All games in the MMOG genre are created to be "persistent worlds." This means that unlike single player games - where the action screeches to a halt when the user has turned it off - the game world will keep evolving even when a player has gone offline, much the same way as the real world continues to evolve when you go to sleep. The game world, and anything the player may have left in it, such as undocked ships, will continue to exist and will be visible to (and possibly destroyed by) other players.
In a nutshell, EVE can be described as an alternate reality, similar in many ways to virtual reality as depicted in, for example, the film "The Matrix." The only difference between the Matrix and EVE is that instead of accessing the world through a neural jack, it is accessed through the Internet and participants interact with it via a computer.
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