Dienstag, 12. April 2016

State Of Eve

Today I'm going to highjack a very profound analysis by Croda about the financial situation, abbreviate it to some essentials for my PoV and add my own conclusions as well as ramble somewhat about the ingame situation in regards to the current northern invasion and the outlook for the game as whole.

Financial Situation


As already known to most of the players, CCP is a decently profitable company which managed to waste a ton of money with their misguided attempts at diversification. In the wake of the financial troubles of the year 2013 they had to lay off 170 of 508 employees in 2014 and another 8 employees in 2015. Their earnings however seem to have stabilized and they published a post tax profit of 20.7 million dollar after a loss of 65.6 million dollar in 2014. Sounds good.

But now let's take a look at the revenue by game subscriptions: This fell from 64 million to 53 million dollars, a loss of roughly 17%, which equates directly to the active playerbase. In 2013 it was 71 million dollar, so we see a total drop of 25.4% in active players within 2 years with accelerating decrease. Now this doesn't look good at all.

After all their attempts for diversification CCP is pretty much still a one trick pony. The whole company stands or falls with the ongoing success of a now 13 years old computer game, which has to keep up with modern triple A titles and is basically excel in space.

If the playerbase keeps waning, they can for a while keep positive earnings by cost cuttings and stopping to waste good money on the production of 2nd-rate products that were supposed to keep the company alive at the unevitable demise of their core product some day.
But in the end the receding revenues will take their toll and the available cash won't be sufficient to fund the further development of the product and Eve will go the way of all great MMORPGs. 


Current spike due to the northern invasion


At the moment we're seeing a large spike in active players in droves of resubscribing returners as well as cute newbies that want to join the big war they read of in some obscure article on some webpage or saw a cool video created in fast motion or with kickass graphics in close-up view.

Now we all know about the large spikes in activity after B-R, after "This is Eve". People want to join the current cool action, new players want to experience this game they read about or see in the movies. We all also know how long-lived this spikes have been in the past.

Everyone's enthusiastic right now that this time it will be completely different. Why?

Actually I don't see any reason for optimism. The veterans on both sides will drop out of the game again, as a bittervet won't get all milled up about a game he grew tired off just because he got to get his final revenge against an old hated enemy. If anything he'll be satisfied that he achieved his final goal in the game and got rid of those bee guys. The bee guys however will only resubscribe to evacuate their shit out of nullsec, afterwards they'll lapse into inactivity again as well, together with all those guys that got kicked out of nullsec, their dreams of an impregnable fortress shattered, quite some of them will take it as reason to quit the game finally as well.

The newbie retention rate is also known pretty well. People get attracted by cool stories, by shiny movies, and when they join the game they see that it's a spreadsheet in 3d, they get raped again and again until they finally notice that it's no honorable 1on1 until you got your falcon alt and 10 friends waiting for the cyno.


Conclusion



As you probably have guessed by now, I'm not foreseeing the brightest future for Eve online as well as for CCP. The numbers of active subscribers and thus operative revenue have dropped dramatically for any business analytic. I don't see any good chance for a reversal of this tendency, especially with a ton of new triple-A titles being released this spring. 

CCP got rid of a lot of veterans, of people with 10+ accounts, their most faithful and loyal playerbase, catering more towards newbies and casual gamers in the hope of making the game more attractive to new players, but I don't see the statistics reward this move. Phoebe and Aegis have been around for a long time now already, and the current spike was only brought by the invasion of the north, the event finally making happen what 70% of the Eve population had been hoping for over the last 4 years. 

Once it's over I don't see the spike going on, even worse if the CFC will re-annect the lost space within 2 weeks of the "good guys" returning home. The sloping will continue, only this time the slope is CCP's customer base again.


Kommentare:

  1. I think you are missing a major difference between the current spike in new players coming in and the last big ones (BR- and This is EVE).
    The last ones were just simple one time events which got huge media attention and made players curious. When they joined the game, they weren't able to experience the huge battles etc. which probably drew them in.
    This time a considerable amount will probably jump right into action, be it in horde, test, karmafleet etc. in an actual ongoing war.
    So they will experience the larger fights (well, if the CFC actually would undock maybe ;) ) and also get to build up social ties right off the bat, which as we know are all factors for better retention rates.
    My assumption would thus be that while of course lots of people will still fall off the cliff, the rentention rate will be much higher this time around.

    I also think that the current SOV system + phoebe etc allow smaller entities to hold space and thus create meaningful gameplay for them. We already see an abundance of alliances holding small parts of 0.0. After the CFC/Goons shrank to a realistic size, more space opens up and we have a lot of new ambitious players which will try to carve out their own little corner of eve.

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