During the keynote of this weekend’s EVE Fanfest convention in Reykjavik, Iceland, EVE Online creative director Bergur Finnbogason previewed an upcoming collaboration between the spacefaring MMO and Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet program in front of a crowd of dedicated fans. They ate it up.
EVE Online diehards often joke that the complicated game is essentially “spreadsheets in space” due to the massive amounts of data one must contend with to play it seriously. So when Finnbogason took the stage at EVE Fanfest this morning and clicked over to a slide introducing developer CCP Games’ partnership with Microsoft Excel, the official Twitch stream picked up sensible chuckles from the audience.
But that laughter soon turned to applause when he showed exactly what they have in store.
Mirroring goals laid out in other parts of the keynote, Finnbogason explained that his team is interested in bridging the knowledge and budget gaps between new players and those who’ve played EVE Online long enough to establish corporations and alliances within its vast universe.
“Data is massively important to many advanced playstyles in EVE, and by simplifying the access to data for all, we will level the playground when it comes to the tools of the sandbox,” Finnbogason said. “With Microsoft, we’re building an extension that will allow players to lock in and pull data directly into Excel.”
“It’s not April Fools,” Finnbogason added as a prototype demo played out behind him, just to make sure the crowd understood this wasn’t an elaborate prank. “This is real.”
The implications of this Excel collaboration are huge. While the built-in tool won’t suddenly make day-old EVE Online players as experienced or knowledgeable as its most dedicated spacefarers, being on even footing when it comes to collating, managing, and comparing data should go a long way toward making sure newcomers don’t burn out when the economic realities of the game start piling up.
EVE Online’s Excel extension is still early in development, but CCP Games plans to share more later this year.