Following the recent publication of the minutes from the latest CSM/CCP summit much of the community is in a state of uproar / depression as it became clear that CCP was not going to back down to the ‘pursuit of excellence demands’ being made by the CSM.
For those who need a bit of back ground, the general premise is that many of EVE Onlines current features (Faction Warfare, Null Sec Sovereignty, Low Sec etc) are essentially either unfinished or becoming seriously frayed around the edges. CCP however appears steadfast in its decision to focus its efforts over the next 18 months on 2 new features – Incarna (Walking in Stations) and DUST514 (a console base FPS).
Herein lies a difficult path. Recognising there are only ever a limited set of resources do you; spit, polish and improve on the existing EVE Online game with the intention of retaining your current player base and hopefully attract a few more OR develop entirely new routes to market – essentially targeting completely new demographics whilst accepting the chance that some of your existing players may fall away?
CCP have decided to throw the dice and gamble on the latter – and its a big gamble. There is no guarantee that either DUST or Incarna will attract their own playing population, or even a playing population from those already within EVE. Attracting current EVE players seems nonsensical(they already pay their subs for EVE Online, ergo they wouldn’t be ‘new’ revenue) so by default both Incarna and DUST will not necessarily appeal to the current player base. Or, in short, these features are not for you.
However, if the gamble pays off CCP will have a wide and diverse subscriber base across a breadth of platforms and game types. Arguably this might indirectly benefit the classic EVE Online MMO as CCP’s revenue increases and this may be ploughed back into hard ware and personnel to improve the EVE Online MMO.
Such a bold move is not uncharacteristic for CCP who’s flagship title EVE Online was launched on much the same premise, against significant odds for success and amidst a equally large and vocal group of detractors. Should CCP be able to pull off the dual coup de grace of delivering both a successful FPS and the immersion of a 3d avatar experience there will be a not inconsiderable number of forum naysayers, pessimistic blogers and angry CSM reps looking astonishingly stupid.
Unfortunately for CCP it will almost certainly have to rely upon these very commentators to declare its new features a success (or an epic lulzfail) and right at this point in time few of them are sounding all that generous.
CCP of course still has plenty of time in hand to mollify some of its critics and spin up enough positive press to sow the seeds of future plaudits for its new features – but its likely to be an up hill battle saddled with a marketing department that will surely be viewed with grave suspicion by even the most ardent fanboi. As it stands now the sense of disillusioned players on various forums is palatable – some no longer even able to muster the strength to emo-rage preferring to sit despondent and beaten.
CCP has chosen the brave, arguably foolish, ‘all or nothing’ route – it’s greatest danger though is that its previously loyal customers may well chose the same.