The MMOnitor: CCP and Eve

By Dan Griliopoulos on February 26th, 2012 at 10:53 am.


We caught up with Hilmar Pétursson, CEO, and David Reid, CMO, of CCP to talk about Eve Online, Dust 514, the Tranquility super-computer’s consciousness, MMORPG saturation, CCP as a cloud-gaming platform, World of Darkness, and Eve’s future potential as a gestalt societal consciousness.

RPS: Quickly, tell us about the state of play of Eve – how many subscribers have you got?

Pétursson: As you know, last year was quite eventful. It ended on a high note with Crucible coming out and, I think, being universally critically-acclaimed. We won some awards from the MMO sites, but also the fact that Eve grew in 2011, so maintaining its year-on-year growth since 2003.

Reid: That might be unique in the industry, with World of Warcraft taking a dive last year. Eve is the one game that has grown every year since it launched, the only one. We’re very proud of that.

RPS: And you’ve never altered your profit model either.

Pétursson: No, we’ve maintained our subscription price. We’ve even raised it a couple of times, because we started so early.

RPS: Every time you’ve updated the game, you’ve kept it cutting edge.

Pétursson: Exactly. Some could argue that we’ve brought it too close to the cutting edge. (laughs)

Reid: Any good, ambitious developer is going to do that sometimes. If you don’t push hard and you don’t test the frontiers of what’s possible, you don’t have something that’s very exciting. One of the things that’s distinct about Eve and CCP, in comparison to standard MMOs like WoW , is that you’re getting a lot that’s the same from those other companies but Eve year after year continues to add new elements and gameplay. It’s not just zones or monsters, there are new play patterns all the time. If you think it’s been interesting over the past eight years, wait until Dust connects. It is a whole new universe being built with this.

RPS: The way that Dust connects into the Eve universe, through that space elevator – will PS3 players be able to wander around the inside of stations then?

Pétursson: Not initially. The two experiences are going to be more and more crafted over time. It starts with really meaningful connectivity in the beginning and built on that, like most games in the Eve universe, we’ve taken feedback from customers, what people are excited about, and followed that along.

RPS: How do the Dust players communicate with Eve players?

Pétursson: Already, we’re up and running with text chat between the two games. There will also be Evegate, a social networking tool in the universe, and we’re looking at allowing them to voice chat. We haven’t completed this yet.

RPS: And that shared tech, is that the shared backend you’re using for World of Darkness too?

Pétursson: Basically the supercomputer that runs Eve Online has increased quite a lot in size, technically it’s running a lot of the Dust aspect as well but then of course the FPS has a massive market share that’s distributed around the world. We’ll be running it on the Tranquility cluster in London. When it comes to World of Darkness, we’ll instance all that know-how and tech into a separate world onto its own separate supercomputer.

RPS: Most MMO guys don’t have one supercomputer and you want two? Fine.

Reid: It does speak to what’s unique here, right? Whether it’s Eve plus World of Darkness and Dust, and how they expand over time… it’s easy to forget, against everything else that’s out there, with everything being sharded, how shallow those experiences tend to be and how meaningful action in Eve is compared to another game. It takes a supercomputer to run a universe, right? It’s not simply sharding a bunch of zones, it’s very different.


RPS: I started playing SW:TOR recently, as everyone else you ever talk to will have done; I joined late, so asked my Twitter friends which server should I join? I got 20 different replies. They’re all different servers and different levels, so I can’t play with my friends. That’s broken.

Pétursson: People have often forget how much these different levels segregate the play experience. That’s something we’ve always tried to maintain in Eve, that all different players add to each other’s experience. Instead of gating people from each other through levels segregation, if you start playing Eve with a friend who’s been a veteran for many years. You immediately add value to each other’s experience; that’s something which was a huge focus for us in the beginning and was part of the reason why the game has had these long legs. It’s a way in which its social networking extends across countries, play styles, languages and cultures.

Reid: and frankly, it’s about to extend again, in terms of genres and platforms. If you choose to play Dust as a standard, first-person shooter experience, you’ll have the opportunity to do that and just buddy up with friends and take on other players; but the true depth in the tapestry is that you’ll be able to do in Eve what you’ve done for eight years now and have infantry troops on the ground on these planets doing work alongside you to propel the efforts of your corporations forward, by hiring mercenaries or whatever. Groups of crackshot snipers are going to build their gangs in Dust, they’re going to sell their services to the highest bidders amongst the Eve starfleet captains. It comes back to what Hilmar was saying, that everyone’s actions and contributions matter. You don’t have to have been playing this game for five years to make a difference. Certainly if you know the game better and progress further, you’ll make a bigger impact, but from the very beginning every ripple you throw into the pond does impact every other individual that’s out there.

RPS: It’s a model that’s very liberal / egalitarian and speaks to specialisation, like Planetside; everyone is valuable, every extra body is an advantage.

Pétursson: That’s hard for new players when they start; if you specialise early on, they can actually catch up with the veterns. As you become older, you become more diversified. The gap is not that big, despite it being out for years. We’ve seen many examples of players rushing to the top of the Eve Online social-political sphere by just being very methodical and specialised about it. That’s really where this comes from, new players are able to fashion and impact the world, through specialisation they’re able to impact it faster.

RPS: Can you link Eve accounts with Dust accounts? Can you take your Eve character to the battlefield?

Pétursson: Right now, we’re focused on play-testing, so the new users can jump into a fantastic AAA shooter. We try to not complicate that too much, so certainly convenience features like you suggest will happen further down the pipeline. We’re also rolling out to have feedback from the Eve players about how they want that to go; that’s one of the things we’ll be talking to the Fanfest this year, through roundtables and panels, and present how the Eve aspect of Dust is going to add value and gameplay for Eve players, and convenience features like you suggest, what the priority is. The Council of Stellar Management, our elected player body, will also guide us and help us align with what players want.

RPS: It’s probably changed a lot since you refined the starting user experience, but you used to have a very steep drop-off rate in the number of new people persisting after the free trial. Do you think Dust 514 will partially act as a marketing tool to get people to try Eve?

Pétursson: I certainly wouldn’t think about it as a marketing tool. Eve is a very particular type of experience, made for people who want to commit a lot of energy to have a game experience like that. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of people interested in the Eve universe, the single shard and the political drama, but might not be particularly looking for an experience like the game itself. We see Dust as a way to allow people to participate in this universe by offering them a more intuitive, familiar, speedier, quicker, shorter time-commitment type of experience. It’s more about addressing that need, of letting them play the game as they want to, while still adding to the shared experience.

Reid: At some level, it wasn’t deliberately designed to be a marketing vehicle for Eve, but if you release a shooter of this quality on the Playstation network with its tens of millions of people who are very familiar with Battlefield and Call of Duty and other great shooters, and you put it out there as a free-to-play game then you will get a huge response, which will generate huge excitement for the Eve universe. So, yes, I fully expect that one of the ancillary benefits of launching of Dust will be tremendous “Marketing-esque”, I’ll put that in quotes, exposure. A reminder that, if you took a break from Eve or even if you’ve been continually playing it, you’re going to need to experience what this new facet is. It’s such a groundbreaking thing, to combine a FPS with this Sci-Fi MMORPG … it wasn’t intended to be a marketing moment, but it absolutely will be.

RPS: Do you think that this cross-platform element of MMOs is the future? Many developers have experimented with applications for phones and tablets, but you’re the only one that’s gone out to a console and gone “we’re going to integrate our universe with this.”

Pétursson: I made the point at the Cloud Gaming Conference that you can almost think of Eve as a cloud, with things linked up to it by multiple approach vectors. I’ve taken inspiration from the Eve community, which has made an amazing amount of applications, for wiring in mobile devices and additional PC clients, through the little gateway we’ve provided in the form of the Eve API. One of the high points of adding Dust 514 to the Eve universe is that we’ve thoroughly extended what used to be the Eve API, which will have its own product name once we’ve released it, but the technology base really allows for much richer interactivity through various devices, which we at CCP provide, or the grassroots developer community around Eve Online provide. Just to show the desire to access Eve through multiple devices, the Android applications have as many as 500,000 downloads on the Android app store.

Reid: At the Cloud Gaming Conference, we did hear a lot about how gaming equals distribution. And, sure, there is a piece of that. But what really is exciting here is that building content that exploits that technology isn’t just using another distribution model. When I first met the guys at CCP, I was at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta; there’s an interesting example of a company that was born in one of these technology shifts, where suddenly cable TV became a big deal. There were companies using cable to distribute their existing content and Turner was one of the first to say “well, there’s new kinds of content to make because of cable as a distribution option.” I do not know that there is another company that could claim to be as far along in using cloud computing as way to design new types of content, new types of experience, new windows into this unique universe and not just as a way to distribute and stream games. I mean, sure, that’s important hat’s going to help change the business to make it better for consumers, but that’s a far cry from making content that explicitly exploits and harnesses the power of cloud computing. Not a lot of companies are doing that in the way that CCP are.

RPS: Have you thought of taking technology from firms like Gaikai, so that you can project Eve onto other devices?

Pétursson: Well, no. What they are providing is the ability to stream a PC experience onto any device, a fantastic technology, something we are considering integrating into the value of Eve. It certainly has a lot of potential when it comes to allowing people to try the game out quickly and frankly at the conference I just thought of having the Eve character creator on my iPad, what an amazing thing that would do, and the ease of integration is inspiring. But we try to think of what we’re doing as a different breed of cloud gaming, not to get into semantics, but the technology Eve cloud, this persistent single-sharded massive supercomputer which you interact with through multiple devices and experiences. When you look at how far we are along that path, even though we haven’t called it cloud-gaming, it’s quite inspiring…


RPS: Yeah, also you’d probably need another supercomputer in the same location as the old one, just to handle all the people streaming.

Reid: (laughs) it’s a fine problem to have.

RPS: Obviously, Kurzweil talked about the singularity, that is the exponential advance of computing speeds, and he predicted that in about eight years time supercomputers will be powerful enough to simulate the human brain. Given that, are you ever worried about the future Tranquility becoming conscious and kicking all your players out?

Pétursson: (laughs) What I would become worried about is that if you calculate all the brain power from the up to 60,000 people connected to the Eve cluster at any given moment, who are harnessing their energy into the creation of this world… then 60,000 brains connected into a super-computer could become a super-society so simulating the brain of a single person becomes trivial when taken against that.

RPS: Looking at World of Darkness, you’re not talking about it at the moment as it’s on the back burner while you focus on Dust. Do you know when you’ll be refocussing on it.

Pétursson: We have a kick-ass core team on World of Darkness already and it’s inspiring to see how much progress they’ve made, ever since we went through last year’s restructuring. There’s no need to worry about World of Darkness. That team is kicking ass and taking names.

Reid: Having rolled over here from Trion and NCsoft myself, the team on World of Darkness is the size of a AAA game team. It’s part of me being excited about this transition and coming in here, is seeing that dedication to an absolutely spectacular opportunity, to take the magic that’s been inherent in Eve all these years, taking it to an intellectual property with the rich history that WoD does, set in the modern era, tells a story that everyone knows, which men and women both love. All the success of Eve is fabulous, in the hardest-core genre imaginable – imagine that experience and success in a property that _everybody_ can get their brain round and be excited about from day one. The company has not been shy about putting its resources there in parallel with Eve and Dust has been inspiring for me, admittedly as a suit.

RPS: Recently the head of EA Games and the head of Activision have said, in summary, subscriptions are dead and the SWTOR model is archaic. Do you think developers are moving towards the F2P and Turbine models?

Pétursson: I think companies will have less and less control over their business model, it’ll be up to the player to decide how they want to pay for their gaming. We introduced Plex into Eve Online, the pilot license extension, which allows Eve players to freely trade a month of subscription within the game, which means a large proportion of the playerbase pays for the game through playing the game, and another portion of the player base is buying currency from other players through this subscription item, so they pay more than their $15. Through this we see that some people want to pay more, some less, giving them the freedom to choose. We’ve certainly learned that last summer when we didn’t give people a choice in the expansion we released, which took away things like ships spinning. The choice of how to play, how to play, what device, where, when…

Reid: It’s hard to say that the subscription model is dead; but it’s clear that mandatory subscription is a bit of outdated thinking in some respects. I don’t imagine that people will be willing to stop playing for subscriptions. I don’t know if World of Tanks or League of Legends are MMOS, but they certainly are online games with live services, recurring revenue and continuous development, and they have shown you can build good businesses without the mandatory subscription. Perhaps, the Turbine example, is an indicator that those who rely solely on subscriptions may be hamstringing themselves. Why would you limit yourself?

Pétursson: You can see it with some of the F2P devs out there, that they offer subscriptions where you can subscribe to currency over time. It is the player’s decision, how they play, what they want to pay. The company, frankly, shouldn’t have an opinion on this as it’s in the control of the consumer.

RPS: It’s like the Vegas gambling tables and the way they split their tables according to ante; it’s about segmenting your market. Think of Bigpoint’s F2P game Dark Orbit and its $1000 drones

Reid: Again, it’s not just online games. Think about golf. A lot of people are happy to carry their clubs. A lot of people rent a golf cart, have a driver, hire a caddy, buy the super high-end premium clubs for thousands of dollars… they all play golf, they’re all having fun, and they’re all putting the amount of time and money into their hobby that they choose to at the level of wealth. It’s very similar analogy to people at the blackjack table.

Pétursson: Going back to the Plex system we created, we see people playing for free, or paying as much into the game as they want.


RPS: I don’t want to talk too much about the controversies you’ve had, as they’ve been dealt with extensively elsewhere, but why do you think Eve generates so many more high profile controversies?

Pétursson: I think it’s solely from the passion players have for the MMO. Our players hold CCP to a very high standard and every time we don’t meet that standard we hear about it. Fortunately, we’ve listened and reacted and will continue to do that. I would say that the reason you have lots of passionate complaints, is because there’s a lot of passion in Eve Online. So when people protested in an “Occupy Wall Street” moment in Eve Online, here are our players not happy, we’ll listen and adapt. That’s one of the side effects of being on the cutting edge, sometimes you make mistakes.

RPS: Going back to the way you’ve turned the monthly subscription in the game – have you found it’s become devalued or overvalued through market saturation?

Pétursson: There is some fluctuation in the extreme rate between the subscription and the ISK cost, in-game. Some people even speculate on that – people hoard the subscriptions ahead of an expansion because they know there’s going to be higher demand. Overall, it’s pretty stable, and we run a pretty tight control of the economy, with our chief Economist who monitors this and a team of people who act as our Statistics Bureau, and we try to stay ahead of it if someone’s speculating on the market to corner it and drive up prices.

RPS: Has it been affected by the Euro crisis at all?

Reid: (laughs)

Pétursson: No, I don’t think we can correlate it to that.

Reid: Although, that’s interesting to think about; that the question is even worth contemplating for a moment, speaks to something about this game and community. This is really different from selling platinum in Rift.

Pétursson: Please don’t write that Plex caused the Euro crisis!

RPS: Obviously, it’s a standard journalist headline-chasing technique to find out if countries are fitting their stereotypes from other countries in a given MMO world, but have you ever had a trouble with the national divides in Eve? I know that the Russian players originally only communicated in Cyrillic, and hence couldn’t talk to other players.

Pétursson: I wouldn’t call them trouble per se, I’ve heard many players speak positively about how international an experience Eve is, where everybody is allowed to play together, because usually the way that people set up the shards is that only people from one country play together. It’s a rare difference to paly with people from around the world. We have many examples of it, but the Russians are a great example of a people who’ve really bonded together and created quite a dominant force in the game. There’s a lot of context and excitement to it. Overall, it’s spoken very positively of by players. It adds spice and colour that people are not used to, it’s unique.

RPS: Back to the economy, how do you handle bubbles?

Pétursson: Yes, we see lots of examples of price bubbles actually and that’s something that Dr Eyjo (Gudmundsson), our economist, has spoken of at conferences. We see several examples when we release new technology into the game, like new modules or spaceships, and as soon as people see it on the test server, they start speculating on the real server based on the mineral composition. That becomes a classic economic concept of a price bubble and it’s interesting how we’re constantly proving and disproving economic theory through Eve Online. You should interview him actually, he’s much more interesting and key to Eve than David or I.


RPS: Do you that think the MMO market will reach a saturation level? Personally, I think the market for the WoW model might be saturated and possibly declining right now.

Pétursson: It’s ultimately about innovation and staying with how consumers would like to consume their entertainment, staying with the cloud gaming concept of having multiple experiences across multiple devices. People have these powerful phones now which people spend a lot of time on. I look at my phone first thing every morning; if I could check my Eve skills and train them and check the market… that is something Eve player wants to do. As long as the industry keeps tune with that, we’re far from any saturation point but if we copy the same thing over and over, that strategy will obviously reach a saturation point, a red ocean competitive environment where people are competing for the same thing and same audience. The key thing to the industry is to remain relevant.

Reid: You make a good point; how many fantasy MMORPGs with tanks, healers and DPSes can the consumer base swallow at one time? It’s a very fair question. Are we starting to see that, starting to be less exciting to the audience. The notion of, at its core essence, of what an MMO is; of a game that allows for persistence and massive socialisation, yet I still as an individual have a unique identity in that universe… it really feels like this is something that hasn’t any cap in sight. I don’t want if I’d want to invest in the next great fantasy MMORPG, but I wouldn’t want to put my money anywhere else but in this sector.

RPS: Just a personal one, ignoring your own stuff, what game would you want everyone to play and what book would you want everyone to read?

Pétursson: Dark Souls. Certainly that is for me a really interesting game, very different and challenging, which I think perhaps games have lost a little bit, gone more and more mainstream. I’m not really involved with the development hands-on now, but what we wanted to create is a challenging experience and Dark Souls is in that category.

Reid: It’s funny, the two books I most recently read were by the same author, Michael Lewis. The Moneyball movie just came out on that, but it was such a fascinating book to read, the idea there, but the notion that this tiny team could be competitive with the New York Yankees and the largest payroll in professional baseball, was fascinating. It came down to boiling the art of baseball down to its scientific statistics. The resistance that the industry had, all the baseball loyalists hated it. Then I just finished Boomerang, basically a historical retrospective on how the ease of cheap credit has permeated all these Western economies; for a five chapter book it was fascinating, chapter 1 Iceland, Chapter 2 Greece, then Ireland, Germany and California. You read it and say “how did we not all see this economic drama coming?”

The game I’ve not had enough time to play, with this transition, is Skyrim. I love the craftsmanship in the Bethesda universes; I’m very pleased that they’re still making single-player AAA games, because I personally love that, and as a businessman in the industry, I’m glad that they’re not making a bunch of MMOs that I have to compete with. I’m so glad that Skyrim exists – and I know that I’ve only scratched the surface.

RPS: What Dark Souls does with the souls of other players, so you can see how they died or call them into help. It feels like a Skyrim game, but because it’s so difficult you need that help, so the ghosts really work.

Pétursson: Exactly. Very innovative. What they’ve done with multiplayer online in a very unusual way, absolutely… It’s been a while since I’ve had time to read a book. I have a book on my table I’m going to read, called the Invisible Gorilla, recommended by one of our designers, about the way the human mind has these bugs to it, which are very important for cognitive thought.

RPS: I hope you take advantage of them. Thanks for your time!

__________________

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80 Comments »

  1. eks says:

    Please tell me that where it says “Flex” it’s just typos by the author/RPS and the CEO and CMO aren’t actually incorrectly calling it that (it’s PLEX).

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Just Dan’s hasty transcribings. Fixed.

    • noascvasu says:

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    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Yes, to get through many thousands of words I type too quickly. Must factcheck better.

  2. Hanban says:

    For anyone interested in EVE, Rock Paper Shotgun Holdings the most wonderful corporation in New Eden is right around the corner. Just head on to the community section in the RPS forum and you’ll find us!

    • Timberfox says:

      If i steal from, or just stab you in the back, will that make me an ass, or will i just be demonstrating how amazing eve is?

    • Hanban says:

      @TimberFox

      I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive!

    • heker_88 says:

      I joined the corp a week ago and I’v already had more fun with them then I ever had on eve playing solo before. They easy going and really nice to noob players and you can become useful almost instantly and find a place among the big team fights.

    • Swanny says:

      You know, this might just get me into Eve. Been wanting to try it for a while.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      I’m horribly busy with university and other projects, there’s Guild Wars 2 looming on the horizon, I’ve exhausted four trials up already without really getting sucked in (though I didn’t join a corporation)… Yet I’m still extremely tempted to give the game a shot, again.

      Would RPS Holdings be interested in an unreliable, crappy newbie with time management issues? Also, is paying your monthly fee through ingame currency actually feasible for the common layperson?

    • Hanban says:

      @FriendlyFire

      We’re a corp of adults with the lives of adults. Hence we are very understanding of the fact that people have lives outside of EVE. So if you’re interested in joining fill free to come join us.

    • PsyComa says:

      @FriendlyFire: To complement Hanban’s answer, yes, it is feasible to pay the game with in-game currency after awhile. How long until you hit that point will depend on what you like doing in-game as well as the frequency you die in a horrible fire!

      Again, the thread is up in the rps forums and we are open to new recruits!

    • Hoarr says:

      For anyone who is doubting how effective you can be right from the start, one of our new FCs just took a frigate gang out last night with rather spectacular results: http://rpsh.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=12578362. The entire cost of the gang used to kill that battleship was somewhere around a 30 – 40 mil; roughly a fifth of the cost.

    • mentor07825 says:

      The lads in RPS Holdings are good. While I’m not part of their corp they are pretty chill to hang out with. For that matter, I’m always in their public channel and always happy to answer any and all questions related to the game. I’m a guest lecturer in Eve University and I’ve been around the game. Also, good laughs are had in the public channel.

      -Darth Brole

  3. Blush Response says:

    > Dark Souls

    CCP are so cool.

    Btw, is it impossible to login to this site with Opera?

    • lurkalisk says:

      Not entirely, you need to login, then go to said page and refresh it. I don’t know why, but that’s the key.

    • Blush Response says:

      Oh okay, I’ll try that. It is weird how after logging in it takes you to the front page instead of the thing you wanted to comment on. Also I have to login every day, I guess that “Remember Me” checkmark does nothing?

      Can the RPS smarty-men make this better?

  4. UniuM says:

    i’m an eve player looking forward for Dust514…..

    But the thing is… when finally comes out, Do i hire myself to go and kill stuff ? lol

    Anywho… i signed up for beta, and if you see this comment mister Hilmar…. plz… let me in! I Bought zee freaking buggy PS3 to play Dust! :D

    Cumpz
    Uni \o

  5. milkmansrevenge says:

    I’m still not clear on why Dust 514 is PS3 exclusive? I would love to play it and it might even get me back into Eve… but not like this.

    I don’t think “we don’t want to cannibalise our own player-base” is a satisfactory response and am surprised that RPS is still giving so much coverage to CCP considering how they have snubbed their PC fan base.

    • buzzmong says:

      CCP couldn’t do it on the 360 alongside the PS3 as MS are rather (understandably) precious about having to tie Xbox Live in with CCP’s servers. Due to PSN being free, I think Sony have an easier time of it.

      As for it not coming out on PC…I suspect it will once it either bombs on PS3 (it’s a grand experiment as Dust has a F2P model run by an item shop, which I don’t think the PS3 users will like) or once their exclusivity agreement with Sony runs out.

    • paterah says:

      Lol another “snubbed the PC players” comment as if they are entitled to all their future titles.

    • AgamemnonV2 says:

      @paterah: No, yeah. Those PC duds who keep their families fed and the lights turned on should learn their place in peasant society if they ever think they should be allowed to enjoy a universe they have been funding for nearly a decade. Damn dirty peasants. Makes me want to beat them with their straw hats every time they ask for a port of Halo 3.

    • milkmansrevenge says:

      @buzzmong I can understand why it is not on the Xbox, that was probably fairly wise of them. I really do hope at some point they make it available on the PC.

      @paterah I know that their fans aren’t by default entitled access to new releases, but we’ve all seen companies suffer for not treating existing customers well, I just hope this doesn’t happen to CCP because they are trying new things; albeit in a somewhat questionable way.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      i dont get it?
      having it on ps3 is got to be the dumbest thing ive ever heard. how much longer is that console going to be around for anway? its tech is what, 5 years old already!?
      not that i give a shit, but will they transfer the game to the next console sony bring out?how does this stupid decision pan out?
      it baffles me how they think this is going to be a success.

    • Gasmask Hero says:

      @nrvsNRG

      Simply put, if you’re playing DUST514 you’re not playing EVE. Sure, there’ll be those who will be willing to dual box and go shoot some mans whilst AFK mining, but I suspect they’re in the minority and CCP know it.

    • Antsy says:

      Yeah, if you’re playing EVE you’re not knitting a jumper. Am I doing this right?

    • nrvsNRG says:

      @Gasmask Hero

      ok,so if this is all about optimal profit with having least impact on subscription numbers of eve, then why even bother?they should have confidence in their game no matter where it goes.having it on PC may even bring in more numbers (FPS gamers) for EVE after ppl are introduced to it.it doesnt seem worth the effort unless this is on PC platform where it belongs.
      like i asked before, how long is that console even going to be around for?
      are they really scared that eve subscribers would leave their accounts to play an mmo FPS?i dont think so. and the ones that did would make up for it in the money they spend on dust.
      and do they expect those eve fans that might have an interest to go and buy themselves a dying console just to play it?
      i think it makes stupid sense to do this, the console crowd couldnt be more different from the eve playing pc gamers.

    • woodsey says:

      “Lol another “snubbed the PC players” comment as if they are entitled to all their future titles.”

      It’s not entitlement so much as it is logic, given the connection between the two games, the fact that more people on the PC will have actually heard of it, etc. etc.

    • paterah says:

      @woodsey,

      Better, much better. This is a good reason to talk against their decision. For the tired and old “aging hardware” argument I will remind everyone that many games look great and play great on the console boxes even to this day as many of them are optimized for consoles, pushing their hardware day by day. Also, let’s not forget DUST is a PSN title and will carry on on Sony’s next console (which is still far away).

      As for EVE I’m sure it will get the same attention from CCP even after DUST launches, which makes sense anyway considering the 2 games are closely tied, this is coming from an EVE player with no PS3. DUST does get a lot of buzz on the playstation blogs and the forums as more and more info is released. It will be much more easily marketable for Sony and CCP as it will not be a retail title, it will be a PSN downloadable title allowing for much more exposire to the PS3 users.

    • Nice Save says:

      PS3 players are less likely to know how honest, upstanding, and trustworthy EVE players are, leading to a more interesting dynamic between DUST players and EVE players.

    • Vander says:

      Economics certainly does play a role in the decision, but don’t forget that the game is played on a single server.

      What will happen if they confront consoles players with a pad and pc player with Mouse/keyboard? The conoles players will lose badly, very badly…and quit.

    • Merus says:

      DUST needs distance from EVE and the EVE community if it’s ever going to be its own, viable thing and not just the weird vestigal FPS bonus mode of EVE. The kind of customer they’d like to try to reach this time is mostly on consoles, and PC/console cross platform play generally doesn’t work.

    • Reapy says:

      I’ve always been interested about reading about Eve, but never interested in playing it. I also always have somewhat pined for the idea of playing a fps style game within a greater context than just one map.

      It is sort of like how I used to look at those netbattletech style games people played wishing I had the time to commit to one. I think with Eve going for the AAA approach, it would finally provide you with meaningful FPS battles that could be casually accessed.

      Either way, I am not really an FPS player at the moment, and will never be an eve player, but I most certainly would have been a Dust player (give it was crafted correctly etc) if it had made its way to the PC.

  6. MiniMatt says:

    Interesting interview – I get the impression it’s a more polished PR performance than we’ve seen lately, which can make things a little bland but I guess they’ve learnt something from the succession of foot in mouth moments.

    On the economy, I’m glad they keep plugging it as a core differentiator from other MMOs; it’s something I’ve been worried about in Eve of late, inflation is kinda taking off and despite the chief economist and a whole “Statistics Bureau” we’ve seen the abandonment of the Quarterly Economic Newsletter last seen in 2010 and more recently the apparent abandonment of monthly Price Indices – last seen in November.

  7. mpk says:

    CMO = Chief Medical Officer?

    Damn, I knew things were getting tough at CCP…

  8. Orija says:

    “No, we’ve maintained our subscription price. We’ve even raised it a couple of times”

    How do you both raise and maintain a subscription price?

    • Spengbab says:

      They maintain a subscription price (as opposed to the F2P crap), which they subsequently raised

      As for me, nope, not gonna pick up Eve again. (Carry on, Earth, it’s a big shock, but you’ll get over it)

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Yes, I was confused about that when I was transcribing so left it in. I couldn’t find any reference to subscription price changes on their site…

  9. Fergus says:

    Would be fascinating to listen to an interview with thier economist, but a great article!

  10. Burning Man says:

    Every time I consider trying trying EVE, some forum tells me it’s a griefer’s paradise >.<

    • Spengbab says:

      Wouldnt be too far from the truth – Anything you can do in-game is a valid subject of ruination by another player. Great fun can be had by it, but it kind of wears you out after a while

    • kyrieee says:

      It’s only a problem if you let yourself be a victim.

    • Smarag says:

      Of course it is. Just like real life, nearly everybody tries to fucks you over. That’s why it’s so much fun.

    • Nice Save says:

      Unless you’re really careless, you won’t fall for any general scams. By the time you have anything worth the bother of targeting you specifically, you’ll have built up a resistance.

  11. slick_101 says:

    In the Paragraph answer about the Russians only being in Cyrillic, there is a mis-spell of the world play.

  12. dontnormally says:

    As a player who is neither interested in EVE or DUST, I must point out that this article had very little to do with World of Darkness.

  13. MiniMatt says:

    Interesting interview – I get the impression it’s a more polished PR performance than we’ve seen lately, which can make things a little bland but I guess they’ve learnt something from the succession of foot in mouth moments.

    On the economy, I’m glad they keep plugging it as a core differentiator from other MMOs; it’s something I’ve been worried about in Eve of late, inflation is kinda taking off and despite the chief economist and a whole “Statistics Bureau” we’ve seen the abandonment of the Quarterly Economic Newsletter last seen in 2010 and more recently the apparent abandonment of monthly Price Indices – last seen in November.

    (note, this is a repost, sans links, of a comment that the spam detecting goblin ate – links to the quarterly economic newsletter and the price indices are lurking within the official eve online wiki)

    • kyrieee says:

      PLEX and trit going up is not the same as inflation

    • MiniMatt says:

      No I realise that. The CPI index specifically excludes PLEX price for that reason.

      The CSM/CCP meeting minutes released report inflation as around 1% per month at present. The market price indices that have been released all show growing year on year inflation across all baskets – though it is worth noting this is against a historical backdrop of general deflation; and in the last, long lamented, QEN, Dr E noted the increase in money supply fueling fears of increasing inflation.

      Inflation, as you rightly infer, is a rather tricky thing to define both in real and closed economies; however we’ve enough indicators now to show it to be at least happening. This is something that now appears officially recognised in CCP circles too.

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Yes, I get the feeling that’s what they’ve brought Reid in for – to provide a more businesslike face, that can talk with wider experience about the industry.

  14. godwin says:

    The stuff about the economy within EVE is fascinating. I wonder if anyone has built, or if it’s possible to build a kind of alternative (non-market? Non-capitalist?) economy.

    • sheol says:

      There definitely have been such economies. Lots of small corporations tend to have very high tax rates (even 100% sometimes) and they provide you with the ships and modules that you need.

  15. felixduc says:

    Hate to post something negative about such an interesting interview — but there are dozens of typos and grammar errors in this piece. It looks very thrown together and your readers do notice! :)

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Hi there,

      Some of the grammar elements are language quirks I’ve left in to reflect how the interviewees talk – and though I do read this over before submitting it, I would never claim to be infallible.

  16. Mozai says:

    Q: how many subscribers have you got?
    A: We won some awards.

    Right out the gate, this interview doesn’t seem like much of an interview.

    • Acorino says:

      I agree. I felt the questions didn’t inspire very interesting answers. They were rather softball, too.
      But I never played EVE anyway, so maybe my interest in this interview wasn’t the highest. Then again, I liked the previous interviews with the developers.

    • jezcentral says:

      I know. “Questions” like “Every time you’ve updated the game, you’ve kept it cutting edge.”

      Not a question, and not really journalism, either. I know this isn’t a murder investigation, but there must be a better way to handle an interview.

    • sheol says:

      @Acorino: I play Eve and this interview had no substance to it. Hilmar isn’t a great public face of the company, he never seems to say anything important. Interviews with the Dev team was always way more interesting.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      And you’ve never altered your profit model either.
      Except for that time they tried to have an in game shop and it blew up in their face.

      Every time you’ve updated the game, you’ve kept it cutting edge.
      What? How is their UI up to date? It’s like a flash tutorial from 1999 haemorrhaging pixel fonts.

      … They’re all different servers and different levels, so I can’t play with my friends. That’s broken.
      Second occurence of just saying things that the interviewee wants to hear, can riff with. Maybe sharding isn’t the best way to do things but this is brown nosing.

      It’s a model that’s very liberal / egalitarian and speaks to specialisation, like Planetside; everyone is valuable, every extra body is an advantage.
      Hurray for interview questions!

      I don’t want to talk too much about the controversies you’ve had, as they’ve been dealt with extensively elsewhere, but why do you think Eve generates so many more high profile controversies?
      Possibly because they treat their playerbase as a burden and disrespect their players by using the tech as guinea pigs for their pipeline projects? But lets not discuss any controversies. That wouldn’t be fair.

      At which point I threw up in the back of my throat. You are better than this, RPS.

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Sorry you didn’t like it chaps. I didn’t feel the need to get aggressive, as RPS has dealt with their issues elsewhere; didn’t mean to sound sycophantic.

  17. Brise Bonbons says:

    I really wish I could experience even a little bit of this game, but I just can’t get into it knowing how much time and energy it will consume.

    I don’t know what they could do about it. Granted a new player can jump in and be useful in fleet combat immediately, but given the nature of travel, I just don’t feel like it’s worth even starting. I’d worry that so much time would be consumed by just getting around, organizing, or waiting for things to happen…

    The problem is, those things are also *advantages* and necessary to make the game what it is. So it’s not that something needs fixing, it just feels like it’s a game you can only enjoy if you make it your sole hobby (and don’t have a family or anything else that places demands on your time).

    I mean, have I got it wrong? Is there a way to enjoy this game while only putting in a couple hours every other day?

    Grumble… As if my game backlog wasn’t long enough already…

    • President Weasel says:

      Well the one thing in Eve’s favour compared to most other MMOs is the skill system is based on real-world time, not time spent in game or repetitive grinding of the same skill over and over. Even if you play a couple of hours every other day, you’ll still end up with a character which is just as skilled as someone who plays every single evening and all day at the weekend.
      There’s no end-game raiding that you need to be geared for, and with a couple of weeks practice and skills you can be decently useful in a skirmish fleet like the ones RPSH used to run and quite probably still do. If you’re interested in seeing the inside of EVE, take the plunge and join up with RPSH.

  18. Lone Gunman says:

    I really want to get in one of those giant space battles.

  19. Tams80 says:

    “Mum’s gone to Iceland” and I know what she did there…

  20. Vandalbarg says:

    Is the reason no one pointed out the Mum thing might be a reference to the band of the same name (also Icelandic) because it’s too obvious, or because there’s another reference I’m missing?

    Regardless, I always read the Eve stories, despite having no intention of playing it. It would consume me.

    • Harlander says:

      It’s a reference to an ad campaign for UK frozen foods store Iceland.

      Now you’re… learnin’ on a wish

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  22. greggles says:

    “Also, is paying your monthly fee through ingame currency actually feasible for the common layperson?”

    It’s feasible, but not really possible your first month or two. You need a certain level of both in-game skill and actual skill to pull it off. It’s also like work. You’ll be running wormholes, or incursions (real money there), or even level 4 missions if you hate yourself. So you always have to make the choice. Do I spend a few of my gaming days earning money to pay for the month? Or do I just not care and pay my 12 dollars a month for the 3 month plan, and spend those days blowing people up!

    As for RPSH. I’ve been a member for months. It’s a great corp! Now is a fantastic time to join, as there are so many new players. As such, you will be among people with the same or similar skill levels, so shouldn’t feel out of place at all.

    And as mentioned in the article, you can have a useful character almost immediately. A simple rifter tackler (someone who holds an enemy in place so they can’t escape), takes almost no game time to train for, and is ALWAYS USEFUL IN FLEET BATTLES.

  23. Bassmeant says:

    “accessible”

    this is a scary word.

    I play on both console and pc. i’ve been in some pretty heavy hitting fps clans on console and i’ve done the anonymous cog in the giant guild thing on pc. i’ve run solo on both.
    having played the series on both platforms, i’ve watched the battlefield series circle the drain for 6 years on console. with the release of bf3 on console, that signified the final flush. ive watched sony/zipper take what could have been good in mag and turn it into a chaotic pile of casual gamer bs.
    ive done my time in entropia grinding for that .001 level increase, mining the red zones for the big score. even tried and had a small success working with the team on squad tactics when dealing with mobs.

    dust… man. just don’t know what to say.
    for the most part, console players are insulated, self centered babies who, when faced with a challenge or anything remotely considered “imbalanced or overpowered” they will either bitch about it til its nerfed or quit. actually both. EVERY single game that has come out for the last 6 years or so has just been a watered down version of the iteration before or a watered down version of what the competition is doing. photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, ad nauseum. total loss of detail. giant blobs that barely resemble the original.

    the clans on console could easily slide into this game backwards and make it work, but my question is:
    which market are the devs REALLY targeting? do you want the hardcore fps gamers? or the casual call of duty part timers? To my reckoning, EvE is already a hardcore clan based game, actually it exemplifies the pinnacle of what a team based game can be, personaly opinions on the “griefing” aside.

    so if they decide to go for both markets, my god… the disaster that awaits could be legendary.
    you’re talking about taking one end of the spectrum and tieing it directly to the other end. in 1 game world.

    will the clans run null sec? will null sec be the adult end of the pool and the casuals hide in high sec patting each other on the back for racking up high k/d while facing no real competition? the special olympics with machine guns? “great… you came in first! yer still a retard”. is this game gonna be a “trick” wherein the devs make all this infrastructure and team work, then make small funnel maps to keep the expenses high, fast turnover of gear, increase profit margin?
    game starts, hangar bay doors open, everyone runs out 50 yards and smashes into each other, destroying gear in the process. game ends, credit cards out, repair and rebuild… repeat?

    i really hope this game works out, but the last 5 years would lead me to believe this is gonna be the longest of long shots. looking forward to supporting it… if it supports us.

    peace
    B

  24. Eynonz says:

    This Dust 514 interests me too see how it would work in collaboration with an MMO.

  25. RegisteredUser says:

    I have never and I will never shelled out for a game asking monthly fees(I’ll just play L4D2, CS:S and maybe even GW2 instead).
    If this ever becomes playable without a paid-for sub, I’ll have a look.
    Otherwise I am just not interested.

  26. ThaneSolus says:

    EVE is a great sandbox mmo, but after you play it seriously 1-2 years, you cannot play it anymore. I played it 5 years, and from 2010 i am trying each year to get back to the game, and fail after 2-5 days. Probably i experienced all, and not much for me to do, i really dont know, or i just had enough. The crazy thing is that most of old friends who left EVE feel the same.

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