Syncaine has used the past few logical points to try and push EvE as a market success. Let’s take a look at the argument, using his strategy.
First we’ll go back to the Player Success vs Company Success issue. The former is a subjective criteria of success, based on the number of players who not only play but play for a long time. The second is an objective criteria based on the length of life of a game and the quality of updates to it. Since they each impact the other, they are related. No players, then the game shuts down. No game, then no players.
Simply, if a game makes it past the first year, it would be simple to state that it is a success. This is caused primarily by the fact that the company sets a bar for the number of players needed to keep the game afloat. The quality of that success however, remains to be seen.
For that, we can look at the quality of the updates. I would argue that this is new mechanics and new content. Simply adding new content (new raids, skins, items) is simple. Adding new mechanics (new events, rebuilding combat, flying) requires a complex planning structure. EQ 1&2 are more about content. WoW has expansions of mechanics but patches of content (which is why people think Blizz takes too long on patches). EvE has had a fair share of both.
Is EvE a success in these terms? 100%. Is WoW? Yup. So is LOTRO, DDO, Rift and a half dozen others. TOR, DCUO and a few others are not though.
The second portion of the argument is that EvE is a mass-market success. I don’t think so. You can’t even say that about WoW.
70% of the US plays video games. Over 250 million people. That’s excluding Europe, Canada, Australia and a pile of other countries. EvE has 400K subs (the wide majority of whom play multiple accounts). You’re talking about 0.1% of all gamers. World of Tanks has 18 million registered players. That’s not even the same ballpark.
The classic MMO game, with a persistent world and stat based gaming, is a niche. A noticeable one. The reason people even talk about EvE today is because WoW paved the road.
Is EvE a success? Certainly. Is EvE a mass market success? Not even close. Is it in the top 10 for subscription classic-MMOs in the west? Yes. Why isn’t that enough?