Earlier this week EVE Online announced that the long-running space MMO was going to be playable in a browser window, bringing the game to players in a new way. While still in Beta, I checked out the experience this week and came away pretty impressed, at least when it worked.
EVE Anywhere lets players on Safari, Edge, Chrome or Firefox browsers log into their EVE accounts and jump into the world of New Eden without downloading a game client. It's similar to how what eventually became Google Stadia was introduced a few years ago, with Assassin's Creed Odyssey being easily accessible through a browser window. Now that is nothing new with Stadia and other cloud services on offer, however it's always intriguing seeing new games, and game genres embrace technology like this.
Logging into the EVE Online website will prompt a "Play In Browser" button if your account qualifies. Currently the Beta is available to Omega pilots in the USA and new players, EVE Anywhere provides a 1080p resolution feed with 60fps gameplay.
EVE Online itself isn't a super demanding game. It can be when a ton of players are in an area together (like one of the various massive battles that make up EVE's war history) but for most players getting a good resolution and framerate isn't that hard. However, what EVE Anywhere does is open the potential to players who may not necessarily have hard to play the game natively, or those who want to get their EVE Online fix when on a non-gaming rig.
For me, personally, the fact that I was able to log into EVE Online through a Chrome browser while working during the day meant I wasn't having to run a Steam or game client, rather I could just bop back and forth between a browser window while traveling between my lowsec station to Hek, as well as during mining operations. However, it's not completely smooth sailing.
For someone like me, 1080p isn't enough anymore. Having played EVE mostly at 4K, the downgrade in resolution was noticeable, especially since I was still sitting infront of said 4K screen. The latency wasn't noticeable, though I was doing some pretty mundane activities. How will the connection keep up during a massive battle, or a particularly hectic section of Abyssal Deadspace? That'll obviously be more of a case-by-case basis with a person's connection itself, but it's still worth looking at if the beta turns into something more long-term.
From today, a greater number of pilots have the opportunity to join a time-limited test of a cloud-based platform that allows a fully-featured #EVEonline to be played in-browser, instantly.https://t.co/rSwAvApXLH— EVE Online (@EveOnline) March 15, 2021
It didn't always work, either, as well, which is something to keep in mind when trying it out for yourself. The first two days I tried to launch EVE Anywhere, it simply would put me back at the MMO's homepage. However, when it does work, it is really, really cool to be able to interact with my EVE friends and then easily swap back to an email or video without needing to minimize or resize a game client.
EVE Anywhere also makes me wonder if something like this will ever come to mobile. Will we see both EVE Echoes and a way to play EVE Online proper via a cloud-based app like Stadia or another cloud gaming service? There is tons of potential here in terms of getting the MMO onto new screens as well as in front of new players, something that CCP has been trying to ramp up for years. Indeed, EVE Online stated themselves that by giving new players access to Anywhere during their initial early tests, they saw players staying in New Eden for longer periods of time, even going so far as to say that they converted into long-term capsuleers. So there is potential here to grow the MMO beyond the current core playerbase.
For myself, I'm going to continue playing EVE both in thebrowser and in the client. The extra way to play doesn't hurt anything, and for a rig like a Chromebook or something not necessarily gaming related I use on occassion, it's the good way to intereact with my fellow capsuleers without needing a download...assuming it connects that next time.