Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Matter Of Timing

Are people really saying EVE is dying based on the concurrency numbers over the past couple of months? I guess that is only appropriate with EVE Is Dying Day fast approaching, but I think reports of the game's impending death are greatly exaggerated.

Ripard Teg put together several handy little graph consisting of the average concurrent users in EVE in 2015 and posted a link to them to Reddit. I posted one covering the last 18 months below.



When I look at the graph, I think of two things. First, that null sec is stagnant and a lot of players are waiting on the implementation of the new null sec sovereignty mechanics next Tuesday. I'll go one step further and state that the delays in implementing the new system aided in the decline in the average concurrent user numbers. At the beginning of March, CCP announced that the sov system would appear on Tranquility in the June release, or 2 June. But on 7 May, a dev blog announced that the actual capture mechanics were delayed until 7 July. Shortly after that date, the graph started to edge down. The trickle grew into the beginnings of a failure cascade on 1 June when CCP announced another week's delay, until 14 July.

With the null sec powers playing a waiting game, one group became null sec's punching bag: Brave Newbies and HERO Coalition. I don't know what BNI's participation rate was at the end of the fighting in Fountain, but I hear the numbers were poor. I wonder how much of the recent decline was a result of members of Brave just refusing to log in and engage in another fight they probably could not win.

I could go into an analysis of why a drop in activity is normal for a 13-year-old game. But FozzieSov is dropping in 6 days. Perhaps CCP will amaze and confound conventional wisdom one last time.

15 comments:

  1. Hey. EVE Online may not die never. Tibia is not dead. Ultima Online is not dead. Everquest is not dead. There are precedents of undead subscription MMOs.

    EVE is back to 2008 levels. That's a respectable mark, but I beg to ask what are the chances that 2015-2018 replays the behavior of 2008-2011, when the game was going up.

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  2. Viince_SnettertonJuly 8, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    Have said it elsewhere.

    First off, introducing a huge change like new sov mechanics in the midst of the summer doldrums is insane, Secondly, we won't know the true impact until the fall, like late Sept. If the PCU has not crept up past the the mid-30's on a Sunday aft, CCP is in trouble, and the architects of all the changes in the past 12 months should be fired.

    Actually, if the PCU count on a Sunday is not near 40K by the last week in Sept, a whole of CCP employees will very likely be out of work.

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  3. Just as people regularly say "EVE is dying," people regularly make the counter argument. The one thing the counter argument never seems to address is, why don't the averages ever go up year over year?

    There is clearly a yearly "cycle" to the numbers. You can explain it how you want. And people inevitably do. The most common arguments are "this event" happened and "this game change" happened/was about to happen. But the overall average never seems to go up.

    "It's not subscription numbers" is the other common argument. Granted, but if there is anyone subscribed but not logging in, that says something about the state of the game as well.

    I think the "Ultima Online" comparison is apt. This game is now for a small group of people. They successfully drove off everyone else. They win EVE.

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  4. I would actually argue that the numbers in 2008 were inflated, so that while the graph shows 2008 levels, the number of accounts are far greater.

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  5. One data point: my one account has been subbed for the past year (6 month sub x 2) and I have only logged in maybe once a month for an hour or so to manage my skill training. No desire to play but hoping against hope that something will happen that will re-ignite my desire to play and if that day comes I want my skills to be keeping pace. If I thought Eve was dying I'd have kept that year of sub fees in my pocket. So while I don't think Eve is dying, I'm not exactly enthralled by its current state. The T3 destroyers look nice, but yeah.... no, not enough to get me to log in. Besides, most of my old friends quit playing over the last couple of years so I'd be looking to start over pretty much anyway.

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  6. As a famous comedian once said, the problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.

    "Winning Eve". LOL

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  7. Go to EVE-Offline yourself and take a look at the five year graph. The downward trending in numbers since the beginning of 2014 is obviously not due to players waiting to see how new changes are going to play out.

    It is clearly indicative of (a) players playing less frequently, and (b) players leaving the game - where (a) tends to lead to (b). It is also indicative that CCP's vet-oriented design changes have failed to attract any significant numbers of new players. These are not signs of a game which is doing well (2004-2011), or even holding its own (2009-2014) - since the beginning of 2014, this is definitely a game on the decline.

    Why? I think because CCP (a) decided to abandon the Jesus feature expansions which tend to attract large numbers of new players to try the game; (b) encouraged forced-PVP game play which tended to discourage many new players (aka "EVE is harsh"); and (c) has been implementing poorly considered game changes which radically altered, or even eliminated, the game play style of many older players (ex. Crius).

    Can the situation be reversed? Sure. But, only if/when CCP realizes that focusing development solely around revamping the vet game play - ie. null sec sov, T3 ships, PVP with T2 ships & T2 modules, etc. - is the wrong direction. Noob-friendly high sec and noob-focused game play, with T1 ships/modules, is what requires the most attention and work, if the game is to grow and survive.

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  8. I guess you have an explanation too on why Hek is in free fall as a market hub, and that explanation doesn't haves anything to do with market hubs consolidating as population diminishes.

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  9. One of my low-income corpmates pointed out another possible reason for the recent drop in the concurrency numbers: the rising in-game price of PLEX.



    There are apparently a significant number of players who do not - or cannot - pay for their game time with RL cash, and thus rely on grinding ISK to buy PLEX in order to play each month.



    And, with PLEX prices rising rapidly - now approaching 1B ISK - and high sec income sources also being nerfed over the past year, it should be no surprise that more and more of these players can no longer make enough ISK per month, in order to afford to play.


    Given that the numbers of active players in high sec have also fallen off sharply during the past several months - which would have nothing to do with FozzieSov - the price of PLEX may indeed be a more likely cause for the drop in concurrency numbers.


    What do you think?

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  10. Over the last 6 months, the concurrency dropped over 25%. That's what I'm addressing. The situation is similar to the situation right before Crucible in December 2011. The concurrency numbers then bounced back up for 2 years before dropping down again.

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  11. Is it in free fall? I thought that was Rens.

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  12. I'm down to just a consolidated station keeping account to keep my industry machine ticking over, and it has nothing to do with Null; 6-12 months from now Null may interest me if it shakes out the right way. I've just done everything, or at the very least everything that interests me.

    New POSes won't make me resub accounts, but it will cause a flurry of activity as I fiddle with them.

    I briefly perked my ears up for Drifter Incursions, right up until I read Wormhole only. It's possible that could still cause me to pull an account out of mothballs if implemented well, just unlikely.



    As it stands, I guess I'm building up a nest egg for whatever is on the other side of player built stargates. There are a few other things CCP has bandied about which could bring me back to a fully active member of society, but I see those as on the other side of that.


    I'm really ready for another Jesus Feature I think.

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  14. EVE online is going downhill because of a number of reasons. Among them, they started to ban customers who buy from the secondary market. There is a culture of buying stuff in MMO's for real money and while it is generally not allowed, it happens anyway. The latest addition in CCP's crusade in trying to stamp it out is extremely idiotic, by banning their own customers who pay real money to the secondary market most of these players will not suddenly convert and buy from CCP instead for twice the price, they will simply quit the game, as has been happening.
    I speak as an experienced ISK seller who has been part of EVE since a few months after it launched in 2003. I am just one guy who made a lucrative living from selling ISK in EVE online over a 13 year period and still going. No you won't find my IP of any use because I am connected through a proxy on a computer that is unrelated to accounts of any worth.
    CCP haven't been able to stop me and they certainly won't be able to stop the companies and sweatshops of RMT in china, Russia and the third world countries because the economies in those countries makes this extremely lucrative for them.
    When Peligro bans some of my accounts of course it is an annoyance but it's an accepted part of what I do and I am used to it. I don't hack accounts or steal credit card details or commit fraud, I simply am very good at the game. I used to earn all ISK by hand, until CCP Guard banned me. So I then learned some new tricks which I've used ever since (game stuff, nothing law breaking). I've personally earned and sold many trillions of ISK in my years with EVE.
    I've seen a steep decline in EVE subscriptions recently, especially since they started banning their own customers who just want to spend their money on the addictive game that they created. The kind of people who buy from an ISK seller are the ones who put more real money into the game than any other kind of player. Although this money goes to me, ultimately CCP are getting paid because when I sell the buyer a PLEX, it's a PLEX I purchased from the market for ISK and sold on to the buyer. That PLEX was already purchased from CCP; they already got paid.
    Currency sellers will always exist, you will never stamp that out. While I accept that MMORPG developers do not like currency sellers and have a rule against it to stop things from getting out of hand, targeting your own customers to try to get to them is taking it a step too far. You succeed only in losing your biggest spending customers. These players will not switch to buying PLEX from you for twice the price, they will just move on to a less hostile game.
    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    ReplyDelete
  15. There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    There is one other major cause I've noticed that is driving down subscriptions but I won't go into that. If CCP want to kill ISK selling, first they need to kill their game, because that's the only way you'll ever stop it. They seem to be heading in the right direction.

    ReplyDelete