They actually did it: EVE Online becomes the first videogame with Microsoft Excel integration

A spaceship flying towards the Excel logo.
(Image credit: CCP / Microsoft)

Those lunatics in Reykjavik have only gone and done it. EVE Online developer CCP games has always had an element of self-knowledge about it, and a unique relationship with its community, who love and loathe EVE with a life-overtaking ardour. One of the long-running gags about the game is that it's really just "spreadsheets in space" and, after announcing the collaboration a while ago, EVE Online has, 20 years after release, become the first videogame to seamlessly integrate Microsoft Excel, the world's favourite spreadsheet software.

Excel is now a free add-on for EVE Online, and "enables you to effortlessly access and analyze your in-game data across all your accounts and characters". On the latter point, I was a non-serious EVE player and had multiple accounts and characters across them, so you can imagine just how much data the big boys are tracking. Once imported Excel will allow you to "create custom reports, graphs, and charts to gain deep insights into your in-game activities, track your progress, and strategize your next steps".

Any EVE player knows exactly what that means. Get ready for the corporate presentations! When I flew there was one wing commander who'd occasionally take a squad out, check our ship fits thoroughly, and make us all do roll call like a school assembly before the first warp: imagine what such a mind will do with this power.

CCP says, somewhat optimistically, that this new tool "brings added fairness and accessibility to everyone". And it really is a first, don't take my word for it:

"CCP Games has extensive experience in the MMO space, so it’s only natural that we collaborate with them to launch the first-ever native Microsoft Excel add-in for a video game," said Catherine Pidgeon, Microsoft's head of product for Excel. "We’re excited to see how players of EVE Online of all skill levels can use Excel to streamline data management and take their in-game experience to new heights."

So if you want to, ahem, "become the data driven capsuleer you never knew you needed to be" the EVE Excel add-on is available now. It tracks various in-game data including your assets with location and item value, market orders, item market prices, wallet transactions, skills, and if you have the appropriate roles integrates with corporation finances. There is even, amazingly, a sample workbook on CCP's site for wannabe space accountants to get started, an EVE Academy guide to using Excel, and a new topic on the EVE Help Centre about it.

Wait till the spies get their noggins around this one. Well, I suppose at a single stroke this kills every "spreadsheets in space" joke stone-dead, and is a pretty tremendous example of owning and leaning into your game's foibles. You just know it won't be long before some nerd works out an obscure trick that lets them bankrupt a corporation with this and, as part of EVE's ongoing 20th anniversary, there are few more fitting birthday presents. 

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."