Tobold's Blog
Thursday, April 02, 2015
EVE Online is dying

Over the past decade there must have been thousands of blog or forum posts proclaiming that World of Warcraft is dying. Those usually appear after some quarterly result or other data point shows that a million subscribers have left the game. The same blogs then fail to mention when WoW gains 3 million subscribers due to some expansion coming out. That explains while after a decade of dying World of Warcraft still has millions of players. Still, if WoW would lose around 20% of its players, there would be another series of World of Warcraft is dying posts.

So in the interest of fair and balanced reporting I am doing a EVE Online is dying post, based on the excellent analysis of The Nosy Gamer on the matter. He dismisses the rumor that EVE is down to 146,000 subscribers, but shows through different sources and official statements that the game has lost between 18% and 23% of players over the last 12 months, which is certainly a sharp decrease.

Now I have been deliberately using the term "players" or "subscribers" in this discussion, which is what the fans of EVE usually do. In reality that is somewhat misleading. EVE never had as many players as is generally claimed, instead it had that number of "accounts". EVE Online is somewhat unique in that regard because the average EVE player has more than one account. Some people even have quite a lot of accounts, 5 or more.

The distinction is important in this case, because I don't actually believe that EVE Online lost 20% of "players". It lost 20% of "accounts". And the reason it lost those accounts was that they changed their policy regarding multi-boxing and specifically disallowed the ISBoxer software which many people used to automate multi-boxing. If you can't easily run many accounts at the same time any more without getting banned, you are likely to close some of those accounts. CCP deliberately forewent revenue in their fight against botters and RMT, which is commendable.

I consider it likely that World of Warcraft will see a number of account closures soon when they release the WoW token. A legal way to trade real money for WoW gold should drive some illegal gold sellers and their gold farming accounts out of business. The difference is that the real money used to buy gold with the WoW token system is not going into somebodies pocket, but is instead buying a subscription. A lot of elapsed WoW players with gold on their account might well reactivate their accounts and play "for free", their subscription being effectively paid by the people who buy their gold. So overall the WoW token is more likely to lead in an overall increase of subscription numbers than to a decrease.

Unfortunately, not. I made an analysis using the API provided "Average Concurrent Logins" and various activities and found that decreasing ACU goes with decreasing casual activity but not with decreasing hardcore activity:

So it's casual players, that EVE lost and the multi-account hardcore don't even see anything happening.
I suspect that not a lot of people will have enough gold to take advantage of the WoW token. Of course, Blizz will make a profit from each token, because the cost of a token is $5 more than the cost of a month's subscription, so they won't mind.

Only those people who would consider gold farmers for a quick fix will spring for the WoW token, which further limits the appeal.
Interestingly enough, I expect a lot of those disgruntled ISBoxer users to move to WoW once the WoW token is introduced. Many of the ones in EVE were lured from WoW following the disabling of the /follow command in WoW battlegrounds.
Saw the headline, and immediately checked was if this was posted on April Fools, wondering if this was a troll. I think that itself says something, this is obviously going be a controversial opinion. As I neither play it nor follow it, I'm not invested either way.
@Perkus - Given the contents of the post, I don't think EVE players would get terribly upset. Of course, if he had waited until EVE is Dying Day (July 30), it would have been better.
Software that allows your ship to mine while you are not in the room obviously is botting. IMO, multi-boxing is not botting. If a legal subscriber is at at a keyboard, IMO, it is not botting.


A "PR Spin" that I rarely see mentioned is West vs China. I.e., comparing "west" only subs from 5 years ago to worldwide subs today may not be comparable. Not due to anti-China bias but my impression (nobody announces specifics) is that game companies like Blizzard and CCP get (a lot?) less revenue for a "subscriber" in China than the US.


The last fanfest was a puzzle. CCP changed position on DUST and Project Legion. When they cancelled WoD, they said they were focusing on the EVE universe. They showed off a couple of VR games including a frisbee game. Now it is interesting and aggressive that CCP is showing off VR. OTOH, they lost money the last two years. Investing in VR does not seem like it will help much in the short term as my opinion is that some geeks love it but it is a ways from mass market. It may be a huge success for them, but I think it has to be considered aggressive.


Comments get instantly dismissed by the faithful, but I think that when the $6xm kickstarter Star Citizen launches, it could attract a couple of EVE [re]subscribers.
I quit Eve online a few months ago and I'm not going back. The game is good, I personally liked it. But with high sec ganking and the BS that players can get away with, they can take the game and shove it. I spent too many hours building the ships and setting up for Mission running to have some over the top pvper come in and destroy it. It's bad enough that insurance pays out only 40% for a ship with out insurance but even at 100% coverage; it does not cover, guns, equipment, stuff your hauling, etc. So that's why I quit. It was my last straw with eve and CCP. I went to Jita in a cover op tranport, carrying only a cheap 5 mill blueprint that I just bought which I spent 3 hours just running a mission and save up to buy it. I know about Jita but I did jump in, Dock at the station, when I got there and decloak, I did not enter the station right away; and I got blown up by some ahole; "oh im mad now and cus the jerk out, I do hope he dies in a car accident. After that, I mention that to ccp and they gave me my ship back but nothing else. I wanted everything back and for the jerk not to make anything and lose their 150 mill ship plus anything else for the attempt. 150 mill plus 20 mill worth of stuff is pocket change to him. Plus he had probably 5 - 10 account on at that time trying to steal stuff from people using IBOX or what ever that bs they are using. That's cheating but ccp doesn't see it that way. I see ICEland never got ripped off before to make a crapy game like this.

The hard core player like the above is just going to put the game out of its misery. I quit, and soon more will follow. It's just a matter of time.

As for WOW, I do not have to worry about pvping if I don't want to. And if I do want to pvp, I can just go to a pvp battleground with 40 other players and have at it. At least im in a group. If I lose, no big deal because im not the only one losing... Yea, there about to fix pvp in WOW which is nice. Wow tokens are great. No more gold sellers when I can pay money for gold which works for me and its legel.

I have switch back to wow and its ok now, but after playing for soo many year and seeing some of the same classes, scenes, mission running, dungeons, it does get a little boring. I have seen a player with every class in the game and with 700 gear which is up to date with the latest expansion. He got soo bored that he just started helping out other player.

The only way I will ever go back to Eve online now, is to have No pvp allow in High sec... If the game goes down, I don't care.

The nice thing about wow, I can pick what I want to do... Not what someone else wants to do.

If you are a pvper in a pve zone, your a coward!!! Or your mommy is still supporting you!!! Get a job...
Same here Brent. I just quit Eve Online again. I'm deleting all three characters on my three accounts and closing that out for good. *they make you wait 10 hours to delete your characters, I guess they know people are going to be very angry when some psychopath comes by and blows up their hard work and are going to quit the game right away* I'm not on Eve to by some psychopath's game content. I feel the same way, it's these psychopaths that are going to kill the game and I want to see that day the servers are shut down because the "lulz" are gonna be on these people who get their kicks by harassing others.

I'm not here to ask for any changes in the game. I just want to see the day it is shut down and the psychopaths get theirs and we get to "lulz" on them on youtube because they killed Eve Online because of their nasty behavior.
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