"New Eden" to Provide Communication, Organization in EVE's Universe
In light of CCP's ongoing efforts to expand the EVE concept into new markets (with the console gamer-friendly DUST 514 game on the horizon and the more socially-driven Incarna project a few years out), new tools will be needed to coordinate efforts between allied elements of EVE's increasingly diverse playerbase. CCP's Nathan "Oveur" Richardsson and others spoke as to how New Eden will soon be players' "EVE away from EVE" last Friday at Fanfest 2009. If done properly, New Eden will represent an unprecedented level of communication and social networking not only within the growing EVE universe, but in the entire MMO category as well.
The centerpiece of New Eden is both character and corporate alliance profiles (which will show corp info, employment info, skill queue - and basically as much or as little about you and yours as you like). Of particular note is the Facebook-style status message, which you'll be able to change to alert friends to what's going on with you in or out of game. New Eden will also provide corporations and alliances with private forums, an important consideration given the upcoming wave of console-only players (with limited browser capability and no way to set up their own forums, should they elect to create or join an unaffiliated corporation or alliance) in DUST 514.
New Eden's similarity to Facebook's core features has led some of EVE's players to dub it "Spacebook", though it seems like CCP is taking a page or two from Google's playbook as well. The new email system will be accessible with any Internet browser via a Gmail-like interface. A Google-style calendar will help players track CCP events, shared events like fleet engagements, and even your next dentist appointment on your personal calendar.
CCP's efforts with New Eden are just one way the indy turned multi-national developer is building up the EVE IP. Tony Gonzales's premier EVE novel, "EVE: The Empyrean Age" has sold over 87,000 copies (roughly a third of EVE's current subscriber base). A second novel, "The Burning Life," is slated for November, and Tony Gonzales will reprise his groundbreaking premiere with a planned third novel. Oveur noted that CCPs branding efforts will grow to include a "strongly" increased mobile presence (including specifically support for Blackberry devices), a revitalized API including limited 2-way capabilities (for greater "crowdsourcing" and third-party app development), and the EVElopedia wiki, all of this in concert with the wide-ranging New Eden efforts. Most recently, EVE Online apparel will be available through Jinx (http://www.jinx.com/eve) starting October 16th.
No release date was given for New Eden, only a timeframe between EVE's Dominion expansion (launching December 1st) and CCP's future EVE-related projects, including DUST 514 and Incarna. Given New Eden's diverse features set, players will most likely see a phased implementation of the concept, starting with email, profiles, and the calendar, and growing to include more diverse mobile and voicechat features as they become available.