Monday, November 14, 2016

Th€ Alpha$ Com£th

I've been thinking about how CCP plan to make money off Alpha clones. Not coming up with much! This is all speculation and brainstorming. I'm not thinking too much just wondering where this could go... 

Obviously encouraging new players into the game and getting them to subscribe is the the number 1 aim for CCP. However I am sure they are looking for ways to make money off people who want to play for free. CCP is a business and to survive they need cash. You don't get anything for nothing. So how can CCP make money from Alphas that won't subscribe?

First of all we have the obvious NEX store. Ship skins might be popular so people are likely to want some of those. However the whole purpose of an Alpha clone is you don't have to pay for it. These are likely to buy Aurum tokens from the market if they want a nice new skin. That is probably achievable through PVE and industrial activities on a five million SP character every so often. That in turn will increase Aurum token prices which again will encourage Omega's to sell them which of course needs PLEX.

Then we have the space-Barbie clothing line. I think most of us agree, what's the point. Without WiS its unlikely to be a big winner for CCP other than glasses, hats and other things you see in the portraits we see 99.999% of the time. I could put something here about a hope CCP are looking at some limited WiS but best to avoid that "Marmite" topic!

Onto PLEX. This will probably be another source of income from the Alpha's. I'm no expert on making money in Eve unless you count selling PLEX. I have no idea how long it'll take a 5m SP toon in a T1 cruiser to make the one billion at current prices but I bet its a while. This may mean Alpha's who are really into the game but strapped for cash may sub with a PLEX once every X months.

Skill Injectors
Again may be a good option for Alpha clones if the reduced training rate is too slow. 600m ISK is a lot of cash though for a 5m SP T1 only toon stuck in a cruiser? If they are buying, costs will go up encouraging other players to buy extractors from the NEX store and increase CCP's cash flow. Thinking about it, this is probably going to be even less than space-barbie items. Scrub that.

Then....? Well I think thats about it isn't it with current mechanics. What else could CCP be looking at?

Shit I did it didn't I. Oh well, anyone who has read this blog knows that I am a supporter of some limited WiS to push the old CCP "Eve: A Future Vision" video. Sci-Fi nerd and immersion etc etc. Without it I cannot see NEX sales for clothing and cosmetic avatar items being much at all. Then again I don't see CCP opening this can of worms.
One billion ISK is a lot of money. 15 earth dollars/pounds/Euros is a lot of money to many. Actually, not pounds anymore since Brexit, they're not worth much at all these days (great for us Expats!). Will CCP be looking at more PLEX options than just the 30 day version. Will we see 14 day or even 7 day options pop up in the NeX store? 250m ISK for a week of full access? If you have a week off work and not doing anything that might be worth it. Especially if you are on a lapsed account and you could could jump from 5m SP to 100m SP. Christmas holiday sat around playing board games with the family? Nope! Christmas holiday pewpewing the scrubs!

Alpha Accelerators
How about some implants restricted to Alpha clones that speed up their slow training? Nope. That'll be creating something that will impact on players. Current options are skill injectors (a net loss of SP overall) or attribute enhancers which are farmed by players.

I'm really struggling here! Is there any other way for CCP to make money from the "freemium" players without causing some detriment to their subscribers? Ideas?


  1. I think the main point has to be encouraging them to subscribe. An indirect could be that more happening in space could tempt older players back into game..

    1. Once new players get through the new tutorials, and get a dose of the real Eve, they retention rate will be exactly the same as it is today. Maybe even less, now that solo industry is now gone, gamking is going to increase big time, and mining ISK/hour is going to crater.

  2. If CCP really wants to monetize alpha (and omega) accounts outside of transactions related to subscription then they are going to have to make WiS, corporation/alliance SKINS and maybe, licences for player made SKINS/clothes happen.

  3. The real question is not what does CCP plan to do to monetize F2P.

    The real question is why CCP is making free to play a game whose price never was an issue and which still is making good money.

    It's all about the PCU, IMO, since it's down to 2007 levels.

    So if you need a matter for a blog banter, ask this: Why CCP makes F2P a game that still earns good money?

    Check this:

    EVE is quite a profitable game, with the subscription model. What it's not, it's an expanding playerbase.

    Probably CCP expects to hook more players by giving them al the tiem they need to fall in love with EVE (or just panic and flee), so the key it's "more people" rather than "more money".

    You bet I have a strong opinion on why EVE keeps losing population left and right despite (or because) the development plan being implemented since 2013 (the Rubicon plan).

    Going F2P is just a move to increase server population without changing the course of the Rubicon plan.

    That's why CCP makes F2P a profitable game. Because it's losing customers to death.


  4. beta, gamma, delta, epsilon.... clones. These have not been ruled out by CCP. Presumably they would be in someway better than alpha clones (like your ALpha accelerator idea). For a price.

  5. How does F2P make its money? My experience is frustration at not being as good as the other player and wanting to have all the shiny bits made me open my wallet. It didn't last long but it did make me spend. I revisit that game from time to time, to play for free, but my enthusiasm doesn't last. CCP must think that the ‘I want it now’ players will open their wallets. It isn’t a change a company would make without solid research is it? We should know the answer in the next 6 months.

  6. Skill unlocks.

    Want to fly battle cruisers? Make a one off payment to unlock your factions battlecruisers. Could also apply to industry skills, mining barges, battleships, other factions ships .... The list goes on.

    I'm planning on trying eve as an alpha clone and I would be willing to buy things like this as long as the price is sensible.

  7. I can see two benefits.

    First, a slight increase in the number of players who convert into subscriptions because they have more time to get into the game / find it easier to come back and check it out after major updates.

    Second, a slight decrease in the number of people leaving the game because the population in space is higher and more interesting - both from extra free to play characters, and from unsubscribed players who can remain in game channels and corporations being social.

    This all just gives CCP extra time. I think the game will need some killer new feature for the paying population to really increase.

    I hope I am wrong though - it would be nice if this single change makes a huge difference.

    1. Well, CCP abandoned "Jesus features" after Incarna, and no such "killer feature" is on the plans. CCP's plans are to develop and improve multiplayer nosec PvP and prioritize it over solo highsec PvE whenever interests clash.

      Back in 2013 when the Rubicon letter was published, prioritizing a minority of the players was to be bound to kill the server population since the majority of players wouldn't get enough from the deal, and that's exactly what's going on. The game is becoming better and better for multiplayer PvP types, but in a game where the majority used to be solo PvE types, the price of that strategy shows at the PCU charts. 2013 was the best year ever and now we're 40% below that, back to 2007 levels, steadily going down with no bottom in sight since CCP keeps driving away solo PvErs from the game.

      EVE needed Incarna, not just because WiS, but because DIVERSITY. Now here we are, with EVE becoming more and more niche for a dwindling playerbase. And since players are the content, it's only a matter of time until the numbers are so low that the game collapses by lack of content.

      No Jesus feature can revert that, not one which CCP could commit to at this point. They have no other chance than finish the Rubicon plan (probably in 2018 or 2019, given their speed) and hope that they still will have a viable game by then.

    2. Part of it, to me, is just simple unbalanced gameplay. Gank damage keeps going up up and up. Tank on the whole stay relatively flat. Every expansion there seems to be something that makes it harder and harder for a PVE to survive someone trying to kill them, and nothing to balance it out. Combat times go down, which makes chances of getting out alive less likely.

      Power creep is not a new thing to online games, but Eve by it's nature is special. Power creep means more here.

  8. Hello Mr Drackarn, I'm just passing through. I Googled my game name after my FB post to see what came up and you appeared! Also so did my terrible photoshop collection on Flickr... hope my kids never play Eve :3 Nice to see you still blogging o7