Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Retention in Second Life and Eve Online

Of course, the tens of thousands of experienced EVE Online pilots didn't start out like that. They all started as a rookie, piloting their first fragile frigate ship through the insecure depths of space. Yet they managed to get through the first days and weeks, they managed to acquire the necessary skills and the money to buy better ships, they found a corporation and decided to stay. These first steps are notoriously hard; EVE Online has a reputation for having a steep learning curve for newbie pilots. Especially without the help of more experienced pilots, conquering EVE can be a daunting task.

SL retention
We know that the retention rate for Second Life is about one in ten, meaning that about ten percent of all newly created accounts will become active members of the SL community; the rest will not. In other words, nine out of ten people who try SL decide not to stay in world, even though it costs nothing. Linden Labs has been trying to get this percentage up, for instance by changing the welcome islands, by trying out a new welcome page. It's even one of the top 'strategic initiatives' of M Linden's End of Year blog post.

Eve Online retention
I think the retention rate for EVE Online may even be lower than one out of ten, given the steep learning curve mentioned earlier. Also a factor is that EVE Online doesn't know free accounts. There's a 14 day trial; but after that you need to pay for your game time, somewhere between 11 to 15 Euro a month depending on your subscription plan. That may be asking quite a bit. Yet, googling around for hard data, there's plenty indications that EVE has a high retention rate, and there is data from the 2003-2006 timeframe that suggests that retention amongst the first EVE pilots was quite high at the time. But, I haven't found hard data concerning the retention rate amongst trial accounts in, say, 2007 or 2008. If anyone has it, I'd appreciate it.

Making the most..
Luckily for rookie pilots, help's on the way. Massively just published a nice EVE Online newbie guide: EVE Evolved: Making the most of your EVE Online free trial. It contains some useful advice; stuff I'd like to have known when I was a rookie pilot. If you want to check out EVE Online, reading this guide would be a good start. A trial account is available by clicking on the banner to the left!

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