EVE Online developer CCP has significantly increased its marketing budget for 2007 in an attempt to increase the game’s subscriber base beyond the hardcore market.
The company is planning to spend approximately $7 million in marketing for 2007, said Magnus Bergsson, CCP’s chief marketing officer, who also indicated that his personal goal is to break the 300,000 subscriber mark by the end of the year. “The hardcore gamers know about EVE, so we’re expanding. We’re still going to be in the hardcore gaming media, but we’re adding more general gaming and even portals like Yahoo!” he said.
“We need to expand,” he continued, “because if we’re going to go beyond 300,000 subscribers, we can’t just do that with hardcore gamers.”
CCP has also engaged IBM and Microsoft in talks about how to handle the anticipated influx of new users. Unlike most other MMOG companies that use “shards” to handle high subscriber numbers, EVE Online is run off a single server. “IBM has been really good at working with us and getting us the latest hardware,” Bergsson said. “It’s been great working with them.”
With approximately 160,000 subscribers, EVE Online doesn’t approach huge World of Warcraft-style numbers, but CCP is nonetheless “extremely profitable,” according to Bergsson. Released in 2003, this is the first major marketing push in the game’s history. If the company meets its subscription target, it will give EVE Online a greater population than that of Iceland, the nation in which CCP is based.