CCP Developers Falcon and Guard answered questions today in a live online event to discuss the future of EVE Online in the wake of the company being purchased by Korean game developer Pearl Abyss (PA), the makers of Black Desert Online.
The AMA-format web chat started at 16:30 UTC, and the devs fielded many questions for the next several hours. Early arrivals could easily gauge EVE players’ interest in the controversial buyout: before the event had even begun, over 100 questions had been posted on a wide variety of topics. As of 20:00 UTC, over 600 comments had been posted on this thread, with more coming in all the time.
Three main areas of concern repeatedly arose from players and were repeatedly addressed by the developers.
Will EVE Become P2W?
First, EVE players wanted assurances that the buyout by PA would not change EVE into a pay-to-win game. Gamers expressed great concern, exemplified by this question by Cypherous: “What guarantees can CCP offer in regards to keeping the game from degenerating in to a microtransaction fuelled cash grab?” TamiyaCowboy expressed the same sentiment in more direct terms: “I played eve for 12 yrs and won’t have some Asian company start filling it with P2W rubbish that [PA] have shown to do with Black Pearl Online; you cannot deny that the game is full of microtransactions and you know where your EVE community stands on this stuff. . . . We don’t want it at all. Can you 100% assure us, the community, that it will never come to EVE Online?”
In response to such queries, CCP Falcon’s first response was directed toward such concerns: “There’s no plans at all for us to change how we monetize EVE in any significant way – pretty much business as usual for us.” Indeed, if one were to summarize all the responses by the developers during the AMA, the statement above would suffice: “no plans at all for us to change.” Falcon later noted, “[PA has] given us no list of things to change, and they’re not looking to interfere with how EVE is developed.”
Much later in the conversation, Guard added this comment, which suggests that additional microtransactions or monetization may be in EVE’s future: “This is what makes sense to me at least; CCP are the experts on EVE, our community and our market. We’ve made mistakes, had success, and learned a lot along the way. That expertise, along with an amazing, loyal and smart EVE player base is what makes up the value of the company. There’s all kinds of things we can do to improve and grow . . . and yes . . . some of those things definitely have to do with monetization which is nothing new, we’ve been experimenting for years, with some solid successes.”
What Were the Benefits for Both Sides?
A second trending theme concerned what benefit might accrue to each company in light of the recent purchase. CCP Falcon had this to say regarding such benefits for CCP itself: “Not being owned by financial investors is great – being owned by a GAMING company means that they’re more interested in how we develop rather than the bottom line. I think a lot of people at CCP that I’ve spoke to are feeling a lot better about being owned by a company that’s in the games industry. Knowledge exchange is also up high on my list – I want us to be able to work together for the betterment of all our titles. I’m sure there’s a ****load that we can learn from each other. I think it’s also super cool that we might be able to reach more people in Korea and the Asian Market in general with EVE. Honestly, on a personal level I don’t really see any downsides to this. Pearl Abyss seem cool, super open to the way we do things, and very respectful of CCP and how we operate.”
Guard would later add to this discussion, suggesting that Pearl Abyss could bring some better funding, and subsequently more advanced technology, into play: “We’re always investing in improving stability – I’m hoping myself that we’ll see benefits from working with another gaming company that seems to have a pretty good handle on scalability.” In answer to a question regarding TiDi and nodes getting “stuck,” Falcon again reiterated: “On a personal note – I’m REALLY hoping one of these benefits will be knowledge sharing that improves stability.”
Regarding how PA benefited from the buyout, there were fewer comments, but Falcon suggested that PA could learn from CCPs successful relationship with its players: “No one is trying to ■■■■ with that, and no one WANTS to. From what I’ve heard from speaking to Hilmar, PA are in just as much awe as we are over the crazy ■■■■ that you [players] constantly pull. The one thing that makes me the most happy about being bought by them is the fact that so far, they’ve seemed just to be like ‘hey, you guys . . . do your thing!’”
What Happens to the CSM?
A third main theme concerned the players’ desire to have community at the heart of EVE. They wanted to know if the CSM would be disbanded, now that new ownership has come into play. Guard responded: “Nope! That’s a decision for CCP to make. We run our own community relations and one of the things they’ve talked a lot about is how they see us as having built good community relations. Having just come out of an excellent and productive CSM summit, I’m sure there’s nobody here who doesn’t think the CSM is very useful to both us and the EVE players.”
Many other kinds of questions were asked and answered, some more serious than others: questions about skins, DDOS attacks, Fanfests, EVE as an e-sport, and the inevitable question about “boobies.” But Falcon and Guard stuck with their talking points very well: the ownership has changed, but it will remain business as usual for CCP and EVE Online.