EVE Online – Is the Intergalactic Sandbox on Its Last Legs?

From a niche title that catered to the most hardcore of players, to an ageing MMO that has done its best to lower the formerly ridiculous bar of entry in a bid to get new players in, EVE has seen just about every iteration possible: but has the road run out?

Earlier this year, Icelandic developer CCP announced that it was going to be acquired by Pearl Abyss – the South Korean studio behind games like Black Desert.

The news wasn’t greeted with the warmest of welcomes.

You see, there has been a long-standing debate within the EVE community that CCP was encountering financial troubles due to the niche nature of its game – the same nature that allowed EVE to succeed and thrive for over a decade, of course.

Like any major studio, CCP has made its fair share of mistakes with EVE Online. Helming an MMO for over 15 years will do that to you. With as many pivots as CCP has made over the years, it’s easy to forgive them for dropping the ball occasionally. Yet, this acquisition feels different – and players are right to wonder about what the future of the one-of-a-kind world may hold.

EVE has received dozens of updates, tweaks, and expansions over the years – all free, of course – yet you can’t shake the feeling that CCP has never really reached the lofty heights that it intended for its game. Several years back, CCP showed a render of what the future for EVE might look like – and it was glorious.

The concept was to intertwine the EVE universe with a remake of CCP’s ill-fated first-person shooter, Dust 514, and bring both the stars caped battles of EVE and the terrestrial combat of Dust 514 into unison, allowing the two separate player populations to effectively function as members of the same larger game world.

Sadly, that reality never came to pass.

The more that CCP edged toward this grand fusion of ideas and gameplay, the more that the EVE community caused an uproar. To them, it seemed that CCP was spending far too much time catering to an audience that wasn’t the core EVE audience – and through that, not taking care of the game that brought them to worldwide recognition.

Sadly, the fervour of the fans proved to be the winds that steered CCP’s sails, and aside from releasing an EVE-based VR game, the studio threw its weight behind the long-established MMO. Since then, the game has received many new expansions and features – yet all feel iterative rather than revolutionary.

And yet, no one can fault EVE for being what it is.

No other MMO out there offers what it does – even if it has offered mostly the same thing for years. But with a single-shard server encompassing all active players and far-reaching consequences for one’s actions – it’s easy to see why the playerbase will continue to flock back to the game again and again.

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