwalker

FlyinDutchman  EVE was never meant to be a twitch-based, heavily-instanced game, like E:D or SC.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Boardwalker keysmachine Star Citizen is kind of an MMO. It has one main server to play on, with the option of setting up your own personal server with you and as many of your personal friends you want.

Boardwalker
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Boardwalker

racccoon  I always get a good laugh out of your hate-filled, nonsensical rants, raccoon. Thanks for being you, and keep raging.

Boardwalker
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Boardwalker

keysmachine  You don’t know very much about EVE. Or why the only thing E:D/SC have in common with EVE is that they are set in space, with spaceships. Both E:D and SC are heavily instanced, and are not MMORPGs. So there’s kind of two big differences there.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Lethality Jack Pipsam 
“This armchair analyst stuff has to stop. It’s poison to the industry.”
Says who? This is a lofty claim coming from some person on the internet. Just saying.
(No, please don’t this guy over to tumblr or Kokatu, I really don’t want this person’s screed in pictures, porn gifs and/or video caps. /bleah)

LiberRed
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LiberRed

racccoon Nice try!

keysmachine
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keysmachine

Elite Dangerous is gaining a huge following because its B2P. And it offers FULL immersion for realistic space flight and dog fighting. As well as a very deep space exploration aspect of it. Discovering stars and unknown moons and planets. Future expansions will bring it to Star Citizen level where you can walk around in your space ship and land on planets. 

Eve online has become complacent, they totally ditched the avatar mode of the game. They haven’t added any wow factor into the game. Its just tuning and making space and the ships looks prettier. 

Star Citizen I spout hate on every Star Citizen topic. But this game will also suck away subs from Eve. 

Space is becoming popular again and that hurts Old space games where they once went un contested. You can think of Eve as Borders books. They better innovate or they’ll suffer the consequences.

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

Lethality Jack Pipsam
If I wanted to read nothing but fluff pieces i’d read someone’s Tumblr.
Massively has always had these business related pieces.
Some of us find it enjoyable, if you’re bitter why did you even click on the article if you knew it was going to rustle you?

Nucleon
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Nucleon

maspien In what way is multi-boxing banned? A TON of Eve players have two accounts running every night. I know I did as I had a trader on one account and a pilot in the other running at the exact same time just last month.

Lethality
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Lethality

Jack Pipsam Lethality

Players are too focused on this “analysis” and it gets in the way of their enjoyment… without in some cases them even having played the game. And in every case, it’s irrelevant to their enjoyment.

This armchair analyst stuff has to stop. It’s poison to the industry.

Wouldn’t you rather read content for fans of MMORPGs, content that helps then enjoy the games they love, instead of question their sanity for even playing them?

Nucleon
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Nucleon

I think there’s something deeper here. Eve has one of the most unrestrictive sub models in the business due to the PLEX system. For all practical purposes it basically is F2P has there are a lot of Eve players that buy Plex for their subscription as well as those that earn plex for theirs. I think it’s a pretty rational argument that Eve has a better F2P model than a lot of other MMOs like Lotro, EQ2, or SWTOR. Therefore I don’t feel one can really blame the subscription model as the reason for the reduction in players.

With that being said, for the reason Eve is dipping in subs is two-fold. It’s getting increased competition from Elite and Star Citizen which serve a similar audience but offer a faster paced action. Second, this is the reason I recently un-subbed from Eve, it’s just too slow to get into the action. I could log on for an evening and it could take as long as an hour or two and never actually get any real interesting action. Eve is simply not a good game to sit down for an hour and guarantee you will have found something fun to do.

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