Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eve Online's Tranquility Subscription Numbers Jump To 361,000

Some people may be surprised that the company with the most open policy about disclosing its subscription and concurrent user numbers runs a game with a reputation as having a player base full of griefers, scam artists and megalomaniacs. Of course, with a cliente as paranoid and distrustful as that found in Eve Online, openness is almost a requirement for CCP to gain the affection and loyalty of its players.

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, 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.

"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."
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.


  1. CCP has a quality product in EVE and they are managing the product in a mostly thoughtful way. They made some mistakes in the past but overall the progress continues. CCP very openly stated that they screwed up with Incarna and then came roaring back with Crucible, followed it with Escalation, and I'm excited about Inferno and still more good work. Tweaking mechanics, fixing little things, improving graphics, and animations, are all excellent things to do to a game that is fundementally strong.

    Dust will be the draw, the next big thing, and if they can pull it off it also serves as a nice lead in to the EVE universe for a whole new demographic of player. I personally think that it has a chance to draw guys to EVE online from Dust and I think that is what CCP is hoping for. They are too pragmatic to plan on it however. The gun bunnies will have their fun but I imagine quite a few will be looking up to the heavens. When they do, they will see us. Some are going to want what we have.

  2. EVE has the major disadvantage is that it is hard for new players to get into the fun stuff, in other games the build up period is a month or two at the most to get to the end game with max level and raid gear.

    In EVE the build up time is a year or two to get into capital and super capital ships, and even then you will need a major 'sugar daddy' alliance sending you skill books and protecting you for this long build up time.

    And here is the kicker, one momentary lapse of concentration can cost you months or years of skill development if you get pod killed without a clone or billions if not trillions of ISK if you get scammed which is commonplace in the game (and some of your ISK may of been obtained by buying game time tokens known as PLEX with real money and selling them to other players, So you can lose real money... (not to mention real life scams perpetrated in-game which can empty your real bank account))

    1. Obvious troll full of misinformation is obvious. I'd really like to hear the in game scam that emptied someone's real bank account, though. I've never heard of one and I try to collect those stories.

  3. Yes i also disagree that people lose RL money... i mean if you want to compare it then its no different from people in WOW buying gold, then get scammed? If you can get scammed in one game, then you can get scammed in another, the rate of which you get scammed depends on your own intellect to differentiate a bargain deal from an obvious "too good to be true" deal, and if you're stupid enough to keep falling for the same scam then god help you in life.

    Since we're talking about scams, I actaully don't mind people who are smart enough to scam others in Eve Online. Don't get me wrong, its never good to get scammed, but if I ever got scammed, it won't be because of my stupidity but the scammer's ability to think at a higher level than me, and personally, i think that it is acutally respectable and i'm happy getting my ass scammed only to learn a new lesson in the game.

    People regardless of what MMORPG will get scammed, but the way which you get scam determines the depth of the game... In Eve online, there is countless ways to scam players from as simple as contract insurance scams to ore theifing and racketeering in a gang ... vs the vast majority of standard MMORPGS out there like World of Warcraft... one game is for adults and the other for kids... when was the last time an Alliance group came up to you and demanded cash or he'll kill you? You'll just laugh and let him kill you and be done with it... no consequences... in Eve online if you get your battleship/captials blown up, then it will set you back months if not years. You'd do the smart thing and payout and think of different ways to recoup the losses. Eve is a game for people who enjoys a bit of thinking, planning yet like taking risks and gets the thrill of making an empire.

    Have a look at youtube for PVP in eve... then vs that with other MMORPGs and you tell me which is more epic.

    True that one other person said that Eve is a hard game to get started and get into, but its also because of this that i personally find so attractive. I dont want some mind numbing game where i can play with my eyes closed, Eve online actually portrays a lot of Real life politics. Things such as corporate espionage, playing the market and strategic warring with other corps are just a few of the features which no other mmos can ever compare to.

    My 2 cents

  4. "Their subscriptions have gotten back up to 352,5k in March 2012 from a lowpoint of 340k in December 2012."

    Um, you can see the future ;)

    1. You do realize that they are still lagging inflation now 7 years in a row for growth right? With the outlay for WoD and Dust, and the additional 10 mil capital they had to raise, I can see the future, trouble.

      They developed a FPS game that still hasn't launched for it's platform that is now past is prime in title's launched per year.

  5. EVE is enjoyable even in the early life of a capsuleer. By far the MMO I have enjoyed most mainly for its adrenaline pumping PvP. Started in 2006 and played actively till mid 2011 and I am still subbed to it. In the last couple of years however CCP has focused on very large scale combat believing that players like the huge fleets and sov warfare. There is very little in the game now for the individual or small gang PvPer and most of the best pilots from 2006-2007 have now quit.

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