EVE Online passes 500,000 subs, teases plans for the Second Decade of the space-faring MMO

CCP Games today announces that their epic ships-n-stats sci-fi MMO has soared past the 500,000 subscriber mark, filling the interstellar skies with an ever-growing number of ruthlessly Machiavellian space-bastards for a tenth year running.

EVE looked a little wobbly a while back with a full-on rebellion among its players, dismayed at the apparent disinterest of the developers, typified by the introduction of ludicrously expensive microtransactions . Since then, CCP bosses have expressed contrition and devoted themselves to recovering the good will of their audience. On a conference call yesterday, a tremendously bearded Hilmar Veigar Pétursson said that the surge in numbers was evenly split between new players and returning players, and driven by the game's relaunch in China and the release of the free Retribution expansion, back in December.

Meanwhile, the awesome scenes of gigantic player-driven events, like the Battle of Asakai , have drawn a lot of attention. In fact, Hilmar said these sorts of events were the game's best advertisements - chief marketing officer, David Reid was himself inspired to join CCP when he read about the operatives of the Guiding Hand Social Club in an article by PC Gamer's very own Tom Francis: Murder Incorporated . The cross-platform integration with Dust 514 has also helped drag some gamers away from their consoles and into the larger, more sophisticated EVE universe, and the game's profile at large has increased thanks to its induction into MOMA's collection of videogames.

As for the future, Hilmar said that sandbox would certainly continue to expand - as it has with the addition of new territories accessible through wormholes - but also that they were looking to grow the game inwards: "There are lot of things within the solar systems that are yet to be explored." Hilmar also alluded to some distant future event which would truly unify the game worlds of Dust 514 and EVE Online.

The late April EVE fanfest will kick-off a year long celebration of the game's second decade. What this celebration will entail remains vague, but David Reid pledged that it would go off with a bang: "We haven't even shown you our best work yet."

As Hilmar then rejoined: "EVE will outlive us all."