What all developers should learn from EVE Online

The fourth day: Money where the mouth is

But the most arousing experience for the players had to be when CCP agreed to give the CSM tangible power within the company. On the last day, the devs announced that after the earlier discussions about improving the CSM’s ability to effect change, the CSM was being raised to the status of its own department within CCP.

This is revolutionary; in one swift move, the CSM went from what could be considered a glorified focus group to what CCP considers to be a “stakeholder” in the company, given equal consideration with every other department in requesting development time for a project. That means the CSM - and the entire playerbase it represents - has as much influence on development projects as Marketing, Accounting, Publicity and all the other teams outside of the development team.

This is, of course, the stated intention. But has any developer gone to such lengths for its fans? I’ve spent a week observing CCP, taking inventory of concerns and complaints from even the most aggravating of griefers among its players; there seems to be little question that CCP genuinely believes in the importance of the players’ feedback through the CSM, and the step to incorporate it into the company’s internal process goes a long way toward proving that their belief in player-driven experiences is no mere gimmick or promotional device.

If anything, EVE Online appears to be achieving what many social virtual worlds backed by millions of dollars of capital - including There and Second Life - have failed to do: to create an automous, player-driven society in cyberspace. This is what CCP believes produces the absolute best games, and it’s willing to take extraordinary risks to prove it.

The last day: 3 a.m.

Walking between bars in the wee hours of the morning on my last day in Reykjavik, we ran into a group of Icelanders singing and dancing down the street while another group threw beer bottles on the ground in the alleyway next to us.

It suddenly hit me that EVE Online could only come out of a place like Iceland - a place where packs of friends wander the streets drunk until 6 a.m., doing pretty much whatever they want; a place where the only government presence I saw all week was an information center; a place where the people pretty much monitor themselves. CCP adopted this people-centric culture inside their company and inside their game, and now they’re proving that giving the power to the players can work for game development as well. Self-governance has never looked quite so sexy.

May 17, 2010

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  • Foofah - May 19, 2010 1:24 p.m.

    In my opinion, and I have played some months, it lacks a reality factor. As a big SciFi fan I did not particularly like the fact that one can jump through planets, there was no cockpit and no real trading aspect like the great Elite had. It's fun for a while, but not lasting. At least not for me...
  • quicksilver_502 - May 18, 2010 8 p.m.

    eve is a great game to read about but i don't have the time or patience to play it.
  • db1331 - May 18, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    Very interesting read. I've never played EVE, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. I know the EVE community is supposed to be very mature and helpful as far as gaming communities go. I think what CCP is doing here is brilliant, and maybe some of the companies behind all those failed MMOs should follow suit. I also completely agree with Azymuth about the Lost Planet 2 ad. That thing is the most obnoxious ad I have ever seen, no lie. I mean it was coming to the point where I either was going to stop coming to GR or install adblock plus. I like you guys so I decided to install adblock. Seriously though, do I need to see a video pop up for some shitty game on all 4 pages of an article?
  • fhuzzy - May 18, 2010 6:55 p.m.

    If you'd like a 21 day trial instead of a 14 day trial, drop me an email fhuzzy at
  • Deathofasin - May 18, 2010 5:32 p.m.

    the way i fugure things, all MMO's should be like Mabinogi. free to play and if you put real money into it you get good bonuses. this game looks amazing though but i think FPS's and Team based combat games are better.
  • MisterAdequate - May 18, 2010 12:24 p.m.

    EVE is a superb game, and I genuinely think that CCP are doing the most important work currently going on in the MMO field. For my part I just don't have the time to invest in order to really enjoy and appreciate EVE, but I played it in the past and I respect it as a truly impressive and groundbreaking game. Long live CCP!
  • SHAD0WNINJA - May 18, 2010 8:36 a.m.

    EVE is an amazing game and you should all try it if you haven't already (14 day free trial). It's great that CCP are actually giving its community such a large say in its development.
  • Llanthas - May 18, 2010 7:23 a.m.

    Eve is far and away the best MMO I've ever seen - except MAYBE star wars galaxies before SOE raped it silly. The world and culture is like nothing else I've ever seen. I honestly think every gamer worth his salt should at least try the free trial period.
  • Nodoudt - May 18, 2010 2:39 a.m.

    I've noticed a lot more companies leaning towards working with players to release content. For instance, a buddy of mine plays this casual MMORPG made by the Indie game company Artix Entertainment, and apparently each week they release new content based solely on what the players request in the forums. Sure, it's a lot simpler than EVE, and is usually aimed at the younger audience, but I think it's really cool that a company would take the time to let the players decide what effects the game, and they seem to have a lot of fun with it too. Found the link to the site. I gotta admit it's pretty cool. But back on track, I seriously think that more companies, ESPECIALLY ones working online should really consider accomidating the needs of the player, because in the end that just nets you more people and more money, and that's definitely the key to staying afloat. reCaptcha: its radiated
  • Azymuth - May 18, 2010 2:03 a.m.

    OK, I felt guilty and finally read it. It was a good article. The first page is like double the lenght of the other two pages, so it makes the article appear like a lot longer than it is really. Also it would be a lot easier to read without this stupid Lost Planet ad. Seriously, this video is more invasive than Assasins' Creed 2 DRM. It is unprofessional. Yeah, I am a whiny bitch. Sorry
  • shadowarrior99 - May 18, 2010 1:17 a.m.

    why did i play wow instead of this? Oh, my cousin, and i never heard of it
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 18, 2010 1:10 a.m.

    @Azymuth: I recommend you do - it's fascinating. I have never played, no do I believe I will play, EVE simply because of the initial investment required to have any kind of meaningful presence. However, all I've heard of EVE is astonishing: in a way, EVE Online is that Final Frontier the modern-day pioneer yearns for. I'm constantly amazed at the players' dedication. As a gamer, I'm glad our medium is able to encapsulate all people - the casuals and these borderline LARPers. Also, the developer interaction is, so far, unprecedented and very cool of them.
  • nadrewod999 - May 18, 2010 12:57 a.m.

    EVE is very fun, I just wish they would give longer trials (Wait, what am I saying? Twice as long as WoW (7-day trial, decent graphics), better looking than Runescape (several hundred hour trial that never expires, terrible graphics), I think this might actually be an MMO I want to be a fully paid member of. LONG LIVE EVE!)
  • PlainLikeVanilla - May 17, 2010 11:47 p.m.

    Wow that sounds awsome, maybe I should give EVE a try.
  • Azymuth - May 17, 2010 10:48 p.m.


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