Five years old and growing! EVE Online celebrated the beginning of the new year by reaching a new record for concurrent users connected to the game, with more than 45,000 players online at once.

The exact number is 45,186 users, all going about their business in New Eden. Perhaps not impressive numbers when compared to the number of people playing World of Warcraft at any given time, but as Massively points out, EVE is all one big server where everyone plays at once.

What a great way to start out 2009—a new PCU (Peak Concurrent User) record of 45,186! While we've made tremendous serverside changes in the EVE Online infrastructure with the EVE64 and StacklessIO initiatives, it is truly a testament to our loyal fans that 5 years into EVE's existence we are still breaking records and more people are flying in New Eden than ever before.

Great news for CCP! Perhaps not so great for EVE players, forced to deal with an influx of new, stupid players, but it's a big universe. They'll cope.

Over 45,000 Players In New Eden [EVE Insider via Massively]