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Pushing for Numbers? November 24, 2007

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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It was announced recently that on November 16, 2007 at 13:59 GMT, EVE Online passed the 200,000 subscriber mark.  A notable  achievement for a game that has continued to grow since its slow launch back in 2003.  You can see a posting here about it from CCP Kieron.

But I have to wonder what the makeup of the recent subscribers is.

More than a month before the 200,000 subscriber mark was hit, CCP ran their “Feel The Power of 2” campaign, where any current subscriber could get a second account for the bargain price of $49.95 for a six month subscription.  A campaign that was supposed to originally end on November 4th, but which got extended to November 20th.  That extension ran just long enough for the 200,000 subscriber mark to be hit.

Which, of course, raises the question I alluded to above: How many of the recent subscribers are conversions from 14-Day trial accounts and how many of them are “Feel the Power of 2″ add-on accounts?

Not that selling to your installed base is a bad thing.  It is a popular and lucrative practice in most industries.  But how sticky will those second accounts be?

As part of the announcement CCP said that their next goals were 50,000 players in game simultaneously (the last record I saw was 37,481 on at once) and 300,000 subscriptions.  But will the “Feel the Power of 2″ accounts stay active on the whole after the six month special has passed and the $14.99 a month reality kicks in?  Or will this lead to a dip in subscriptions when the time runs out on the special pricing?

And will the Trinity upgrades, which are bound to make the game more CPU and GPU intensive, influence this by making two-boxing manageable on a smaller populations of player machines?

Since I do not know of another MMO that has pushed two-boxing with a deal like CCP’s, they may very well be breaking new ground again by merely finding out the answer in six months time.

Comments»

1. Debes - November 24, 2007

They have had at least one power of two offer in the past (when bloodlines was released) with much the same offer, so I’m poresuming that it worked out for them or they wouldn’t offer it again… :)

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2. michael, St Erroneous - November 25, 2007

The frequency of a single player operating multiple accounts in EVE, based on the enormously statistically significant datum point of one rambling conversation in my corpchat, seems pretty high anyway. Because of the time-based skill training, there isn’t the same painful necessity to split the player’s frontal lobs and run two characters in combat simultaneously to gain abilities – just spend the money on the skillbooks, crank up EVEMON, and keep logging in to swap skills. “Secondary” characters might not get standing boosts from time spent running missions, but they’ll happily learn Drones while your primary completes Exhumers.

I have three accounts, and use them to run a Miner/Industrialist, a PVP/Missioning leadership, and a slightly younger out-of-corporation Industrial hauler whom I’m intending to do logistical things with once I’ve got the character into a transport ship. I’m doing it partially to fulfill a fantasy of being useful, busy and entertained during mining operations.

From conversations with the “old timers” in my training corporation, I get the distinct impression that I’m far from unusual. The utility in having an “real” alt character that can haul, trade, scout safely in empire, or be the target of carefully focused standing gains, is pretty high. Standard alts are handy, but any training slows the growth of the main character, and they can’t be logged in at the same time as the main…

The Trinity game update (currently available in testing on Singularity for the curious, though no new art assets yet) will probably make the game less CPU-bound, and more somewhat GPU intensive – depending on the graphics options selected. Running multiple clients on a single CPU laptop (an old 1.8 Pentium M with a 6800) was already viable, though when I did anything lag-sensitive I dropped to a single client. I recently bought a quad core desktop machine with a good graphics card, and it giggles at driving three EVE clients.

The main problem is real-estate. EVE can be very screen-space hungry, and alt-tabbing between several large overlapping windows is simply annoying. I have a pair of substantial displays on the machine, and in idle moments find myself wishing I had three…

I’m convinced that the Power of Two campaign is being secretly sponsored by Dell’s flat panel department.

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3. Debes - November 25, 2007

Just as a note about the frontal lobe split: I am aware of no less than five people who will play multiple accounts in PvP at once, and two of them will rarely ever fly with one account.

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