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Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

EVE Online Players Rage, Protest Over Microtransactions 315

Several readers have written with news of a controversy that's been slowly building in space-based MMO EVE Online. "It all began with the Incarna update, which added an item shop to the long-running sci-fi sandbox. Players began to voice their concerns over the bizarrely high prices of items in the shop, with one particular item reaching an insane $68 US. Before this hullabaloo had the chance to so much as come to a simmer, an internal newsletter from CCP was leaked to the internet. The document outlined the introduction of microtransactions into EVE and mentioned that at some point, ships, ammunition, and so forth may be available for purchase with real-world currency. This naturally sent players into even more of a frenzy." Reader Ogre332 points out additional coverage, but notes that many publications are missing the punchline: "Players are angry that CCP has blatantly lied about their intentions and have responded to these customers concerns by basically telling us they know what we want better than we do. The purported e-mail from CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson was like gas on a fire, and a response to some concerns in the form of a dev blog was not well received at all. Players are protesting, and many claim to be canceling their accounts left and right."
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EVE Online Players Rage, Protest Over Microtransactions

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  • Journalism (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2011 @04:47PM (#36570940)

    Rage? They are raging? Would you say this is "epic" rage over some sort of "fail"? Perhaps there are some "lols" involved in said epic fail rage?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2011 @04:48PM (#36570960)

    The monacle being 68$ doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is talk about selling ships, items, and/or faction standings for real life money. Those are game changing items, and should be earned as part of the game.

  • by Lazareth ( 1756336 ) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @05:48PM (#36571408)

    There is an enormous difference, for many reasons.

    The EVE economy is based on items being built by the players, for the players, using materials gathered by the players. PLEX is a sort of trade commodity, it is like diamonds - people want them because they are desirable, not because they are useful (in game at least). It has no effect on gameplay and is basically just a trade good on the market. Trading a PLEX has no other immediate ingame effect other than redistributing ISK among players, which is completely balanced in cost by the players themselves.

    "Gold Spaceships" and AUR is completely different from this mechanic. Ships are seeded and directly tied to real money. Sure, you can buy a PLEX with ISK, but that is superficial - you are, in effect, just having somebody else pay real money for your spaceship. Sure you can fund a CNR (a special battleship) using ISK gained from a PLEX, but it is completely optional for that PLEX to be involved - with Gold Spaceships it would become MANDATORY to involve a PLEX. Also, since the ship is seeded, no tangible effort has been made to build or acquire the ship by anybody - not through missioning, grinding, building, whatever - the ship entirely come into being depending on real money.

    Basically the entire EVE economy, which is the pride and I daresay center of the soul of EVE, can become entirely unhinged by AUR and Gold Stuff, since it is impossible for an industrial body in EVE to compete with people simply swiping their credit card for special premium superstuff.

    More issues can be touched upon. Think for example the Alliance Tournament (a yearly competition with spaceships), what happens to the game if a team wins because they brought Gold Spaceships? Should all invest real money to be able to compete then?

    P2W and microtransactions are reasonable depending on the gaming model. EVE is simply not built for it.

  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:07PM (#36571580)

    that is NOT what people are protesting about - cosmetic items are not what the protests are about at all.

    The protests stem from the leaked company memo saying that game-changing items will be for sale eventually.

  • by KermodeBear ( 738243 ) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:34PM (#36571806) Homepage

    The best overview [] of the players' concerns that I have seen.


            The high cost of goods in the Noble Market.
            Captain’s Quarters.
            Performance issues with Incarna.
            “Greed is good”
            Communication issues

  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:37PM (#36571838) Homepage
    Of course they're spamming chat, but they're doing more than that. They're currently bombarding a major trade station at Amarr VIII (Emperor Family Academy). It's at 0% armor and 0% structure, but still standing - the structure is invulnerable. In Jita, they're bombarding a statue near the major trade station at Jita IV - Caldari Navy Assembly Plant. It's kinda silly but the screenshots are impressive; so IMO is the thought that these guys are throwing billions of ISK in ships away in protest (as CONCORD takes them out one by one).
  • by Jupix ( 916634 ) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:53PM (#36571958)

    The rage has continued for a few days now and it's no longer just about the unbelievable initial MT lineup that they put in. The focus has shifted almost completely to how CCP seems unable to handle the PR disaster, and how there appears to be a force as of yet unknown at the higher levels of the company that puts emphasis on maximizing revenue and screwing the playerbase over in the process. The senior producer is widely acknowledged as a nice guy and having a similar mindset to veteran players, but the devblog he posted reeks of committee writing and of the CEO in particular, according to some CSM members. This kind of strange behavior and obvious businesstype meddling, in addition to widely known inhouse problems like a serious lack of professionalism and poor quality of workmanship, has the players worried that CCP as a company is turning into a catastrophic trainwreck and the future and wellbeing of their beloved hobby is in danger.

  • by rainmouse ( 1784278 ) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @02:57AM (#36574400)

    (F2P) usually comes about when a game does not have the appeal or simply isn't good enough to sustain enough monthly subscriptions to be profitable.

    Great post but I feel the need to correct you on this issue about free to play game models. Huge numbers free to play games from the start, for example RuneScape, love it or hate it, has always been a free game where you can subscribe on a month by month basis to unlock extra content and is funded by ads, has almost double the player base of Eve and earns considerably more cash, yes it's not an ideal measurement of success but the game works for the target audience who are typically cash strapped kids and young teenagers. The success of this and similar titles is whats driving business execs to push most MMO's in this direction (though RS has no micro transactions).

    The problem with Eve switching to this model is the player demographics are completely different and contain typically the oldest playerbase of any other MMO, perhaps due to the games mature content, slow play style and extreme difficulty but its certainly not a cash strapped community.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle