Monday, July 14, 2014

Its over 800!

Plex prices are running high. There are calls for CCP to lower them. However, CCP does not control Plex prices*. Some people have even accused CCP of pushing up the price of plex to make more money. This is a stupid accusation. CCP make more money from PLEX subscriptions than they do credit card subscriptions. CCP would be happier if everyone subbed via PLEX as they would make more money than if everyone subbed by credit-card.

So who does control PLEX prices?

I do.

OK, not me personally but people like me are one side of the coin. Players who buy plex with real-life cash and sell them on the in-game market for ISK. I cannot be bothered to carebear and PvP is an expensive hobby. I'm happy to buy 6 PLEX on my credit-card, sell them on the market and use the ISK to buy shiny ships and nice destructive ammunition!

The other ones who control the price of PLEX, the other side of the coin, are the buyers. Those who make vast quantities of ISK in-game and buy PLEX off the in-game market rather than paying cash for their monthly subscription.

Both of these two sides control how much a PLEX is worth through simple supply and demand.

Traditionally this has worked very well however things are starting to get a bit expensive on the demand side. Why? Well lets have a look at the options:-


Have people stopped selling as many PLEX recently? I know I have. I think my purchase from the account management page and my last sale of PLEX was back in January. So I haven't been seeding the market. Why? Because I haven't had that many ships to replace. Why? Because I've been a bit burnt out with Eve so not been playing as much. Could this be a wide-spread issue. Could many of the players who sold PLEX on the market just be fed up with Eve so haven't been playing as much?

Lotteries. A lot of ETC sellers rewarded customers with prizes including plex. After the Ishukone Watch Scorpion storm last year CCP clamped down on what ETC retailers could offer. Could this have impacted PLEX prices by lowering supply in the market place.

Offers. Any PLEX sale encourages people to buy PLEX from CCP. Have they been doing as many lately? I cannot remember seeing any advertisements for PLEX sales recently. Oh wait..... what's this on the launcher... oh its just a link to buy PLEX.


Willingness to pay is the first issue. At 800m ISK plus, are people willing to pay that price? Yes, some are. Obviously, otherwise the price would drop as sellers reduced their price to make the sale. So is one of the issues the amount of ISK in game currently? Are there enough people making so much money that 800m is not an issue for them? Are those people making enough money to keep the price up.

Skins. Recently we have had something useful to spend AUR on. The old days of monocles or a nice pair of shoes are out and ship skins are in. Is the availability of these new items on the NEX pushing up the price of plex by increasing demand for plex to be broken down to AUR?

Dual Training. You can use PLEX to train multiple characters on one account, or to transfer characters between accounts, or even re-sculpt your appearance. Are these increasing demand for PLEX?

Out of Game Purchases. In the last year you've been able to buy Fanfest tickets, graphics cards and the 10 Year Collectors Edition with PLEX. You've been able to donate PLEX to good causes. Is the use of PLEX in this way driving up demand whilst the supply side has remained static?

Investment. Traditionally many people bought PLEX when going inactive. As PLEX has always been going up it sounds a good idea. Put your assets into PLEX and when you come back to game in a years time they'll be worth more than when you left. Obviously this needs lots of people to do this to affect the market.

Lets have a look at traded volume vs price:-

Mmmmm the volume traded looks to be slightly lower than a year ago but not very noticeable. So from all the possible reasons I listed above the one that looks most likely is that people simply have more ISK than they had a year ago and are willing to buy PLEX at higher cost.

To be honest I have no idea why PLEX prices are so high. I suspect its a combination of many of the above factors???

Anyone out there have a proper explanation?

* Apparently at one point in the last year plex prices were increasing too rapidly and CCP did intervene. They injected PLEX from banned accounts into the market thus increasing supply above demand and stabilising prices. However as far as I know this has been the only time.


  1. I think you're right about it being a combination of factors, especially with multiple character training. Here are a couple more: ISK inflation and Demographics (specifically character age).

    The first one is pretty self-explanatory, more isk in the economy = higher prices. I know they say we're in a slight deflationary period and that may be true for most items, but plex are a unique item that has unique utilities and that will affect the price.

    Demographics are important because as the player population ages, they tend to move to Plex to sub their accounts because they have the capability to make the isk they need with much less effort than a newbie. The older the playerbase gets, the better they become at making money, the higher plex prices get to reflect the effort cost it takes to earn a plex's worth of isk. I've been a player for like 8 years now, and could easily afford 1b plex, maybe even 2b plex without it seriously hurting my gameplay because I make enough money to support those prices, a newbie heavy population wouldn't.

  2. All central bankers want their currency to "float" against international currencies. What they do not want is rapid changes up or down. So long as the change in price is gradual, the folks who oversee the money supply are happy.

    I am sure that this is how CCP views the price of PLEX. When the supply is high and demand low, the prices should fall. When supply drops or if demand increases, the prices hsould rise. When the changes in supply or demand change rapidly (usually due to singular events), it can cause a rapid change in price of PLEX.

    Why the fear in the price of PLEX changing too rapidly? Similar in fear to rapid inflation in RL prices. It reduces confidence in the value of the PLEX. IF folks have no confidence that a PLEX purchased will have similar purchasing power in the near future, then you're in trouble. CCP wants PLEXs to be spent, not hoarded as an investment, so slow movement in its value is preferred.

  3. Null sec is a giant printing press right now with no significant losses occurring (yeah, BL might say otherwise). So instead of doing fighting, which by definition causes losses PLUS lowers ISK generation, instead we have vast fleets of AKFTar's grinding away in Guristas space, as an example. Though there are clearly fewer null sec cartel line members getting online, those that are have huge piles of ISK to spend, with nothing but plexes to spend that pile on.

    But hey, it's OK. I am sure when all the poor people in the game quit because of plex prices (a lot of people can't afford to pay for their account, or accounts, with real money), the null sec cartel line members will all be instructed by their feudal lords to open up another account to make up the difference.

    regards, Dinsdale

  4. Dr.EyjoG said at FF 2014 that the vast majority of consumed PLEXes pay for subscriptions.