Thursday, April 21, 2016

Learning From Each Other

The Fanfest schedule came out late last week and I heard some rumblings about how few developer presentations would occur.

I realize I have a limited social circle here in Reykjavik, but the questions continued. The schedule for today really stood out. No events in any other room but in the main Tranquility hall. As I recall, no drinks are allowed in that room, making for a very long 5 hours. Even then, CCP developers will only speak for 4 hours, with the 5th hour a presentation by Andrew Groen, the author of Empires of EVE.

Looking at Friday's schedule, one can see that player presentations far outnumber CCP's. I know that last year the theme from marketing was that players make the game and they wanted player involvement to really push the concept. But does that now apply for this year? After all, the Citadel expansion is less than a week away. Why isn't CCP using Fanfest to promote its first great expansion in two years?

A couple of reasons come to mind. The most obvious is: the expansion launches in less than a week. The developers are busy putting the finishing touches on the expansion and don't have time to put together and practice presentations. The tinfoil hat crowd may even claim that the lack of presentations indicates the expansion is not ready and we will see a delay on Citadel reaching Tranquility.

The second reason is that CCP is busy turning itself into a maker of virtual reality games and doesn't want to distract from players trying out this year's offerings. Observers may recall that EVE:Valkyrie first made a public appearance at Fanfest in 2013 and a beta version of EVE: Gunjack appeared last year. Who knows what's in store for players this year? Whatever the VR devs present, one can count on the fact that participants will receive a survey to take afterwards.

One thing I wonder about is just how much CCP learns from players during Fanfest. Looking at the schedule, CCP conducts a lot of roundtables in which they gather a lot of information. The devs also get to hear a lot of chatter from players both at the Harpa walking around and in the bars at night. In fact, one such bar is downstairs from the CCP offices. Is the presence of so many player presentations a sign that CCP learns as much from the player presentations as the players learn from the developer presentations?

Whatever the reason, all I know is I don't have to think about what sessions to attend today. I just need to take notes and stay awake.

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