It has been the hottest of minutes since we cast eyes on ECO, the multiplayer planetary simulator that entered early access in February 2018; we reported on an April 2018 update that was all about (actual) garbage, and we even had a livestreamed peek with the devs ahead of its early access release.
But if you look back through the game’s updates along the way, there have been some notable additions, the largest of which arrived in September 2020, which brought player-run laws and governments, upgrades to mining and crafting, new animals, and new building updates. There’s also been an update this past February that adds residency features and an industrial elevator, the former of which is setting the table for additional features like rental properties and property law, along with a number of smaller updates along the way.
On the subject of updates, the game’s interactive roadmap features a wide variety of systems that are still yet to be added like pollution cleanup, natural disasters, a stock market, nuclear energy options, and a criminal justice system, on top of a dearth of polishing and improvement plans for existing features. None of this, however, offers a timeline for when the game will leave early access, with the devs simply stating that ECO is being designed as “a forever game.”
Even so, the game’s population appears to be engaged, if not burgeoning; player numbers in the game’s last 24-hour peak sit at over 3,000 — around half of the game’s all-time peak — and overall numbers saw some significant spikes in September 2020 and January and February 2021. Better yet, most of these new players appear to be sticking around, with only a 9% drop in numbers in the last 30 days. ECO currently sits at a “Very Positive” user review aggregate, and the game’s community looks to be generally invested, with an active Reddit that even has a space where players can advertise their servers.