One of the strengths of the sandbox game EVE Online is its player-driven economy, which developer CCP Games monitors through a small team of researchers headed up by Lead Economist Dr. Eyjólfur Guðmundsson (aka CCP Dr.EyjoG). They observe all manner of player interactions and sift through a tremendous amount of data to track how EVE Online's economy changes over time. Their findings are presented to the playerbase (or to anyone curious about virtual economies) in the form of Quarterly Economic Newsletters (QEN). CCP released the 3rd Quarter 2009 report this week, which gives us a look at player demographics and the most popular ships flown by those players. (It's interesting to note that the most popular ship in the game is now the Hulk, a mining vessel which has usurped the Raven battleship as EVE's most flown ship, while Black Ops battleships are EVE's least flown ships.)
This latest QEN also gives various price indices and Market Snapshots, which chart the volumes of a number of popular items traded on the open market. CCP also shows the impact "Operation: Unholy Rage" -- their anti-RMT initiative -- has had on EVE Online's economy with over 18,000 (paying) accounts banned to date. Dr.EyjoG writes, "Unholy Rage taught us a great deal about RMT operations in EVE. We now have a much clearer picture of the extent of operations and the tools and methods they use."