Just because CCP is open about its subscriber numbers doesn't mean finding the information is easy. Eve's infamous learning curve extends to this area as well. But though good times and bad, CCP has supplied its subscriber numbers to MMOData.net, a blog devoted to keeping track of the subscription numbers for all MMORPGs. On Tuesday MMOData gave a few teasers about some of the data that will appear in the site's next update. In addition to the news about Star Wars: The Old Republic, it was revealed that CCP had sent him an update:
"CCP has send me new EVE numbers, they look good, 361k subs, so they can celebrate their 9th anniversary knowing they are back on the rise."This is indeed good news as Eve's numbers had fallen down to 340,000 subs in December 2011. A 6% increase for the first four months is pretty good, especially compared to SW:TOR's 23% decline announced on Monday.
Now, I realize that many Eve players will question whether the 361,000 number is correct, and if it is correct, that it is an increase. Many game sites give Eve Online credit for having over 400,000 subscribers, but CCP stated Eve had 400,000 active players, not subscribers, in a press release in February. I looked back at the last Quarterly Economic Newsletter for Q4 2010 and confirmed that the population chart published was for accounts, not subscriptions. A subtle difference that many in the mainstream gaming media fail to grasp.
But the MMOData figure is only counting those accounts who log into the Tranquility shard, not both Eve Online shards. Both shards? Eve is famous for having all players play on a single shard, but that is not true. Due to the laws in the People's Republic of China, citizens of the world's most populous country play on their own server, Serenity. When those players along with trial accounts are counted, Eve Online has well over 400,000 active accounts.
After criticizing EA yesterday for the way it misled and continues to mislead people about the popularity of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I thought I would end with this analysis of Eve from MMOData back in March:
"I received more datapoints from CCP, they truly are the most trustworthy source in the industry. They kept providing me with datapoints when EVE Online was in the decline. But this time they have better news. Their subscriptions have gotten back up to 352,5k in March 2012 from a lowpoint of 340k in December 2012. They had a little dip in between with the release of SWTOR, but as I expected, they quickly recovered, and I believe the recovery may even become a new high in the next few months.Sometimes companies who tell the truth are successful, even if they have 25% the subscription base of other games who seem to mislead people as a matter of course.
"It all depends of course how they will handle EVE Online, and if they will continue to do it right. If they keep improving the spaceship game as they are doing since the Incarna debacle and improve Incarna sandbox style instead of with microtransactions I think they have large potential. I think they realised by now they are not the dinosaur of the industry, even if they get rid of microtransactions, but they are the turtle of the industry, slowly moving forward but outliving all others. I still have quite a bit of reservations on the implementation of Dust, but we will tackle that when we get there."