One cannot talk about online video games without having a lengthy discussion about EVE Online. A real life science fiction community, EVE takes gamers into a massive online universe. Players enter a role-playing game, form teams, and compete in several skirmishes with other players worldwide. It is published by CCP games and it is estimated to have around 15,000 to 30,000 online players at any given time.
Since its release, EVE has been a paid subscription. Gamers are billed every month for access to the universe and to purchase new gear. There are also virtual wars within the universe. CCP games announced that the most recent war caused around US $300,000 in damage. EVE gamers could only take part in a 14-day trial period before being asked to pay.
Now, after 13 years, first-time users can join for free. It is hoped that this move will attract more players. The change will take effect in November but already, thousands of players are being encouraged by the move. Developers say that EVE has always been popular, but subscriptions have kept other people from joining. By having a free-to-play option, the game can see its community expand exponentially.
Gamers would still have to pay to upgrade their ships or use certain skills. Developers, however, are being cautious about this new move. They still wish to maintain EVE’s high-play interactivity and current fan base. The key is striking the balance between attracting new players and keeping their loyal customers.