So Massively finally had a good article about news from a space-based MMO. Too bad it’s not about EvE. At least not directly. If you go through to the actual forum post, Gozer (Ghost Busters name, Top Gun avatar, true child of the 80s) makes a few comments that help put last summers issues in some perspective.
Cryptic has some fun games. Champions and STO are both fun, and free. They do have rather limited resources. Perfect Worlds has given them much more money to work with than Atari did, and STO has seen a bit of a renaissance, but some old problems have stayed around. PvP is one of them. The folks at Cryptic have all of one dev working on PvP. One. They realized that they have to focus on what works for them. The Star Trek audience wants PvE. They don’t want to shoot each other, they want to explore strange new worlds. As a result their PvP stinks, and they are looking at putting it on the chopping block completely because dropping it wouldn’t really affect the bottom line.
Last summer part of CCPs problem was the revelation that the number of people working on walking in stations dwarfed the number of people working on Flying in Space. This amounted to mortgaging the future without doing anything to even maintain the present. In the military you talk a lot about reinforcing success. In the business world it’s finding (and exploiting) your niche. If you attack on a wide front you don’t send more troops into the meat grinder occupying 1/3 of your troops, you send them to help exploit the breakthrough the other 2/3 created. If Apple succeeds in distinguishing themselves as a company that markets products to trendsetters and fashionable folks, they should work more on that, not trying to build servers for major corporations.
Today CCP is again working on ships. We have seens ships, ships, and more ships, graphics, and PvP changes from CCP because that is what EvE does. Walking in stations would be the business equivalent of Apple focusing most of it’s developers on a new widescreen HDTV system.
You can expand your market, you can find a new niche and maybe CCP can find a way to create a new market for a broader EvE community. That’s fine, but you can’t just pour water down a well and hope for gold to float up. It turns out gold doesn’t float up. If CCP wants to expand they need to use their resources rationally, small groups of devs building up to a larger group, while maintaining their effort on EvE. STO is going this route, they have one dev taking a look at PvP in their game to see if it is worth maintaining. If it is, they will add more resources without hurting the core game. If it isn’t they will pull the plug and use those resources more profitably elsewhere.
In the future look for CCP to focus on EvE. I expect Dust 514 to land with the sound of 10 lbs of bird poop and stay there. Shooters have sequels because the money is on the release. Yeah they sell map packs, but the draw is the newest, shiniest graphics. CCP can’t deliver that and they aren’t even going to get sales at release. I think it will start flat and drop from there, resulting in massive losses and an even bigger dependency on EvE. You’ll know there’s trouble on the horizon if CCP shows bad numbers for Dust and puts more devs on it to try to save the sinking ship.