On May 6th 2003, a little online space game by a relatively unknown independent Icelandic games company was officially released. Fast forward seven years down the line and that little company is a megalithic giant in the games industry. Spanning four countries and leveraging hundreds of staff, the company has begun to expand its portfolio with a console MMOFPS and a new MMO based in the World of Darkness setting. Under CCP's development, EVE Online has stood the test of time and enjoyed a steady increase in subscriptions. At EVE's sixth anniversary last year, they announced having reached 300,000 active subscriptions with a peak concurrent user total of 53,850. Some time in December of last year, the number of EVE subscriptions finally surpassed the number of citizens in CCP's home country of Iceland. That number rose to 330,000 active subscriptions by March of this year, with a peak concurrent total of 56,021. With the Tyrannis expansion around the corner, EVE is sure to see the same characteristic growth this year too.

CCP took the time to start a congratulatory thread on the EVE forums to mark the day. To celebrate, they're also donating massive prizes to EVE's oldest and most respected player-run lottery. The BIG lottery's anniversary draw is open now for entry and closes on Sunday, May 16th, with a live prize drawing the following day. The first place winner takes home a colossal 25 billion ISK prize, with the second place reeling in a huge 10 billion ISK. CCP is sponsoring prizes of a year's free game time, a battleship model from the EVE store, a copy of the new EVE: The Burning Life novel and an EVE T-Shirt. Not to be left out, E-ON Magazine is offering the latest four issues of the magazine plus a copy of their EVE Strategic Map booklet. Finally, EVE player "Ash Tre" is sponsoring the contest with a pack of faction cruisers. From all of us here at Massively, happy birthday EVE Online!

This article was originally published on Massively.