I was fascinated to see this graphical analysis of the age of players in EVE Online over the last 11 years, published by CCP Quant:
I began playing EVE Online in the summer of 2009, so I started contributing to the above data lines more than five years ago. I suspect that my relatively advanced number of years in Real Life helped to extend the long tail distribution towards the elder end of the age spectrum.
In game age, my character is about half as old as the initial, brave pioneers who first began to fly in New Eden. I'm impressed that so many players have stuck with the game for more than a decade - those who appear in the bars further down the extended stretch of older players on the right side of curve. It's a tribute to EVE Online that a die-hard contingent continues to endure and adapt to the ever-changing and growing mechanics of life in New Eden.
Grateful for Bittervets
One YouTube commenter on this bit of graph-porn intoned cynically that this shows that EVE Online caters only to veteran players who dominate the game, but that is a gross misunderstanding of what the curve represents. If that was true, then the median of the distribution would track further to the right and at greater velocity as the entire game ages. Instead, it migrates rather slowly as more players enter the game each year - and as players across the entire distribution drop out for one reason or another.
The shape and shift of the graph curve does not surprise me. I have observed before that the average age of EVE Online players seems to be significantly higher than the usual MMO. Indeed, after trying other multi-player online games, especially that well-known ultra-popular theme park fantasy game, I have found a much more pleasant home among my fellow capsuleers. The camaraderie and generally rational level of conversations and chats I have with EVE Online players contrast starkly to the hormone-drenched adolescent blathering and expletive-filled teenage tirades I have endured in other games targeted at a decidedly younger audience.
Imagine if Blizzard tried to make a promotional video for World of Warcraft, based on in-game player comms in the style of the recent "This is EVE" video. Actually, on second thought, that might be so pathetic, it could be very funny.
To those who urge CCP Games to recruit a much younger audience into EVE Online, I say: no, thank you - I'll gladly take my older and more serious capsuleer-mates in New Eden any day.
The Next 15 Years
Personally, the most interesting parts of the age distribution curve are the short bars on the far right. In Real Life, I'm now 55 years old, so I'm well over the median - in fact, I'm more than the 95th percentile in age, compared to the rest of the population of EVE Online players. I'm now planning my retirement years, and wondering how I'll be occupying my time a decade from now. I see the smattering of players on that age distribution curve stretching up to the mid-70's - and even a few players beyond that - and I smile, because I can easily see myself running a POS or two, evading pirates in low-sec, and flying in fleet ops at that advanced age, and still having a blast.
I now have a new goal - to one day be the oldest living EVE Online player. I wonder what the curve will look like then?
Fly safe! o7