Wallstreet will tell you that if you are not growing, you are dying.
But the MMO space is not Wallstreet. If you are maintaining, especially at a pretty decent level, you are doing more than just OK.
350k subs still bring in 350k subs worth of income. So long as you don’t spent like you expect it to be 400k next month, what’s the real issue here? Is New Eden hurting for player activity? Nope. Can a business not sustain itself on 350k subs of income? Nope. Does CCP have enough devs working on EVE currently to improve the game at a good pace thanks to those 350k subs? Yup. Is it possible that at some point, as EVE continues to improve gradually, the number of subs will also gradually climb, much like they have for 9 years? Magic eight balls say “very likely”.
What is interesting, if I am reading Jester right, is that he is looking for CCP to do something :awesome: that will push EVE from its ‘niche’ of 350k subs into… well whatever comes after the 350k+ subs ‘niche’. And CCP tried just that with Incarna. And is now, maybe, trying it again with Dust514.
And both seem a little crazy to me, because CCP is (or has, with Incarna) playing with fire. If Dust fails and CCP has to make more cuts, this will very likely negatively impact EVE. If the impact is large enough, perhaps the rate of improvements in EVE slows, and due to that, players start to leave at a rate faster than they get replaced. That risk, to me, is not worth taking with something as successful as EVE.
That’s greed, and while it may be good on Wallstreet, it more often than not leads to something like this in the MMO space.