EVE Online, known as the most robust player-driven persistent online world in gaming (by people who actually play it) and “that space game with all the spreadsheets” (by people who don’t), is getting a new tool for players today. But it’s not new worlds to explore or rebalanced ship stats, it’s integration with the very real Microsoft Excel desktop and web program. The spaceships might be pretend, but the spreadsheets are now very real.
EVE developer CCP Games announced the partnership with Microsoft back in January, originally planning to launch Excel integration last month. But it’s live in today’s Viridian game update, accessible via the official EVE Online add-in for Excel. Players can export data from the game directly to Excel — you don’t even need an Office 365 subscription, assuming you only want the data output.
“By unleashing the full potential of Excel’s robust analysis and visualization tools, players can gain deep insights into their in-game activities, track their progress, and strategize their next steps,” says the official press release, with no hint of irony.
We can poke fun all we want, but EVE Online is one of the most long-running online games in history, celebrating its 20th anniversary last month and boasting hundreds of thousands of active players. They’re drawn to the game’s deep skill system, complex economies, and wide-open roleplaying. These let players participate in simulated corporations, organized crime, and massive universe-shaking wars, all perfectly allowed within the game’s systems.
EVE’s minute-to-minute gameplay doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it generates some of the most interesting stories of player activity ever, like a Hollywood-style heist of an entire player corp’s assets worth thousands of real-world dollars, or a team of hitmen who spent a year hunting down one of the game’s most powerful players for a contract assassination. With players so obsessed with the minutia of their in-game characters and assets, it’s no wonder that using real-world analytical tools like Excel would have its own appeal.