The players of EVE Online are known for their dedication, Especially in what can be a rather complicated learning curve for new players (something the CCP team recently overhauled to improve and help lower the on ramps) there’s also room for research and collaboration. Recently, a report about citizen science and COVID-19 research, shines a spotlight on the potential for using the technology for good.
A Swiss company called Massively Multiplayer Online Science works to connect researchers with games. CCP decided to allow participation as long as it fit aesthetically and thematically within EVE Online. As noted in a Wired article from last month, players are able to help the science teams study the effects of COVID-19 on the human immune system by performing analysis tasks on blood testing data from infected people to find these markers. The COVID-19 minigame features analysis tasks that rely on participation and collective consensus and has been going on since June 2020.
For those that choose to participate, they’re shown data from blood testing of infected COVID-19 patients and have to mark the cell clusters that show disease. Multiple players work on the same data so that there’s a greater chance of consensus in observation. Once the research team verifies and looks over the collective data, they send it back into the game for the players to check specific spots that the scientists want a closer look at. By helping in this way, EVE Online players are also helping to train AI to do this kind of work better in the future too.
There is no end date for the COVID-19 research mini game. With many EVE Online players being veterans that know the ins and outs very well, this offers them something new they can spend their time on and also contribute to something greater.