The other game coming out and the threat of the vaporware will positively affect avatar play.
The other games could have an effect on the rate of new player acquisition and retention. Our vets or even newer players that have already found something enjoyable about Eve are not likely to run out and quit Eve just because of these other games. Eve players never leave. They just take breaks. And more than likely people will play both games, playing Elite while ship spinning.
The main problem is that new players expect to be able to do something with the awesome Avatars they have created. It’s kind of a shocker for new players to learn that you are just a ship. Ever since the captains quarters came out the situation strikes them as kind of odd. Usually the forum posts about WiS are from newer players wanting it and then getting a bunch of responses from Vets calling them crazy for wanting it and then the threads getting promptly locked for being redundant.
I predict that the other games coming out will basically change the player attitude in Eve away from the cynical ‘Eve is just spaceships’ and ancient ‘the game is broke, fix what’s broke before you innovate’ ideas that have been around forever that don’t make any sense anymore. I’ve actually started seeing posts from vets on the forums that are kind of excited about SC and Elite having or promising to have avatar play and wishing Eve would have it too. CCP’s utter abandonment of avatar play came from the extremely negative and cynical reaction to it from the players. (I know micro transactions were at the heart of incarna’s problem, but let’s not derail the thread into a conversation about Incarna – we have to acknowledge that there was negative reaction to the CQ.) When these features come out in other games the Eve players will start wanting it for Eve and it will eventually happen.
However, Avatar play is a very resource intensive addition and CCP is already bleeding employees (at least from Eve – Valkyrie seems to be hiring people) and struggling to grow (Eve isn’t dying. In fact it’s growing. Just too slow for comfort).
Ultimately, I am certain that Avatar play will be back on the map although I think it will be a couple years down the pipe and integrated with Legion. We still have the big sov fix before us, gameplay fixes and improvements, and the carrot of the player-built star gates, which could be anything from a new structure to an utter change in the Eve universe.
Anyway, when the WiS posts come up I am always excited to post and reply that I want it too. But I am certain this is what will come about. However, I encourage more posts about WiS and particularly more posts about WiS from veteran players who may have been originally opposed to it before but after contemplating SC and Elite may have changed their tune. Let’s keep posting and get CCP thinking. Previously the WiS advocates were pigeon-holed ad a bunch of noobs and role-players. Let’s try to let CCP know that WiS is something that a lot of players would actually like and that they should have in mind as they develop Legion.