Jumpgate Evolution:
This sequel has been long-awaited by fans of the original 2001 MMO "Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative". It has a flashy, colourful look with sleek ship designs and stunning planetary graphics. As more information comes to light on Jumpgate Evolution's gameplay, it's becoming clear that it's nothing like EVE Online. Their designs make heavy use of sharding and instancing, with plans including battleground instances and separate PvP servers. Players of the original Jumpgate MMO recant good experiences and are looking forward to JGE's launch but in my opinion the game is dissimilar enough from EVE that it won't provide a lot of competition. Like with Black Prophecy, it's more likely to draw in players that wouldn't be interested in EVE or that tried it and could never really get into it.

Star Wars: The Old Republic:
The Star Wars franchise is a powerful brand with millions of loyal fans worldwide. Based on the huge number of players that joined Star Wars Galaxies at release, I think it's safe to say that Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to see a huge influx of players at launch. The question here is whether or not the game is good enough to hold onto those players. As happened with World of Warcraft's release, a new Star Wars MMO has the potential to pull hoards of new players into the MMO market. But if the game isn't good enough to hold them, those players may look at competing games for an alternative. Little is known about the in-space elements of this game and the target audience, making the effect of this game's release on EVE Online difficult to judge. As the majority of gameplay seen so far revolves around first-person activities, it's likely that this game will not be directly competing with EVE.

Star Trek Online:
On top of being set in the popular Star Trek universe, Star Trek Online boasts impressive visuals and character customisation. Although the player can directly control their ship in STO, players will also be able to lead away missions down to various planets and conflicts inside the ship are a distinct possibility. This is gameplay that currently isn't possible in EVE and has a very high potential for success, giving STO another unique angle on the sci-fi MMO market. Like the Star Wars licence, the Star Trek brand has a worldwide following of millions. It has the potential to pull a large number of current gamers into the sci-fi MMO market and EVE could potentially absorb any that decide STO isn't the game for them. If STO's player retention rate turns out to be lower than EVE Online's, there's a good chance EVE will see a small player boom a few months after the game's release. As a massive Star Trek fan, I'm really hoping that the gameplay in STO lives up to expectations. I fully intend to play both this and EVE at the same time as both games promise to offer very different gameplay styles.

Summary:
While all of the new sci-fi themes MMOs hitting the market are clearly competing with each other, it's not yet clear whether they're competing directly with EVE Online. At the moment it seems none of these games are emulating EVE's main unique selling points and many of them will be bringing in new players to the market rather than competing for current ones. Could EVE Online remain largely isolated from the wave of competition inbound to the sci-fi market or will players leave in droves for greener pastures? I for one will be keeping a close eye on the sci-fi scene with a cautious optimism and plan to give each of these games a thorough test-drive at release.

Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com. Set phasers to phun!

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