The line between a F2P option and an extended/unlimited trial continues to get blurred, this time by EVE Online.
In some respects, this new option gives people access to all of the game (high sec, low sec, null, and WH) for free. On the other, it limits what ships you can fly and how you can fit them enough that beyond a time-uncapped sample, I doubt a lot of people who stick with the game are going to remain as F2P alpha pilots, which is why I don’t really view this as ‘true’ F2P. F2P to me means you can access most if not all of the game without paying, just that usually that access is more difficult to grind to. Here, no amount of time will ever get an alpha pilot into anything bigger than a cruiser, or allow them to fit tech 2 equipment, or train certain skills like cloaking.
Is this good for EVE? Of course. EVE’s biggest issue since… basically launch has been its ability to retain new players. It a hard game to get into, both from a mechanics perspective and because its a true sandbox that really doesn’t hold your hand while it shows you the pretty sights, so anything that gets someone over that hump is a plus.
Now this being EVE it’s likely (odd are currently set to 100%) that someone will find a way to work some ‘unintended consequences’ our of this. That’s a risk you take when adding anything to EVE, but its especially high when you allow unlimited alts to be created. But like I said, IMO its a worthwhile risk, and CCP going in this direction allows them to capture some of the ‘I’ll only try it if its F2P’ crowd without shifting the focus of EVE all together. They don’t need to add (another) cash shop to make this work, or ‘tweak’ SP gains to ‘encourage’ visiting a shop.