In a world… where nobody has ever heard of EVE Online
Where do these people come from?
Around 2008 when the SyFy channel was displaying this ad spot, you can see a jump in player rates. See the below EVE-Offline.net snapshot.
This jump more than likely was from new eyes seeing the world of New Eden for the first time. A few years later, in 2010 and 2011, as video game streaming started to take off and showing large battles with thousands of players live, player count again spiked. Every EVE blogger and news site was talking about these battles, but more importantly so were major non-gaming news outlets that headlined articles about large scale corporate theft, the announcement of Dust 514, and the famed Monocle-Gate scandal. All of those incidents made real headlines at a time when the story-line was really taking off and new content was coming out in major releases.
In 2012, the community mourned the loss of an influential player, Vile Rat. Known out-of-game as Sean Smith, a US State Department official, killed in the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Again, EVE online was in the news, albeit for a tragedy, and there was another spike in the number of active users.