What happened? No, scratch that, I know what happened. From 31 July to 31 August the 7 day rolling average of peak concurrent users on Eve Online's Tranquility server dropped 10%. The question I have is, "why?"
Is it because of summer? I didn't really start paying attention to the peak concurrent user numbers until this spring, so I really don't know if Eve always experiences a slump in August. The drop really seems to have been greatest starting about 15 August, with the 7 day average falling 7.7% in those two weeks. Maybe a lot of players are also going back to college, and the moving is getting in the way of playing.
The above comparison of the numbers from July and August really show the drop in activity. In the middle of each month the numbers were sliding down, but in July activity rose while in August it plummeted. I'm always inclined to believe that patching could cause the average to decline, but a look at the Sunday peak concurrency numbers, the busiest day on Tranquility each week, show a general slide in activity, especially over the last two weeks.
So what is the cause? I can come up with a rather simplistic explanation. On 15 August CCP Greyscale published the long awaited dev blog on the future vision of null sec. Given how jumpy and primed to leave a lot of players were following the Fearless newletter leak and the resulting firestorm, were these changes enough to push people out of the game? Or is this just a temporary blip and in a couple of weeks we will see the numbers push back up?
Like I said, that explanation is very simplistic. If anyone has a better explanation, I'd really like to hear it.