What had long been dubbed ‘Spreadsheets in Space’ became a reality last month, as EVE Online went down in history as the first video game to get a Microsoft-backed Excel add-in.
The massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) was renowned for attracting anoraks eager to gain a competitive advantage, with many already resorting to homemade or third-party solutions to import their data into Excel.
Developer CCP Games collaborated with the Excel team to enable users to access data such as their assets, market orders, item market prices, wallet transactions, skills, and the finances of their corporation.
To be honest, I’ve never played this game, nor am I particularly interested in doing so. However, I am interested in how this might pave the way for others to follow.
Whilst I haven’t got time anymore to sit and play games for hours and hours as I did as a spotty-faced adolescent, I do own an Xbox Series X, mainly to play FIFA online during my downtime.
Unlike many players, I don’t bother with Ultimate Team. It’s far too much fuss to get involved in endless trading to assemble my ‘dream team’ by jumbling together a load of galacticos with hyper-inflated stats. Seasons mode does it for me. It’s quick and easy to set up, and I can play as the club I support, Manchester United.
Those familiar with the FIFA series will know the FIFA 23 stats screen is much more comprehensive than in the past. After a match, I’ll frequently casually browse through the post-match stats to break down my performance. I like to know what I did well and what I didn’t. I’ll look at the summary stats like possession, passing, shots, and xG, but I’ll also pay attention to the more granular details, such as possession and player position heat maps.
Looking at these for a couple of minutes does not exactly constitute in-depth analysis, but clearly, there’s an appetite on my part to understand my performances with hard data — not just anecdotally. Over time, doing this allows me to build up greater awareness and adjust my formation and tactics accordingly to yield more consistent performances.
The problem is I can’t do anything with this data for a one-off match, let alone historically. There simply is no ‘Export to Excel’ button.
You also don’t have access to the controller data. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see how frequently you hold down the sprint trigger during matches and how that correlates with your results?
Anyway, would you like to see more video games follow in the footsteps of EVE Online?