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Eve Online’s Excel partnership began in a CCP women’s group

The 'spreadsheets in space' jokes had been going around for years, but a group of women at developer CCP came up with the idea to make it official

A cargo ship prepares to dock at a massive space station in Eve Online

‘Spreadsheets in space’ has been the running gag about Eve Online almost as long as the notoriously information-dense MMORPG has been around, which at this point is going on 20 years. But it was only recently that developer CCP Games and Microsoft made it official, announcing the forthcoming Eve Online-Microsoft Excel integration at this year’s Eve Fanfest in Reykjavik. And like so many lasting friendships, this one began at the pub.

“A few of the CCP women went out for drinks, and one was our bizdev person,” explains Emily Akland, an Eve Online brand manager. “They were starting to joke around that spreadsheets in space is such a fun concept – and they were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be crazy if we just reached out [to Microsoft] and see what happens?'”

As the three women – VP of publishing Eyrún Jónsdóttir, business development manager Anna Katrín Ólafsdóttir, and Eve Online director of growth Anna Kozko – continued to discuss the idea, the less crazy it seemed. They brought the idea up to the rest of Eve Online’s management, and Ólafsdóttir said she knew someone at Microsoft who they could call.

Creative director Bergur Finnbogason said that it was as if the Excel team had been waiting on the call. “The guy presenting to me had actual models of Eve ships behind him,” Finnbogason recalls. “He was like, ‘I don’t want to look like I’m too excited, but I built something.’ And it was the most amazing [Eve] spreadsheet I’ve ever seen. It was just mind blowing.”

“They came back and they said, ‘We love Eve!'” Akland tells us. “They were so stoked, and they’ve been fantastic to work with so far.”

A spreadsheet labeled Eve Online Item Search with fields for 'Search term,' and 'Strict search' at the top, and a results field below. The animated gif shows various results coming up for different searches related to the Loki-class Minmatar strategic cruiser

At Fanfest, CCP showed off a relatively straightforward implementation of the JavaScript API that will be able to pull Eve data directly into Excel. It shows an item search tool created to allow strict or unstrict searches, with data for values like adjusted price, item image, and description available to import.

Once it’s implemented, it’ll be a massive time-saver for players who already use Excel to track holdings and plans across New Eden’s vast frontiers and markets. All they’ll have to do is login with their Eve credentials, and just about everything they can pull up in the game client will be available in the workbook.

CCP announced some more exciting new features in the works for Eve Online at this year’s Fanfest, including a new heraldry system and a major revamp to faction warfare.