GDC: EVE Online multiplayer space game is Macbound

At this week’s Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, Calif., CCP Games confirmed they would be bringing EVE Online to Intel-equipped Macs. The company is working with Cider developer TransGaming Technologies.

CCP Games calls EVE Online the world’s largest game universe. It’s a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) set in outer space. The service currently has over 160,000 active subscriptions — more than 34,000 thousand players have been online at once.

Players encounter a new online universe where the setting is the distant universe, and mankind has migrated to the stars. Different factions control various regions of space.

The world of EVE Online is very open-ended. Players pilot their own spacecraft, customizing them or trading up as they can. Players can participate in a variety of activities from mining to fighting, manufacturing to trade, transport of goods, even piracy.

“We’ve been talking with TransGaming for quite some time,” said Magnus Bergsson, Chief Marketing Officer of CCP Games.

“We’ve thought that EVE would be good for the Mac because it fits kind of within the Mac style,” said Bergsson. “It’s got a different style to other MMO’s.”

CCP’s model for Mac support is different than Sony’s was when it brought Everquest to the Mac, a once-popular MMO. Mac users will have full parity with the PC version when it’s released — EVE Online populates a supercomputing system set up in London, so all players are part of the same, peristent online world.

As EVE Online is using TransGaming’s Cider technology to come to the Macintosh, it will only run on Intel-based Macs. Cider is software that works as a wrapper around a Windows game, providing the necessary information for that Windows game to work with the Mac’s hardware.

Cider is a very different approach than in the past, where Mac game publishers have created games by converting their code to run natively on the Mac.

So far, TransGaming’s Cider has been used to bring Heroes of Might & Magic V forth from Freeverse Software, and is also being used by Gametap to bring Myst Online: Uru Live to the Mac. Transgaming hopes eventually to migrate to a same-day release model, where companies that license Cider are able to offer same-day Mac and PC releases.

EVE Online costs $14.95 per month to play, with a free downloadable version available. It is currently only available for Windows. More details, including system requirements, are expected to be forthcoming.

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