CCP Want More Of Your Money

2022-04-26

Header Art by Major Sniper

Much like Netflix, CCP recently announced a subscription increase of 33%, increasing the cost of a one-month subscription from 14.95 US Dollars (USD) to 19.99 USD. These price increases are due to launch on May 17, 2022.

EVE Versus Other MMOs

This change will make EVE Online the most expensive subscription-based MMO in the world. World of Warcraft (WoW) costs 14.99 USD per month, and Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) costs 12.99 USD per month. Now you might say “but they have expansions to buy too!” But even then, EVE is still more expensive.

WoW and FFXIV expansions typically last two years. This means that even with the expansion packs factored in, EVE will be 3.6% more expensive than FFXIV (59.99 USD/24 Months) and 5.8% more expensive than WoW (19.99 USD/24 Months) currently. This price hike shows that CCP think EVE Online as a product is worth more than WoW or FFXIV. The reality appears to be quite different.

What Are We Being Forced To Buy?

CCP have promised “to continue investing in EVE Online’s evolution and growth, and to realize our mission of EVE Forever” as the reward for this cost hike. Coupled with CCP’s inability and incompetence when attempting to monetize the game in a way that isn’t counter to the spirit of EVE Online, CCP claims it needs more subscription money in order to make EVE Online better.

CCP is also promising more expansion-size content to make up for this increased cost. This is different from other major MMOs. MMOs like FFXIV and WoW offer players the option to purchase the expansion. This gives the consumer the option to pay, or not pay, for something they like or don’t like.

However, CCP has opted to make the cost of these expansions part of the subscription model. This means the consumers will be essentially buying the expansion whether they like them or not. This prevents the player-base from holding the developer monetarily accountable when the content is released. Should CCP release a terrible expansion, they can rest easy knowing they already have your money.

Is CCP Expanding EVE Online?

Currently, it does not appear CCP are attempting to greatly expand the primary EVE Online studio based in Reykjavik. Over the last six months, CCP have been looking to hire mostly for CCP London and CCP Shanghai, with only a handful of Game Designers and Programmers for CCP Reykjavik.

Current Open Positions for CCP Games: Reykjavik

For reference, CCP London has primarily been focused on the continuously abortive FPS development attempts, the likes of which we have seen demoed and then scrapped at EVE Vegas in the past. Meanwhile, CCP Shanghai was previously responsible for DUST 514, and has since taken over CCP’s mobile game development, as well as responsibility for the “publishing” of the Chinese ‘Serenity’ EVE server.

Without expanding their current EVE production team much, it would seem any hopes of more bang for your buck are unlikely. CCP has also not promised to increase the salaries of their employees to motivate further productivity. This means subscribers will likely see mostly the same bang, for more buck. The math simply does not add up as I write this.

With roughly the same team size, CCP have promised…

One Of The Largest Updates

CCP have, over the last few years, provided little in the way of meaningful updates that positively affect the game. CCP’s income was bolstered by major “Beeitnam” nullsec war during the global COVID-1`9 pandemic, which shielded them from the fallout of the Era of Scarcity. They are now feeling the sting they didn’t recognise until after the war.

With the last two years comprising mostly major disappointments towards the general direction of the game, the end of quadrant updates, and the lack of output towards fixing the problems that plague the game’s economy and game balance over the last couple years, I remain highly skeptical of the scale and quality of this “largest update”.

This leaves me to wonder:

What is the Money Going to?

However, CCP is expanding their studio at London, which is currently producing an unannounced shooter. It would seem that we, the consumers of EVE Online, are being forced to pay for a new game CCP wants to develop (a game we may or may not like). Considering CCP’s history of making shooters is wrought with failure, and considering that Dust 514 wasn’t profitable for CCP until several years after its release, it’s quite likely most of the players paying for it will not enjoy it. Also taking into account the terrible state of Project Nova when they decided to tease gameplay in 2018, this new shooter game is likely to just be another generic shooter with terrible AI. The question becomes: are people willing to pay more for EVE Online, for the same amount of content, under the real life weight of inflation?

Current Open Positions for CCP Games: London

Who Pays for Inflation?

Currently, inflation is hitting everyone pretty hard. Despite the increase in economic growth in the United States, the rate of inflation has doubled from ~4% to ~8% over the last year. With stagnant wages, many people are having to cut their ‘fun’ budget down in order to pay for the increased cost of essential goods and services. Considering the USD has been hitting record highs for exchange rates, this hurts non-US/non-EU players the most.

Ultimately, this means that given the same income, while people pay more for food, they will need to pay less for gaming. Increasing the cost of gaming only makes that reality worse for any company in the gaming industry. Inflation does not mean I magically have more money to spend. It means my budget has to be adjusted to fit the new reality. It is something that several non-essential services like Netflix (and apparently EVE Online too) have not grasped yet. After several years working on improving it, CCP have shot themselves in the foot when it comes to—

The New Player Experience

When a new player reaches the end of their alpha account experience, they will be faced with a larger paywall to continue to advance in EVE. CCP have greatly increased the real-money price of making the leap into omega clone status. As a warning, being the most expensive subscription MMO in history from a non-AAA developer is not an incentive to pay for this game. While the new player experience has been improved, it is nowhere near the quality seen in WoW or FFXIV as a whole.

Throw Money At the Problem

It would appear CCP are attempting to fix the issues with EVE Online’s development by adding more money to develop everything except EVE Online. But even if CCP were to add more money to EVE’s development budget, considering their direction over the last few years, it isn’t worth the increase in costs in my opinion. The issues with EVE’s development are due to a lack of vision and the developer’s poor perspectives. These are problems that money is not likely to solve.

Worth It?

I really enjoy EVE Online. But I do enjoy EVE enough to pay almost 60 USD a month for three accounts? I don’t. Furthermore, I will be weighing on the idea that I will be getting the same entertainment value that I currently do from 15 USD, just at the new price of 20 USD.

I am not alone in thinking that 20 USD for an aged MMO is a bad investment of my time and money. An MMO that has produced updates which negatively impacted my enjoyment of the game over the past few years, and can only offer the promise of new and better updates for this price hike is, quite frankly, a rip-off.

Facing the Music

The reality is that the reasons many people continue to play EVE Online are not the changes over the last few years. For me, and I imagine most, it is our friends, our tribe, and our legacy. Most of my friends are gone from EVE, after a long string of hated changes to the game. A large portion of my tribe have also left after the war. All that remains is the stuff I worked years to get so I could fight alongside my friends and tribe.

I personally can’t justify 20 USD a month for a digital hangar. And I certainly can’t justify paying just to hope CCP makes more content, when over the past six years the only thing CCP has added that I enjoyed were the new Triglavian ships.

For the new price of the three EVE Online accounts I currently pay CCP for each month, I can pay for an account in another MMO, enjoy sushi every weekend, and still play EVE with a free-to-play alpha account to help my friends.

EVE Online just isn’t worth it anymore.

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Comments

  • Guilford Australis

    It’s almost Shakespearean.

    In any given situation where there is an obvious worst decision – a manifestly terrible, wretched, stupid option that will accomplish the opposite of what is desired – CCP seems doomed by fate to do exactly that thing.

    Does anyone actually trust CCP at this point to introduce spectacular new content that will justify a $20/month sub? These people have no self-awareness and no concept of how inept they are and how badly they’ve betrayed their customers with past promises they couldn’t keep.

    April 26, 2022 at 11:42 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Guilford Australis

      I like how in the interview posted recently the CCP guy tried to tie the price hike directly to new content, as if that extra 5$ an account is the only thing stopping them from release content that isn’t a complete pile of nonfunctional nerfed to hell shit on arrival like all the patches for the last 2-3 years have been.

      April 26, 2022 at 9:32 PM
      • Rhivre Garreth Vlox

        Its also the linking it to Russian players not being able to pay….so basically, they could pay for this stuff (which is still to be developed, so they need hires and things), if Russians were still paying…but then we havent been having content while Russians were paying

        April 27, 2022 at 8:59 AM
        • Eve_Osir1s Rhivre

          Not sure the russian excuse has enough room for this. The sanctions will come to an end at some point and some of the russians still plex their accounts. Furthermore, if the sanctions were to end I don’t expect CCP to walk the price back.

          April 27, 2022 at 10:57 AM
          • Jeet_Kundo Eve_Osir1s

            I’d kill to see a Q1 set of financials that compared to prior-year’s annual report. Unfortunately, CCP is private and I have no idea which reporting authority S. Korea releases to (since PA is public) nor the rules on consolidation and disclosing operations of a private subsidiary – they turned over a $8.5mil profit after currency conversion. It’s a convenient bad excuse

            May 2, 2022 at 6:36 AM
        • Garreth Vlox Rhivre

          “but then we havent been having content while Russians were paying”
          Exactly, using “the russians” as an excuse is just embarssing, they were paying for a decade and it didn’t get us any better content then it did for the last 2-3 years.

          April 27, 2022 at 9:02 PM
  • yogizh

    I would not play the game if it wasn’t for Goonswarm for years now. We produced 10 times the content than CCP did at least for 5 years (I am trying to be nice).

    April 26, 2022 at 2:34 PM
  • Romulus Loches

    Eve is very much so a social game. For me it’s really just a medium to hang out with friends, but it doesn’t have to be the only medium. My ‘Eve-time’ is spent outside of the game as much or more than it is inside.

    Raising the price from $15 to $20 per month isn’t unbearable, for me, by itself. It is however the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This is coming at a time where my confidence in CCP and the direction they are taking Eve is at an all-time low, a sentiment many others seem to share.

    April 26, 2022 at 6:34 PM
    • Eve_Osir1s Romulus Loches

      That’s the crux of the issue. CCP have kept up with inflation with increasing monetization, so this increase is only justified if CCP can put something forward worth paying extra for. Given their track record, most, such as Guilford Australis above, remain highly skeptical that CCP will deliver. It was an aggressive move by CCP, and a lot of the playerbase doesnt have enough trust to accept it. The anger from the last few years of changes are finally catching up to CCP.

      April 26, 2022 at 6:49 PM
      • chthulan Eve_Osir1s

        I’ll wait and see what the so-called big expansion brings. As Os1ris says, the last two years, apart from the war, have been pretty miserable from the pov of making ISK.

        I have already unsubbed one of my three accounts. Unless I get a wow soon, I’ll be down to one. It’s just not worth it – only the tribe keeps me logging in.

        April 29, 2022 at 12:19 AM
        • Garreth Vlox chthulan

          the “wow” is going to be “hey look we are going to buy ships you built with in game money, and then sell them for IRL cash to other players”

          May 1, 2022 at 12:35 AM
  • kwnyupstate .

    You missed the fact that the cost of plex is the same at the highest plex packs.
    Also price per month at highest sub pack is only slightly increased comparing 12 month and 24 month sub packs.
    The true issue is CCP wants to lock people into longer time commitments.

    April 26, 2022 at 9:01 PM
    • Eve_Osir1s kwnyupstate .

      I specifically left these out for a reason as I do not want to give credence to the “oh buy more upfront and it’s the same” argument. I tried to stay focused on this article. I do touch on it in a sense under the “What is the Money Going to?” and the “Throw Money At the Problem” sections. These two touch on the long term aspects of the money CCP is trying to raise and how that money is likely not going to spent in ways most of the playerbase hopes for.

      This is the crux of the issue I have with it all: It is basically CCP trying to force the players to invest into a CCP project. This is normally unsuccessful companies have to ask a bank for. This is something that successful companies do with their success.

      CCP have essentially trending water at this point. It’s a company that is neither sinking (well maybe not yet), or swimming. Instead of asking a banker or using their success to invest, they are trying to get the playerbase to crowdfund their pet projects. They are trying to fund these pet projects with these long-term sub plans and huge discounts for large sums of money.

      And furthermore, they are trying to avoid repercussions of shit design decisions where people unsub. Their entire strategy is summed up with my statement : “they can rest easy knowing they already have your money.” Their entire strategy revolves around removing customer power by removing the power of the customer to vote with their wallet.

      You are absolutely correct in that CCP are quite clearly trying to herd people into the longer sub times. This alone is worth another article to explore. People are giving up so much power just because it looks like a good idea.

      April 26, 2022 at 9:43 PM
      • kwnyupstate . Eve_Osir1s

        CCP wants a long term abusive relationship which people can’t or are too invested in to leave. They want to beat us up and have us second guess leaving because we spent $650 on plex or bought 2 years of subs.
        And the cost of being able to quickly unsub is paying through the nose for a monthly sub.
        I also think every time someone goes to fanfest or any CCP sponsored eve event they are part of the problem by continuing to give CCP positive feedback.
        People wanting to be on the CSM and taking their time to travel to Iceland is another huge problem. Actually being on the CSM and thinking or saying you will have a positive effect by guiding CCP is hugely laughable at this point seeing how they disregard the CSM’s opinion and guidance.
        The next time a CSM election happens we might as well all vote for the dumbest people ever as a MEME to fill the CSM with Borat impersonators.

        April 27, 2022 at 12:48 AM
  • Xa1n

    Sad day.

    April 27, 2022 at 6:22 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Xa1n

      But long over due, one can only hope this is the push that finally puts eve over the cliff so all the people only playing becuse they’ve played for this long can find a game to play that actually appreciates them. FFXIV is a great place to start.

      April 27, 2022 at 11:45 PM
  • Jeet_Kundo

    It’s a joke, still need to understand what part of their OPEX increased in such a disproportionate level to inflation that somehow warrants this. I was considering coming back and the first thing is the hike. Can I afford it? Yes, thankfully now. Could I have afforded it before, no. Hate to chop on the %’s between cost but it seems a bit off – you’re going to spend 25.4% & 23.3% more per month, $108 & $100 more per 2 year cycle, compared to FFXIV and WoW respectively.

    The “dudebro it’s just $60 more a year if you don’t pay a lump-sum” argument can be made to the moon but the rebuke is simply what has CCP done to have the playerbase feel like they’ve earned that extra $60/year, nonetheless what has CCP done to make players feel like they’ve earned an upfront $150? I can without a doubt state that there would be substantially less people pissed off at this if the game was not in the state that it’s in now, is that extra $5/mo going to fix shit in a timely manner and get them to listen? Probably not, so I don’t want to pay it. It’d take another war in our pocket for me to feel like $20 would be worth it – and I’d be paying for the content that we make.

    May 2, 2022 at 6:17 AM