EVE Online passes 500,000 subscribers

Fantasy MMORPGs may come and go, but dear old EVE Online stands firm, offering something unique and (mostly) not throwing money away lusting after World of Warcraft's crown. Developer CCP today announced that its Internet spaceships MMO has passed 500,000 subscribers for the first time in its almost-ten-year history, making it pretty pleased as it heads into the second decade.

"Ten years after release, it is incredibly inspiring that, through a lot of hard work from our EVE Online team, we are crossing the half-million subscriber mark," CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson said in today's announcement. "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."

While this is a remarkable accomplishment, it hasn't all been plain sailing. CCP sunk an awful lot of time and effort into the 'Incarna' tech, but few players were particularly interested in it and it fell far short of what was promised. Incarna granted previously-disembodied players avatars to stroll around space stations, socializing, gambling in bars, running stores, and whatnot. When it finally launched, though, players could only stroll around their cabin by themselves. And, of course, what EVE players really want is to fly spaceships.

Pétursson later apologised for the "estrangement" CCP had caused with Incarna and a microtransactions upset. It also cut resources from its World of Darkness MMO to focus on EVE. Working on the spaceships side of EVE, CCP started winning players back.

With a few really solid expansions--free as ever--and a relaunch in China, EVE has now finally broken the half-million mark. The next big thing on the EVE scene is Dust 514, the free-to-play PlayStation 3-exclusive FPS which connects to EVE. Dust players can win territory for EVE corporations, while spaceships in EVE can bombard battlefields in Dust. It's in open beta now, if you're curious.