CCP: Subs “Flawed”, Eve “Hurt”

By Jim Rossignol on October 21st, 2011 at 5:33 pm.

No Hawaiian short today.
Speaking to Eurogamer, CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson has explained a bit about what’s been going on with the Icelandic MMO company: “the message is that we have heard you and we are now taking action to be more aligned with the needs of Eve Online. As a company, we’ve been trying to achieve many things and it was just too much to do at the same time. Eve Online has hurt for it.” He also spoke about the layoffs, saying: “A lot of great people are leaving the company through this process, famous or otherwise. The people who are recognised members of the community get more of a spotlight but there are a lot of people leaving CCP at this juncture.”

Meanwhile, CCP’s Kristoffer Touborg has been talking to Gamespot, where he said: “I think designing a new subscription-based game is a flawed strategy, because you are basically competing with free.” He also called it a “trend”, and I would be surprised if companies didn’t find a way to bring subscriptions back. Interesting, anyway.

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35 Comments »

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  1. JackDandy says:

    Though I don’t play it, I can only hope EVE will flourish from the increased attention from the devs again.

  2. Sigvatr says:

    “Sorry we tried to take all of your money; please give us our money back.”

  3. pakoito says:

    CCP is 5% of the PIB of the country.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Don’t worry, I bought a few .is domains. That should stimulate the Icelandic economy.

  4. xavdeman says:

    EVE going Free-To-Play? I called it! On a more serious note, finish Dust, save EVE.

    • Chickenfeed says:

      I super-mega-highly doubt EVE will officially go free to play. Dedicated players can already play it for free!

  5. TillEulenspiegel says:

    “I think designing a new subscription-based game is a flawed strategy, because you are basically competing with free.”

    Well, sort of. More importantly, you’re competing with one-time fee games. I think for most people, there’s a fairly large psychological hurdle between paying for something once and making a commitment to pay for it every month, even if you can cancel at any time. It’s buying a game vs. buying game time which expires even if you don’t use it.

    I still think the Guild Wars model is the future of great MMOs. Pay once, then pay for optional expansions if you want.

    • Jumwa says:

      I don’t know if that would turn out to be the dominate model, but it’s definitely the one that suits me best.

      Every time I try out a new MMO I just end up purchasing a months worth of guilt as I struggle with the fact I don’t have the time and/or inclination to make it worth the investment, then cancel the subscription because it was a waste of money.

      The free-to-play model is interesting, but if you don’t invest in either A) a subscription or B) a sizable amount of money to buy access to the things that make the game ‘playable’ (such as, for example, removing gold caps, buying quest-packs, etc.,) then it’s just not worth it.

      But then there’s the Guild Wars model. Which hits the right spots for me. One time purchase to play as often as I like, and if I get into it, I can (and most likely will) sink some extra dough into silly, pretty novelties like cosmetic clothing.

    • mmorpg games says:

      niche games, can survive very well with subscription, mainstream games only if they go like WOW or they have a high quality keeping a 500k-1mil subs. So that guy is an idiot.

      Most of the niche sandbox games, are played by mature players with mmo experience, and they like a challenge, but there are some young people from age 16-20 which are a minority that play these games. By having a subscription you keep a healthy population, and keep out some of the players you wouldn’t want on your server. “OMG HAX!” etc etc.

      Unfortunately EVE is going buh bye slowly, since the people in charge, lost it since 2008 and i dont think will ever recover. They will probably turn into something more mainstream and casual..

      The first sign was the blobs, lost direction of design and concept, and DUST 514 lol

  6. piderman says:

    Subscriptions will make a return once people realise it’s actually cheaper than buying all those small items that developers will keep putting in games.

  7. iamseb says:

    I want to believe. Eve holds a unique place in the gaming world, and it deserves more love than it’s gotten from CCP in recent years.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Indeed. A game built on freedom, totally dominated by super-capitals – which require you to submit that freedom to the control of an alliance in order to get access to.

  8. kororas says:

    “…and I would be surprised if companies didn’t find a way to bring subscriptions back”

    Lets be fair, companies would want to bring that back and have micro-transactions on top, if they could get away with it.

    • Khann says:

      Sadly, they can and will.

    • Jumwa says:

      WoW already does do both and has for a while (plus charging for expansions too). EVE attempted the same, but didn’t go about it as deviously as Blizzard, and thereby didn’t get away with it however.

      Blizzard started by offering a bunch of MTA mini-pets, then gave a portion of one of those pets sales for a limited time to a charity. Because that was too many caveats for people to wrap their heads around apparently, everyone just spread the word that the mini-pets were for charity and hardly anyone kicked a stink about the addition of MTAs in a subscription based game.

      They kept that going for a while, and now they don’t even normally include the one partial charity thing to throw people off anymore. Tricksy.

  9. Det says:

    AND THERE GOES HALF OF ISELAND’S ECONOMY :V
    I feel that EVE is something that needs to exist.

  10. diamondmx says:

    “Does that mean we will be a subscriber-based game in five or 10 years? Maybe not, but as it currently stands, we have 400,000 subscribers, and there’s really no reason to turn that bucket upside down.”

    Well that’s an interesting statement.

  11. Starky says:

    Oh god this bloody spam filter let me fucking post!

    • Starky says:

      Fuck it tried typing a post 3 fucking times, variations of the same point and the spam filter has eaten each one – maybe because it involved words related to money and payment…

      So yeah, sod it.

  12. Levanon says:

    Funny that they think it’ll be possible for devs to bring back the concept of subscriptions. All you have to do is provide regular new content and fixes, and people are more than happy to subscribe. Like… you know…. CCP used to do.

    That said, I’m ever so pleased at the amount of reasonable thought coming out of CCP these days. I fully have faith that they’ll make Eve great again.

  13. Pointless Puppies says:

    If it becomes free to play, isn’t that going to screw with the in-game economy? I don’t play EVE, but I’ve heard a very large number of people pay for their subscription with ISK, so removing all of those transactions would kind of change things around. Not sure what kind of impact it’ll have though, maybe it wouldn’t do anything significant <_<

    • buzzmong says:

      @ Pointless Puppies.

      Turning it free-to-play would probably smash the economy into pieces unless they go full out and give up the subscriptions (it would be impossible to two tier it), so I’d be surprised if they do.

      As for people paying ISK to play. Kinda. Anyone can buy a PLEX, which is an ingame item which is redeemable for 30 days gametime. While PLEX are traded on the open ingame market for ISK, which allows some people to play only with ISK, someone somewhere has had to pay CCP in ££ to get the PLEX.

      In short: CCP still get the same amount of real life money per player, just less directly.

  14. ludde says:

    I really don’t get this. What good free to play MMOs are there anyway? I haven’t seen a single one.

    Regardless, I’d much rather pay a subscription than constantly have to worry about micro-transactions. I don’t see the appeal of that at all.

    • Psychochild says:

      Depends on what you find “good”. I particularly like Dungeons & Dragons Online as a free-to-play game. (Although I’m not quite so fond of the changes to LotRO.) Puzzle Pirates is also good if you like puzzle-themed games. If indie games are more your style, you can check out Star Corsairs (http://www.starcorsairs.com/) that has a more casual take on economic-focused space gameplay sandbox.

      The big thing I like is control. If cash is a bit short, you can usually continue to play a free-to-play game. Sure, you might not be able to buy the latest shiny hat or have immediate access to the latest content, but you’ll do fine. I find it also easier to control expenses; I know precisely how much I’ve spent in the few years I’ve played DDO ($100), but I’d have to dig through old credit card statements to figure out how much I paid to play WoW over the years. (Although I know I’ve spent more than $100 just on buying the expansions at retail… damned collector’s editions!)

      Yeah, there’s a ton of poor Asian game ports that can leave a bad taste in your mouth. And, some of the larger companies have attempted to squeeze customers by having it all. But, I a well-done free-to-pay model works better for the customer. And, for an indie developer, it’s much easier to give someone a free “taste” of the game and then get them to pay for it later (even allowing them to pay a lot if they really love the game and have the money to spend) rather than demanding a subscription agreement.

      Caveat: I’m (a mostly indie) MMO dev and like the free-to-play model as both a player and a developer.

  15. buzzmong says:

    As an aside, reading that Eurogamer article with the snippit on the NEX Store and also the Gamespot one and putting other stuff into the mix like CCP stopping publication of the QEN and refusing to answer any questions about it on the forums, I think that the NEX Store has not just been a failure, but an utter disaster for CCP.

    Not surprising considering the unofficial forum polls were only showing 5 or 6% of people who answered it to be in favour of it with around 75% to be dead set against it, the gap being made of “Don’t care”s and “Acceptable if vanity only” people.

    I just hope they step up and remove the damn thing. It’s quite a blight on EVE’s sandbox.

  16. Duoae says:

    Maybe i’m just tired because it’s late here and B:AC is too awesome…. but:

    where he said: “I think designing a new subscription-based game is a flawed strategy, because you are basically competing with free.” He also called it a “trend”, and I would be surprised if companies didn’t find a way to bring subscriptions back. Interesting, anyway.

    Makes no sense to me. I mean, okay, the first half does but the second sentence runs on.. confusing “speaker” with “reporter”.. or is that my imagination. Let me interpret:

    Toubourg called it “a trend” and I, the writer, would be surprised if companies didn’t find a way to bring back subscriptions.

    Which… well, it’s kind of out of the blue there. Why and how would they do this? Where is this inkling coming from other than companies exist to make the maximum profit possible? Thus you could easily also add in any other form of money generation into that final sentence.

    I guess i’m feeling a bit nit-picky.

  17. jp0249107 says:

    I really liked EVE for the two months I played it, but I read one too many stories about how the only way you could get into large scale PvP engagements was to get accepted into a corp that required you to have an advanced degree in the game to even function. I’m all for things being complicated and hardcore (I’m an avid Project Reality gamer), but the barrier of entry for the stuff I REALLY wanted to get into was too high.

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  19. BobsLawnService says:

    A quick wquestion about Eve – is it possible for a lone wolf type player to save enough to buy a powerful enough ship to survive and prosper in the free-for-all unpoliced areas?

    • mmalove says:

      Prosper? Sure. But I wouldn’t expect to survive: death is kinda a part of EVE unless you plan to go cloak/afk/log off everytime someone comes into system.

    • Finarfin Greenleaves says:

      It is possible. I lived in hostile nullsec on my own for a while with only 1 account. It can be very profitable but you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you have no experience with EvE at all it will be a very bumpy ride tho. Be prepared for countless deaths till you learn the ropes.

  20. bit_crusherrr says:

    I’d love to resub to EVE but I can’t justify £14 a month. I’d probably still play if they didn’t change timecode’s prices. Or put in a £8.99 subscription for the UK to bring it in line with every other MMO.

    • buzzmong says:

      @Bit_crusherrr.

      Abuse the exchange rates via GameTimeCards. It’s possible to pay about £9-10 for a GTC if you buy the code from the states.

      CCP systems don’t care where you bought the code from, only that it’s valid when you enter it.

  21. Finarfin Greenleaves says:

    Thats the right way to do it. I bought quite a lot of GTC from US resellers at the peak of the euro strength. They were laughable cheap and lasted me a long time.

    edit: This was supposed to be a reply to the above post. I pressed the right reply button. :/