Back in 2003, the Xbox, Playstation 2, and GameCube still reigned supreme as gaming platforms. Top games of the year included The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Also launched that year was a multiplayer science fiction game called EVE Online in which players represent one of five factions battling for control of space colonies in New Eden, a region of space long ago cut off from Earth. Subscribers use real-world currency to purchase playing time and in-game items.
The game grew over time, reaching 200,000 subscribers in 2008 and 500,000 in 2013. One of the game's most significant events occurred in 2014 with a massive battle over control of the B-R5RB system. More than 7,500 players participated in the battle, with losses estimated around $300,000 of in-game resources.
Since that battle, however, subscriber activity has been generally declining. Financial reports for 2016 suggested a drop in subscriber numbers to 2009 levels. Activity on the game's Tranquility server suggests, as of June 2017, a drop in player activity to 2006 levels.
Reasons for the drop are debated but likely include a mix of rule changes within the game environment combined with external pressures such as the presence of other similar games, an aging player base, and the lack of a "wow" moment for the game.
Will EVE Online cease operations by the end of 2019?
This question will resolve as positive if EVE Online is no longer available to play as a MMORPG on December 31, 2019.