Header art by AnuranonthecoucH
CCP has recently announced a time limited test for a new service called EVE Anywhere that will allow EVE Online to be played on any browser using a cloud based service. The test is currently open to US players only. Omega players will get access for the duration of the test while Alphas will get their first session for free. Details are still unclear as to whether this service, once live, will have an additional cost.
During the beginning of September of last year, CCP released a development blog announcing that they were working on a project to bring EVE Online to a web browser as a way to make the game more accessible, by removing the requirement of downloading a client. What has been missing from this story is that it has been possible to play EVE on a browser (Chrome and Safari for iOS) since February of 2020, when Nvidia’s GeForce Now (GFN) streaming service added EVE Online to their game library.
I do not mean to suggest any deliberate cover up by CCP, but the ability to play EVE Online, natively on a browser, has been a reality for quite some time. Since GFN allows gamers to play from their STEAM library, this method of playing EVE has been around for even longer. As of February though, one does not need STEAM to play EVE on GFN, just a Google Chrome browser and an internet connection of at least 15 Mbps. Yet, CCP did not think to market their game to a new user base, as well as its current one. The topic of EVE on a web browser been brought up on the forums more than once, along with the possibility of eventually bringing the game onto Stadia run by Google.
I do think it was much better that EVE was brought to GFN. For those who may be unfamiliar with GFN, it is a cloud gaming service run by Nvidia, a company known more for its graphics cards than its other services. The streaming service was initially developed in 2014 for its Shield handheld and tablet, with a limited game library. That would eventually grow into what is now known as GFN. It would take a few years and several iterations of product before GFN officially launched on February of 2020. A full timeline of the product’s development can be found here. Currently Geforce Now is available in 71 countries and has roughly has a concurrent user base of 5 million users, a 500% increase since its launch. This user base is much more than the current users of Stadia, which is estimated to be around 2 million.
If CCP was able to get even a small percentage of those users to play EVE, server numbers would be at 2010-2013 levels. Unlike Stadia, which requires a credit card for sign up, Geforce Now allows players to create a free account without providing any payment information. Free account players can play up to one hour sessions at a time, though wait times for servers may vary. Founders membership, which is currently around 24 USD for six months, grants extended play sessions up to 6 hours in length, as well as RTX tracing graphics capabilities along with priority access, which means no server queues. Unfortunately, the $5 per month membership option is not offered at this time. Unlike EVE Anywhere at this time, one does not need to have Omega status to play EVE using GFN. You also aren’t restricted to 90 minute play session until you have to download the client. It is currently available on the following platforms: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Shield TV, Chromebook devices, and LG TVs running Web OS, which will be launched in 2021. Xbox X is also going to be getting access to GFN in the near future.
It’s Working . . . .
To test the performance of the two platforms, I ran EVE Online using Geforce Now and EVE Anywhere on my Chrome browser doing a mission and Abyssal site. Performance was smooth on both though GeForce Now has a slight dip in graphics quality compared to EVE Anywhere. Multiboxing doesn’t look viable at this point since both require a full screen window. A final but important note: EVE’s mobile counterpart, Echoes, has seen a decrease in popularity due to the response to the new insurance system. Leveraging GFN’s multi-platform capability could be of interest to disgruntled Echoes players who are interested in trying EVE Online, but lack the funds to buy a full PC gaming computer. (Authors note: While I was able to use BlueStacks Emulator to play EVE Online using GFN, though it clearly would work better using a tablet with a USB mouse, I was unable to produce the same results when trying EVE Anywhere using any of the browser apps.) What becomes of EVE Anywhere, and whether CCP is willing to promote EVE Online through an existing browser gaming service, remains a question which will hopefully be answered in the future. INN will keep you updated.