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CCP Deconstructs EVE Online's Microtransaction Missteps 106

A few months ago we discussed an uproar in the EVE Online community over CCP Games' implementation of microtransactions within the game. Hilmar Pétursson, the company's CEO, recently posted a lengthy apology and an explanation of their thought process, which he admits was "wrong." Now, at GDC Online, CCP has gone into further detail about the lessons they've learned from the fiasco. Quoting: "Of the eight original items, Cockerill said all but one was in the mid- to high-tier price range. Players naturally assumed the lower-tier range would be neglected going forward, which served to push some of them away. The second wave (and the forthcoming fourth wave) featured more lower-tier options, but it wasn't enough. Cockerill said virtual-goods sellers should release a range of goods at all of their price points to start with, or else they'll face the wrath of the user base. What's more, the team should have targeted the desires of its then-current user base, who cared much more about having virtual clothes for their ships instead of their avatars."
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CCP Deconstructs EVE Online's Microtransaction Missteps

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @04:08AM (#37676578)

    They still don't get it.
    It's not about the price or the clothes for characters instead of ships.

    It's about the fact that we pay a subscription each month (an expensive one compared to other MMOs, I might add) and we feel that we deserve anything they develop for free. If they use their employees, time or money to develop something for the game, it should be free or more exactly: it should be granted by the monthly fee.
    Most players do not just feel like they are paying to play a game, they feel like they are also investing money in Eve. They pay CCP in the hopes of seeing the game improve and accomplish it's full potential. When CCP makes us pay a subscription AND for new content, they don't just make us pay twice, they are also telling us "Thanks for your investment. Now pay us some more to get access to the result of that investment".
    It's like renting a car and having to pay extra for a seatbelt. It's like a company taking money from investors and then telling them "your investment allows you to buy the products we make".

    This is the third or fourth official apology from CCP and they still don't get it.

    Oh and by the way - this new path CCP is taking (making players pay for new content) so far has made them lose more players than they have earned. Not only has this caused players to quit Eve, it has also ruined the company's and the game's reputation among potential future players. Personally the only reason I'm still playing is because I haven't given up all hope yet and I can say the same of most players I know.
    Someone fire that incompetent CEO and replace him with somebody who understands the market Eve is in!

  • Player Perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @04:26AM (#37676646)

    I'm a long time player who's watched this whole thing play out in disbelief. The vast majority of players couldn't care less about the current avatar or virtual goods scheme, or in fact the "ship spinning" that the apology letter talks about. The problem is that the company gets all it's income from one game (EVE) and is spending it developing Dust 514 (a PS3 exclusive that most EVE players will never play) and World Of Darkeness (a vampire and werewolf MMO that most EVE players will never play). As a result, EVE has gone without any new content for what feels like years. The "new" avatar system for EVE is basically a mass beta test for the Dust/WOD character system, and has no new gameplay at all.

    The playerbase thought that the microtransactions launch was frankly insane (players of a hypercapitalistic game understand wanting to make money, but the way it was done made far less than they could have, AND pissed everyone off), and the leaks from inside the company suggest that most of the employees did as well. Many of them were players before the were devs, and they didn't like the way things were heading. As a result there were mass in game protests, which a leaked memo from the CEO acknowledged, but stated that they would be ignored, and that the company would listen to what people did rather than said, predictably precipitating mass unsubscriptions. CCP are dangerously overreaching themselves at the moment, with the speculation being that their finance arrangements are precarious, having overrun their timescales for producing their two new titles. Players and developers who have invested years into the game - far more than the sum total of official development - have written tools and created both fiction and real history in the game's universe, and don't want to see it vanish into the ether because of the incompetence of the company that runs it.

    In short: the players want to play the game they signed up for, and want their subs to go towards new content for the game that they are paying for, not development of new titles they don't play.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @09:04AM (#37678052) Journal

    I'm not an Eve player and I'm unlikely to ever be - I had a housemate who was big into it once, and while the idea was cool, every time he started talking about the details, it sent me to sleep.

    That said, I am a shooter player. Ok, I'm more singleplayer than multiplayer these days, but I've been keeping an eye on Dust 514. I don't claim perfect prescience, but I do generally have a fairly good instinct for which shooters are going to survive and which aren't. And I would bet quite a lot of money that Dust 514 is going to fail spectacularly.

    The market for "online shooters" is rather more competitive than the market for "online space trading and combat role playing economics simulators". The market for sci-fi themed online shooters is, if anything, particularly vicious. Halo, Killzone and Gears of War have their followings - and there is some really intense brand loyalty out there. Seriously, if you thought vi vs emacs could get heated, it is nothing to Killzone vs Gears.

    Games like Space Marine can achieve reasonable success in this market on the basis of a decent enough singleplayer campaign and multiplayer that's fun for a quick blast. Team Fortress 2 managed to get marketshare because it's Valve, and hence automatically gets attention. But I just cannot imagine that a title like Dust 514, from a developer with no background in the genre, based on an IP that most console shooter players would consider snooze-worthy, with no particularly exciting or different gameplay innovations (Planetside already did the persistent-world thing) will manage to get the kind of self-sustaining player base it needs to succeed on a long term micro-transaction supported basis.

    If CCP have bet the farm on the success of Dust, then I suspect Eve may be in for a troubled future.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson