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.
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?
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.
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.