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Friday, December 30, 2011

What will 2012 bring?

It's the last day of 2011 and that means everyone is doing their end-of-year wrap-ups. One tradition is to prognosticate on what's going to happen over the next year. I don't claim to have any special insight or anything like that. All I've got is decades of gaming experience both with and without computers. Based on that, here is my take on how 2012 is going to go for CCP and for EVE Online (in no particular order.)
  1. There will be (has been?) a brief uptick in subscriptions, but the trend throughout the year will be flat. That means CCP will not get a revenue boost from EVE Online. I say this because there will be nothing done to actually pull new players into the game. The same old game play will rule and the same type of person will want to play. But frankly, EVE Online already has about every person that wants to and can  play Internet Space-wars subscribed and birth rates are declining. The game play just doesn't appeal to most gamers. People do not want to log in and not have fun. For all those that say the undock button is a PVP authorization, think about that last bit good and long. You are correct, EVE as it stands today is a PVP permissive environment. I like that. You like that. But buddy, let me tell you, most people who pay good money to relax playing a game after a hard day at work/school don't. They'll take their $15 a month elsewhere thank you very much (and evidently do.)
  2. Dust514 will debut to lackluster sales and anemic subscription rates. Do a search for most anticipated games of 2012. Dust514 barely even gets mentioned if at all. Add to this that Xbox 360 will dominate in 2012 and you've got a pretty good recipe for disaster. What, you say "no way" to Xbox domination? Think again. Xbox isn't just about games anymore. It does movies now. It does music now. It integrates with your T.V. subscription now. It does On Demand now. It does Facebook now. Oh, and it plays games. This is Microsoft's best kept non-secret. Forget Windows 8. The Xbox with voice controlled software and Kinects is the box of the immediate future. When people have to decide what to spend their one splurge on, the Xbox or PS-whatever, the Xbox will win - especially first time buyers of a console system. CCP will be hard pressed to staunch the blood flow from Dust514 AND reinvigorate EVE Online.
  3. Sovereignty mechanics will continue to suck. No, I have no experience in it.  However, since I began playing EVE Online almost 4 years ago, everything I've ever read from those that have lots of experience in it has said sovereignty mechanics suck. I don't think it's fixable. Even if CCP manages to pull of a drastic change, it will still suck. Almost no one will be happy with it. That's just what nearly-bitter-vets are like. They won't like it. They're like grumpy old men - nothing satisfies them. I'm just saying...
  4. CCP will implement some form of Walking in Stations. Whether you are for or against, walking in stations is necessary for Dust514 to work. Without it, there is no uniqueness to that first person shooter and #2 will be even more dismal than I've predicted. Get ready for it, I think the work's already been done. Full body avatar is just the beginning. All they have to do now is pull the trigger - and they must for Dust514's sake.
  5. Micro-transactions are still coming (and you will like them.) All the work CCP has put in to V3 is for the Noble Exchange - not ship beautification. Logos and custom skins on ships are not possible without it and those are the most desired micro-transaction among the current player base. CCP will need the revenue stream (see #1 and #2)  so they will want to bring this out sooner than later. Once they do, there will be a rush to buy. That will help CCP hold the line until they figure out how to attract a new type of player to EVE Online.
And that's what I see for 2012. You may agree or disagree, but regardless, this will be a make or break year for CCP and for EVE Online. It will be an interesting year. I just hope it doesn't turn into that old curse about living in interesting times. However, though I'm a cynical optimist, I'm an optimist nonetheless. By this time in 2012 I believe things will be no worse than they are now, and CCP will have an entire year to make 2013 the most exciting year yet in the story that is EVE Online! I'll still be here and I hope you are too, all of you. Have a safe and very Happy New Year!

Fly careful.

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