The use of micro-transactions can be tricky ground to tread for developers. While some games manage to implement them well, other attempts are met with large amounts of resistance. This is especially true in the case of EVE Online. For a game whose universe is for the most part run by the community, many saw the sudden inclusion of in-game purchases as a betrayal of sorts by developer CCP Games.
This issue came to a head when an alleged internal document from CCP Games surfaced, discussing the future implementation of gameplay-changing micro-transactions. Almost instantly, the community fought back. As players who invest vast amount of time into EVE Online, they saw this move as a betrayal of their trust and something that could ultimately hurt the game. Unsurprisingly, CCP Games quickly made sure to deny the micro-transaction plans.
Even though the dust has hardly settled, talk of micro-transactions is again stealing EVE‘s spotlight. If gamers thought that paying $70 for a monocle to outfit their virtual avatar was a bit much, this is only the beginning. EVE Online developer CCP Games have gone on the record stating that prices for these aesthetic items will only get higher. The group of players who correspond with CCP, the Council of Stellar Management don’t seem to have a problem with this.
According to CSM chairman Alex Gianturco,
“My perspective and the CSM’s perspective is that if they come out with something like – just as a hypothetical [example] – unique ship models with limited runs that they want to charge $1 billion for: as long as it doesn’t impact the competitive gameplay of Eve Online – If some crazy rich person wants to buy that, I don’t care and, by and large, the CSM doesn’t care, and that money helps go to develop Eve.”
While it is true that these transactions don’t affect gameplay in any way, it is still disconcerting to see CCP Games pursuing the market so aggressively following the community’s recent backlash. For a game that places such an emphasis on its community, it’s odd to see the developer paying so little attention to the worries of the majority of said community.
As new items are added to EVE Online‘s Noble Exchange, they will be ensuring that they cover various pricing tiers. While items costing far more than the $70 monocle will be a disconcerting reality, they also plan to implement items that are far more affordable and accessible to the game’s general community.
While it’s good to see that they will be introducing items that aren’t excessively-priced, this still does nothing to quell the community’s fears that CCP Games have become intent on gouging as much money out of their players as possible. Even though this may not be the case and the reality of CCP needing money in order to continue upgrading the game is ever-present, the way in which they are approaching the situation is not a wise one.
As they continue to aggressively implement these new features through micro-transactions, even if they don’t affect the gameplay, it’s still understandable for the community to feel used. It is because of these players that EVE Online has reached its current status in the MMO market and as time goes on, it would seem far more logical to be providing these players with fan-service rather than throwing more ways to spend money in their faces.
With the release of EVE‘s console FPS counterpart DUST 514 on its way and the adding of new features through the recent Incarna expansion like the ability to take control of your avatar in their captain’s quarters, EVE Online looks to still have a strong future ahead of it. As CCP Games continue to push their micro-transactions and the community becomes fed up, this prosperous future could be turned around very quickly.
Do you think the EVE community’s feeling of betrayal is founded? Will you be making any purchases from the NEX once they start implementing less expensive items?
EVE Online is out now for the PC and Mac.