New Eden may not be pulling in numbers like Azeroth, but I’m fairly certain it’s sustainable for now.
I don’t know what it costs CCP to keep the stars lit for EVE Online, but apparently the income is bigger than the expenses. I would imagine it’s more difficult for Blizzard to develop new content than it is for CCP, because of the game styles.
It would be fairly easy to recreate any one scene from CCP. Start with an HDR for the starlit background, throw in some ship models, add a few animation effects, and render. I’m not saying it’s that easy for the artists at CCP, but the resources necessary to implement EVE are a lot easier than for something like WoW.
Those simpler elements translate to less of an expenditure for CCP, and that means they don’t need millions of players in order to keep doing what they’re doing. If Blizzard’s player base shrank below a million, I imagine they’d cue up the funeral dirge for WoW.
CCP is at least optimistic about the future of New Eden, as they’ve committed to aesthetic updates, and they haven’t shown any signs of cutting back. They probably could cut dozens of systems that are rarely–if ever–used, and I imagine we’d see that sort of thing if CCP was nervous.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints from PvPers about the combat aspects of the game, but most of what I’ve heard has been complaints that the game has changed, not that PvP in its entirety is now impossible.
In other words, people whine that the game is different, with accusations that such and such change has “ruined” the game. The same thing happens whenever Facebook changes the profile layout; they went from square portraits to round ones and you’d have thought somebody had shot the Pope the way people reacted.
Also, 99.9% of the people who complained still use Facebook, just like a lot of the players who whine about “X ruined Y in EVE” will still play, at least for a while.
I’m confident that EVE and CCP will be around for a while, and it’s sustainable for the time being.