The subscription model is not dead, it's just far away in space, Iceland, and Shanghai. Eve Online, which will be ten years old on the 6th of May, is the game that captured my imagination and attention for over five years. I miss it.
For hundreds of thousands of others, both on the Western server and the newly relaunched Chinese server, it is an ongoing commitment. I sort of envy them, but my time has passed. Speaking rather poetically of his success, CCP CEO Hilmar said: "For me, this is a true testament that EVE can live on forever, as long as we do right by her. We have not come to this point alone; millions of players have helped push us to this milestone. I now know in my mind what I previously only believed in my heart: that EVE will outlive us all."
It's quite the feat: ten years of growth for a subscription-based game. It not only shrugged off the familiar MMO models, it has also bucked the commercial trends which seem to govern the sector. Perhaps that's because, unlike almost every other MMO, it wasn't trying to make that same game of quests and orcs.
There was a time when I suspect that Eve might evolve itself to death, but maybe, just maybe, it will continue for that long. It makes me realise that it's ten years since I left working for a magazine publisher, and a magazine on which the editor at the time looked at the news of Eve's approach and told me "that game will never come out". I guess that just shows that as sceptical as we might be, sometimes the mad, beautiful ideas are bold and brave enough to survive.
I know lots of people don't enjoy Eve. It's their loss, frankly. But those that deride it, and attempt to diminish it's achievement, are simply wrong. No other game has so fulfilled the promise of what MMOs could or should be. No other game has gone so far with player agency or player interaction. It is one of the wonders of the PC world.
And where are the MMOs that took their inspiration from Eve? Hands down, Perpetuum, I was speaking to the rest of the class. Anyone?
Anyone at all?