Monday, September 1, 2014

BB 58 - Show Me the rMONEYt

Blog Banter 58 - Money

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 57th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

The SOMERBlink fiasco from last summer and then again this summer (link:, resulting in the service's ultimate shutdown has opened the floor to the discussion or monetization of services once again.

Do you think CCP was right in its reaction? Was SOMERBlink justified in trying to monetize its service via plex sales kickbacks? Was it true RMT or grey area RMT?

More generally, where is the line to be drawn when a service attempts to monetize in order to offset costs and/or make a profit? Is asking for donations in Real Life cash too far (I realize CCP considers it unacceptable right now)? Selling non-EVE trademarked goods acceptable? Asking for money to pay for efforts in setting up EVE meetups?

Should these all be scrutinized?

And should you want to dig deeper, should players be allowed to reserve redeem plex for cash? Does this already not exist in programs like Plex for fanfest packages or video cards? Is it right?
Get writing!


First off lets just make it clear SomerBlink did not DIAF for RMT. They were being investigated for RMT however by saying the scheme was "CCP approved" (it wasn't) and then releasing private emails between them and CCP they shat on the EULA, twice, and thus got permabanned for that. Lets face it though, the scheme that they were running was converting ISK to real-life money so it was RMT in a roundabout-way. It might have been a roundabout way of doing it but the outcome was the same. SomerBlink gave out some of its huge ISK reserves and received dollars, pounds or euros in return for that in-game ISK.

Anyway onto the blog banter subject. Money.

Over here in the deepest hottest parts of the Middle Eastern desert we have bands playing in the bars. Whilst there are many bands, the set lists appear to be repetitive. One of the most ironic (yes thats what I mean, its not an auto-correct) is "Its not about the money". The band is singing those lyrics..... to a bar full of expats....... who are really only out here for one thing.......... the money.

And for people out here money has different meanings. There are a couple of hundred different nationalities here, each see cash differently. What if I told you salaries can be as low as 130 GBP/$217/165 Euro a month over here for working 6-days a week in construction or haulage. However you get bed and food included. Fancy coming out here? Probably not if you play Eve as you probably earn a lot more than that. However there is no shortage of people wanting these jobs. Why? Because back in their home countries, $20 per month is the average salary and you pay your own food and lodgings. Therefore one of these guys can come out here, work for 5 years, save like a MoFo and go home with the equivalent of 50 years salary. Yes its not the greatest five years you'll ever spend, but 50 years salary!!!! The point here is $20 can be a massive amount of money to some people and very little to others. You soon learn that lesson out here.

Now we get back to Eve. RMT sites sell ISK for something like $20 per billion I've heard on various blogs. Thats convenient as that was the average monthly salary for someone from the rural Indian sub-continent that I used above. If RMT was legal it would be massively popular to grind and sell ISK.

Suddenly Eve would be farmville. PLEX prices would rocket due to massive demand from farmers, inflation would go mad as the farmers farmed ISK and sold it cheap to players. We'd have more bots than the future portrayed in The Terminator. It could be nasty.

Do you want to work for a month in the fields or spend an hour or two farming ISK on a computer game (access to PC obviously the issue here, but for the sake of argument)? Eve player numbers could rocket, but that would be a bad thing as they'd be farmers and bots.

Yes, currently you can use ISK (converted to PLEX) to buy real-life things from CCP. Fanfest tickets, Collectors Edition Boxset and even as a trial a graphics card. However the thing here is that CCP had full control on everything. If for some reason the "PLEX for X" promotion was effecting the game negatively they could just stop it. This is not an issue,

You can also use ISK for 3rd party services. Rixx Javix will do you a nice killboard banner or signature for in-game currency. The guys over at Eve-kill will give you a killboard for the right amount of ISK. However none of these are putting food on their tables. At most they are paying for their subs and preventing them having to carebear to make in-game money. More likely, in the case of Rixx, its paying for shiny ships to terrorise the space lanes with. What I'm saying is that these are not encouraging rampant farming therefore not endangering the game.

If people could make a salary from farming in Eve, then we would be in big trouble. Currently CCP in-game policies are right with regard to RMT.

The last point is real life money for 3rd party services. What a can of worms! Let us not forget Eve Online is CCP's intellectual property. They need to control and protect their IP and take their share of profits it generates. Create a Star Wars game and charge for it, see how long before it all gets a bit "legal". As above, when real life money gets involved people get more, erm, passionate? A bit of website advertising should be allowed. Whilst this blog costs me nothing (and therefore I do not monetise) Chribba's sites like Eve-Offline, Eve-Agents and Eve-Files do cost to run (I assume) and therefore need income otherwise he's losing money.  So having a few adverts toi pay server costs should not be an issue. Now the big grey area is if he was to start a subscription service. If he was making big profit from CCP's IP I'm pretty sure there would be issues there. Similarly as others have found out when selling self-made Eve merchandise like T-Shirts and tried to sell them online (thinking more here online stores and not Fanfest Tweetfleet T's which are awesome). Its a minefield and not one I'm going to tackle here. I'll simply say:-

"PLEX for Stuff" (under tight CCP control) = GOOD!
Making money from Eve = A can of worms to stay clear from!

No comments:

Post a Comment