For years I wanted to share this story with CCP Seagull as a caveat of what can go wrong with custoemr oriented design and why it mattered to the Rubicon plan. Here it goes now.
A public library in a middle sized city had started a trainer program to teach computer use to the people. “Computer alphabetization” was the name and it had good success, enough that the library attracted extra funding to further the program. After asking people who had taken the program, the library developed a series of advanced programs to teach the use of software like Office, Photoshop and such. Yet after the first year, those programs were underperforming compared to the trainer program, and the additional funding was at risk to not be renewed.
Then someone who wasn’t in the decission loop talked to someone who was in the loop, and thus the decission makers learned of a demographic who wanted to take the trainer program, but couldn’t because of the times where the lessons were given. Thus, the worse underperforming avanced programs were cut and a second trainer program started at a different time of day, and it had a lot more success.
Morale is, based on people who had enjoyed the trainer program (their customers), the library undertook a bad investment of public funding as the advanced courses weren’t that much appealing, no matter what the people said after taking the trainer program. It was the intervention of someone out of the loop, delivering a stranger’s viewpoint, what made them realize they had under their noses a unnoticed large demographic in need of the trainer program which was being prevented to take it by the times when it was given.
EVE Online just went in a similar direction when CCP decided to focus on the very satisfied hardcore customers and give up on solo casuals.
Maybe stuff like highsec and mission agents don’t bring headlines nor make people travel to Iceland just to say hello, but the sheer numbers of people who were paying CCP for that stuff provided all the monetization CCP is lacking now when population has dwindled (and keeps dwindling).
CCP chose to keep quality customers versus keeping a quantity of customers. They lost in the bargain.