Garrett Fuller, Industry Relations
On the first morning of Leipzig’s Game Developers Convention,
Dr. Gudmundsson (Dr. E.) from EVE Online gave a presentation on virtual
worlds and their connections to reality. EVE Online has established
itself as a solid MMO with a strong fan base that continues to grow.
Dr. E’s assessment during the presentation was that EVE gives
the players immersion by allowing them to create their own economics,
governance, and working systems in the open market game. As an
economist Dr. E tracks the trends and community in the game and watches
how they react to the virtual world and more importantly each other.
After his presentation we had a chance to sit down with Dr. E and talk
about his view on MMOs, EVE, and the marketplace in general.
Flying ships in space and huge battles of cruisers and fighters
continue to shape and change the EVE landscape. One of the most
interesting charts that the doctor showed us was tracking the player
corporation influence throughout EVE’s open space. These
changes had been tracked monthly to show new corporations' rises to
power and control as well as the burn out and destruction of other
factions. Since 2003 EVE has grown and has seen growth within its game
to reflect the population booms. In 2004 corporations started to form
alliances who fought and worked together towards common causes in
sections of space. Around this time the player base reached about
100,000. This led to the beginnings of E-ON (The EVE Magazine), EVE TV,
and EVE Radio. As the game became more organized the media around the
world started to pop up. Now at 245,000 the in game markets are
completely player run and the media of EVE is working to keep players
The players in EVE Online are always ahead of the game, according to Dr. E.
With this level of growth, CCP implemented the CSM, Council of
Stellar Management to give players a democratic voice with EVE
developers. Dr. E explained in our interview that meeting with the
council is one of his favorite things in working on EVE. The players
are always ahead of the curve, Dr. E explained and they continue to
surprise designers with ideas and game play. The Council and developers
keep a close eye on the economy and trading to assure it is a free
market which the doctor says matches most competitative free markets in
reality. As examples he explained that once a game design change was
put onto the test server, nothing was spoken of it officially to
players. The player base discovered the change on the test server and
instantly in game the markets reacted to the change, even though it had
not been implemented into the regular EVE space. This level of
speculation led me to ask about the different types of trading between
players and how they mirror our stock or commodity markets today. Dr. E
explained that one of his hopes for EVE was to see much more advanced
economic tools in the game sometime in the future. This will give
players more access to the economy and allow them to react much more to
changes in the EvE universe.
One of the theories that EVE is exploring is something that can show
players the trustworthiness of those they are dealing with. This type
of system is not currently in the works because it would take careful
balance to implement it. In quick response to my question of what about
players who exploit shady deals, Dr. E said, “ EVE will
always have a place for scammers!” EVE truly intends to
maintain the open competitive market and allow players to shape their
own landscapes in the game.
Dr. E assured our staff that EVE Online will always give freedom to its players, including scammers.
EVE also is looking to expand into the mass market. They are working
actively to attract more women to the game and creating a strong social
experience for players. Dr. E said that he explains MMOs to non-gamers
as one gigantic conference call. They hope to grow further into the
more mainstream markets of gamers. In the regard we asked about the
potential for expansion into the mobile game markets. Dr. E said there
is nothing in the works…yet.
Finally, Dr. E explained that new players are often intimidated by the
complexity of EVE’s design and game mechanics. However, he
assured us that while the game will not change at all, they do have a
team working on how to help new players entering space for the first
time. Being an academic himself, Dr. E said that you can always see
great growth from education in any environment. EVE hope to bring this
impact to new players entering their game.
Dr. Gunmendsson’s presentation was great for game designers
and economists or analysts as well. He really brings the virtual world
into a reality that regular markets can understand. Watching the rise
of Corporations in the game space was fascinating, knowing that they
were done by players. The slogan that Dr. E reminded everyone of is
“EVE Forever.” It is safe to say that EVE will be
around a long time. Thanks again to Dr. Gudmundsson for taking time to
chat with us.
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