EVE is still called a niche MMO, despite having more subs than most sub MMOs, and despite being the only MMO with sustained growth after 8+ years. Perhaps when people say niche, they mean that EVE is the only truly successful MMO long-term, but somehow I doubt that.
But what if EVE was not ‘niche’? What if it had 2m subs? 10m? What impact would that have on New Eden, its players, and CCP?
If EVE had 10m players, how many of them would be docked in Jita 4 4? If 400k gets you 1500ish in Jita today, 10m would mean 37k+ pilots all in one system. That might cause just a little bit of lag, or require TiDi to be turned up to 99.99% 24/7. Can you imagine the market volume?
This would also cause silly amounts of competition over fixed resources like wormholes, null-sec systems, and low-sec regions. If the goons today blob with 2k, the goons in a 10m sub MMO would bring what? How big would alliances or coalitions get? And while Mittens does a masterful job herding the CFC in its current size, would anyone be capable of herding THAT many people?
So perhaps a 10m New Eden would be home to a huge amount of ‘small’ Alliance, each with 4-5k members, and only capable of holding a system or two. Or maybe someone could unite a hundred thousand players under one banner, and raise the bar of entry to an impossibly high level.
Another aspect to consider would be market manipulation. Would this be possible in a 10m pilot world? If it could happen, the scale would be enormous, and the profits unimaginable. Some alliances in EVE today are already super-rich, but what if someone truly had almost unlimited resources? If controlling the Trit market today is impossible, what are the odds when the population increases 25x?
For CCP, 10m subs would of course raise revenue to crazy amounts as well. CCP already delivers more content/updates than anyone else in the genre, so what would things look like when given so many resources? Jita with 37k being technically possible, or more Incarna dreaming?
While I don’t believe EVE will ever reach 10m subs, if it continues growing like it has for 8 years, at what point does overpopulation kick in? 500k? 750k? 1m? And when it does, how will the players, CCP, and New Eden itself react?