He acknowledged the rough few months CCP has had this summer and that they have to grow up as a company. He compared CCP to Radiohead, in the sense that both groups have evolved and not everybody can stay on board with the changes. EVE isn’t the game from 2003 anymore, and the game we’ll see five years from now will be different still.Again, this smells suspiciously like microtransactions that go beyond the scope of vanity-only.
-- CCP Soundwave as paraphrased by Ecliptic Rift
The gaming industry has been moving towards microtransactional gameplay for the last few years. Baby steps. First it was vanity only. Then convenience for real money was sold (things like bigger backpacks, more character slots, etc.) Finally, a few games are now experimenting successfully with play-to-win items being sold. It's no real surprise that CCP would want in on some of this action.
The problem, though, is that CCP's current demographic is at least a decade older than the average console and STEAM subscriber (where most microtransactional gameplay exists.) Thus, there is a very strong resistance to such a model (beyond vanity-only) being introduced into EVE Online. And to do so, might take the company down.
CCP wants a robust microtransactional system. They also want to minimise the risk of losing a majority of their playerbase. CCP needs to attract a younger audience. An audience familiar with the model. An audience not quite so resistant to the idea that some items are better than others, and those better items need to be purchased with real money.
This is where DUST 514 comes in. It has all the ingredients to attract that coveted younger demographic. It's a console game. It's a first-person shooter. It is an MMO.
If DUST 514 is a success, and if it can attract a good proportion of those new and younger players into EVE Online, then this will be the impetus for change. This will give CCP the license to go full-on Radiohead. Exchange older, resistant players for younger, accepting players.
A good part of me hopes DUST 514 fails abysmally. That CCP goes back to doing what it does best. Internet Spaceships. That they can be content at being that small, but well-respected, company. That they can be content earning a good living, but not an extravagant living.
Being bigger does not mean being better.