CCP hasn’t been making Eve players terribly happy of late, first by introducing microtransaction vanity items broadly perceived as being about as affordable as Ferrero Rocher made of real gold, then by suffering a leak of an internal discussion about how to make even more from microtransactoins, and most recently by a blog from their senior producer which tried to wave away these issues with some rather peculiar arguments. In the wake of a fan uproar, they’ve now held up their hands and admitted to making a bit of a boo-boo.
Don’t get too excited yet: they’re not climbing down from microtransactions. However, senior producer Arnar ‘CCP Zulu’ Gylfason (he of the now notorious ‘avatar clothes are equivalent to real-life clothes’ blog – has put out another message, admitting that “I let my frustration take charge of me, fueled by emotions that had built up due to a breach of trust we at CCP have been experiencing over the past few days. I know that sounds ironic considering those are the exact same feelings you have been having towards CCP. For that I am sorry.
“Having cooled off a bit and taken a solemn look at the situation, I see it’s clear we need to strengthen the deep mutual trust and respect that’s been so unique and descriptive of our relationship. There are certain questions you want answered and there isn’t room for more error in our communication on those topics or our perception of the root causes.”
The first stage towards doing this is an “extraordinary meeting” in Iceland at the end of the week between CCP and Eve’s in-game Council of Stellar Management, an elected body of Eve players intended to represent, discuss and promote subscriber’s concerns. Why? “To help us define and address the real underlying concerns, and to assist us in defining and iterating on our virtual goods strategy.”
Hopefully this means compromise will be reached, and not just the CSM having their ears talked off about how pretend pants and real pants are worth the same money.
Oh, and Gylfason also addresses the enduring rumour that CCP are planning to introduce non-vanity item microtransactions, such as better weapons and ships. “Tthere are no and never have been plans to sell “gold ammo” for Aurum. In [the leaked internal newsletter] Fearless people are arguing a point, which doesn’t even have to be their view, they are debating an issue. This is another example of how information out of context is no information at all.”
And with that, he’s gone. CCP’s official communications channels on these matters will apparently remain dark until the sit-down with the CSM is resolved.
Sounds as though CCP are at least trying to steer their ship back onto a course its players are happier with. Whether they do enough remains to be seen – especially as the tone of both CCP blog posts carries a certain implication that they feel the microtransaction problem is one of communication rather than practice. Still, not every firm would be this open about having gotten something wrong – it’s a positive sign for sure.