I’ve heard it said recently that we, the players of EVE, are the content, and although I agree up to a point, I don’t think that’s the whole answer. I don’t think it can be. Yes, what we do creates stories, fuels the economy, and populates the world with stuff to buy and people to shoot at and be shot by. Then there’s the meta, which a number of us contribute to every day in one form or another.
It’s an IT corporate downsizer’s wet dream to let the users do all the work. Yay, just have some tech support people and sysadmins and a few devs, and we never have to write anything. The customers make it all up.
And that’s great, if you have world class creative people cranking out your content for free and logging in faithfully for years on end to keep the engine going and fuel interest in your product. That’s the case whether your product is a game or a magazine or some other source of content.
Although we do have some great content creators in the EVE player community, there are too few of them to carry the world on their own. And people burn out all the time, so CCP can’t depend on a solid core of GOOD content creators sticking around and propping things up forever.
I think the best combination is a balance between CCP-created assets and community-driven ones, and the holy grail is when those two dovetail together in cool ways, perhaps even in directions neither side would’ve predicted. CCP can’t let the garden completely tend itself, and I can’t imagine they will. They seem to be investing more in world-building lately, and I think that’s great news for all of us.
EVE’s never going to turn into a theme park, but it can’t go pure sandbox with nobody at the wheel, either. I think its most optimal condition is a cleverly curated sandbox, a garden where someone regularly yanks out the weeds and plants new rows of stuff we haven’t seen before.