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A Case Study of RMTs In EVE Online 81

Kheldon writes with an article at MMO Gamer which explores how well real money transactions work in online games, using EVE Online as a test case. Quoting: "... My next problem came from trying to sell the [Game Time cards] through the 'Time Code Bazaar' on the forums. While I quickly found buyers, none of them actually went through with the deal. This is the inherent problem with developer sanctioned RMT. Unless true, unfettered, player-to-player transactions are allowed without developer 'regulation,' the market will inevitably be operating inefficiently. Consider gold-farmers for a moment. Setting aside the moral or legal aspects of the trade, and considering from a purely economic standpoint, gold-farmers are the RMT equivalent of large corporations. They operate on the concept of 'economies-of-scale,' which basically means that up to a certain point, the larger a company is, the cheaper they can produce that product. Of course, companies that can produce a product more cheaply can undercut the competition while maintaining the same profit margin; meaning they'll make more sales, giving them more overall profit, and supporting the corporate growth, which furthers the economy of scale. This is the market at its most pure."
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A Case Study of RMTs In EVE Online

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  • PLEX (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:10AM (#28262691)

    there is an ingame item called a PLEX, which is listable on the market & redeemable for 30 days of play time.

    Keep up, douche bag

  • Bad research (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ogun ( 101578 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:14AM (#28262713) Homepage
    The writer has not done his research well enough.

    There are two ways of selling game time in EVE.
    One is to use the forum and the game time code transfer system available on the character screen, which is what the writer did.
    The other is to convert the GTC into ingame items called PLEX (Pilot License EXtension) which is then traded on the market like
    any other ingame item. This is not only the preferred way, it is also more profitable to the seller; netting around 720 million
    ISK per GTC compared to about 600 million on the forums.

    The other thing is that while you could certainly buy ISK from farming operations it comes with a risk. CCP has been known to ban
    not only ISK sellers but also buyers in transactions not using the condoned methods.

    The reason behind there not being any easy way to convert ingame currency into real money is that this would open a whole can of
    legal worms for CCP. Tax departments, money laundring etc. etc. Not something a games company would want to deal with.
  • Re:Bad research (Score:5, Informative)

    by goto begin ( 1338561 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:20AM (#28262745)
    In addition to this, one does not need to wait for a physical card to arrive in the post or even buy directly from CCP. There are authorised sellers of electronic GTCs which are delivered instantly by email with no extra costs. I find the article to be very poorly researched - two mouse-clicks from the EVE website takes you to the list of official resellers.
  • by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:27AM (#28262781) Homepage
    Should comment on isk generation - market value of a 30 day PLEX is around 300mil. Mission running level 4s can generate up to 30mil an hour or so (varies a bit dependant on skills, equipment etc.). Mining in 0.0 is about the same, mining in highsec is ... somewhat less than 10mil/hour.
    However you can make cash much faster if you're smart and use the market or large scale industry.
    Oh, and you don't need to buy 'cards' from CCP. Shattered Crystal is an example of one 3rd party retailer who will send you a Game Time CODE within about half an hour. In theory, the first time they validate that you are who you say, so it takes longer. In practice, they were very quick and effective.
  • by Jedi Alec ( 258881 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:32AM (#28262805)

    So far I have yet to encounter a single pilot in combat who by converting rl money into ingame assets managed to actually get a real advantage. People who aren't smart enough to figure out how to earn isk the "proper" way very rarely are able to then put said isk to good use anyway.

    Now I'll happily admit to flying some reasonably pimped out stuff myself, but I bought that stuff using isk I made ingame...doing mostly PvP to begin with.

    Flying a faction/deadspace fitted nightmare is fun. Flying one in the knowledge that half the mods on it came from people you blew up yourself is so much more satisfying ;-)

  • by Turzyx ( 1462339 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:26AM (#28264001)
    I played EVE for nearly 2 years, WoW for the same and in total have been an avid video game fanatic for about 15 years.

    It's virtually a given that cheats, exploits/hacks, and with the rise of MMOGs, RMT, will never ever be eliminated from the gaming world. In fact, the former two is what makes some games totally great (perma beserker mode in Doom, and DK mode in Goldeneye spring immediately to mind) and developers include these 'features' on purpose, often taking suggestions from the community at large.

    In EVE, like all other MMOs, RMT is a big problem. Corporations and alliances farming materials purely for real world money-making, often hogging research and manufacturing slots aswell; although the cost of holding such slots increases expontially with time now I believe.

    CCP (the developer) used to 'unofficially' allow trading of game time cards, sold in increments of 30 days unlimited play time, for in game currency, but as time when on and more people tricked by unscrupulous businessmen, it became clear that regulation was required in order to prevent the cut-throat ingame attitude spilling out into real world, real money, scamming. The current system involves buying a game time card and putting the code with a set price in 'escrow' for another player to purchase with ingame currency. The player checks his account page and accepts the trade, the game time is added to his account automatically and the seller gets the ingame ISK.

    This system is win-win-win for everyone, with no moral issues to contend with (unless someone is so addicted they are using their food money to buy game time cards, of course), CCP gets paid for the game time card, the buyer gets to pay for an MMO by playing more, and the seller gets to bypass boring grinding.

    I much prefer this system than the alternative.
  • Re:Bad research (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:10AM (#28264383)

    CCP didn't ban me (or even lecture) but they did take all of ISK I bought away which left me with a negative in game balance since I had spent already spent a good portion of the ISK I purchased from a farmer. With a negative balance you can't undock to make the ISK to return you to positive. Solution? GTC transfer through the authorized system.

    As a salaried executive for a Fortune 10 company I simply don't have enough time to earn sufficient in game finds to enjoy the time I do have available. CCP's official GTC transfer addresses this for me and is one of the reasons I keep playing.

    IMO Blizzard has ruined WoW not by not setting up something official when they are impotent to stop the Chinese gold farmers, yet are heavy handed with players seeking a small boost to reduce the amount of painful grinding required to level to 80.

    Their "You are under investigation" emails may scare younger folks with it's implied threats but I see it for what it is, jack booted thuggery.

    Blizzard can kiss my hairy butt.

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