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Microsoft Excel is dipping its toes into gaming with EVE Online

EVE Online with Excel
EVE Online with Excel (Image credit: CCP)

EVE Online is a somewhat legendary spacefaring MMO where players build, manage, trade, and battle colossal space fleets in a continuous dedicated server world. EVE Online is known for its daunting complexity, and has often been described as "spreadsheets in space" owing to how managing data within the game often presents.

During the EVE Online Fanfest this week, developer CCP revealed an unlikely partnership to bring the spreadsheet meme into reality.

Microsoft Excel is partnering with CCP to build a special Javascript API that will grant budding spacefarers the capability to export in-game data directly into Microsoft Office. Exactly how this will all function remains to be seen, but CCP says it aims to provide more information on these features later in the year.

"Through the Microsoft partnership, EVE players can add a JavaScript API in Excel to seamlessly export data from EVE Online. Excel feature compatibility will help players access and calculate everything from profit margins to battle strategy, making day-to-day EVE operations easier to execute. The Microsoft integration is another step toward CCP's goal of making the MMO more accessible for both casual and seasoned players. More information about the Microsoft partnership will be available later this year."

Additionally, EVE Online detailed its upcoming roadmap, which will feature new events, new story systems, and "improvements" to Fractional Warfare and infrastructure, with an effort to bring EVE's NPC empires to the fore. To support this, EVE debuted an intriguing trailer showcasing the Caldari.

As I noted earlier, EVE is notorious for being inaccessible to newcomers or casual players, but CCP is aiming to solve that. A new player experience dubbed the AIR Career Program will help acclimate new players across four dynamic roles; Explorer, Industrialist, Enforcer, or Soldier of Fortune. CCP is also intent on revamping and enhancing the visual engine to prepare the game for its third decade in operation, with improvements to the HUD, better particle FX, and much more.

I suspect this could be the first of many partnerships between Excel and games. Various titles that lean on deeper complexity such as Elite Dangerous or World of Warcraft often see players turning to Excel to parse data and theorycraft. It's an unexpected use case for Excel, but one that wholly makes sense.

EVE is available for free via EVEOnline.com.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!