Speaking at the Games Convention in Leipzig, EVE Online economist Dr. Eyjolfur Gudmundsson suggested that the game's 245,000 players drive its development and innovation even more than the team at CCP does. That could be construed as populist pandering, for sure, but Gudmundsson -- who was addressing a room full of game developers -- dedicated most of his talk to the notion of "unleashing the power of players."
He pointed to the Council of Stellar Management -- a democratically-elected group that represents the player-base in meetings with CCP -- and the player-driven open market that manages itself in accordance with real-world principles of economics as examples of the communal direction in action.
This is a notably different mentality than that found in World of Warcraft and similar games which dispense carefully constructed experiences to the players from the developers at the top. EVE stirs an open ended pot of players to cook up gameplay experiences. Godmundsson is talking up the open approach, but both methods arguably have their own special strengths and pitfalls.