The cost of doing business in EVE Online is going up. CCP Games announced today that in order to support the game’s development, they will be increasing the subscription cost going forward.
“This adjustment reflects global trends impacting general production costs and accounts for years of inflation, amending the 1-month USD subscription rate for the first time since 2004,” CCP said. “These adjustments will have an impact on other [non-US] currencies.”
EVE Online prices have remained pretty consistent for years, so this news is a bit of a shock to the community. Even nearly two decades after launch, the game has remained in arguably the same form for a long time. And the core draw of interpersonal conflict and massive player battles has won the MMO a core of dedicated gamers as fans. Seeing this kind of shift will rock the community to its core, because they’re concerned about what’s coming next.
So what’s the new pricing?
Currently, a one-month Omega subscription, sells for $14.95; three months is $38.85, six months is $71.710, and 12 months is $131.40. Starting May 17, pricing will change to:
- One month – $19.99
- Two months – $35.98
- Three months – $47.98
- Six months – $86.95
- 12 months – $149.90
- 24 months – $270.00
The pricing for PLEX, an item that can be traded for EVE’s in-game currency or used to purchase Omega game time, is being restructured. Currently, it can be purchased in bundles priced from $4.99 (110 Plex) to $499.99 (15,400 Plex); following the adjustment, the price structure will be as follows:
- 50 Plex – $2.49
- 100 Plex – $4.99
- 250 Plex – $12.49
- 500 Plex – $24.99
- 1,000 Plex – $44.99
- 1,500 Plex – $64.99
- 3,000 Plex – $124.99
- 6,000 Plex – $239.99
- 12,000 Plex – $419.99
- 20,000 Plex – $649.99
This is a pretty big increase in PLEX pricing, and the economic knock-on effects of this announcement are sure to cause hell for traders of high-value items. That’s not the only concern, far from it. The idea of paying more to play a nearly 20-year-old game will only really appeal to the most hardcore fans. And with players have left the game in spades in recent months, it’s hard to imagine this price increase helping their chances of coming back. CCP will really have to increase the quality and appeal of new releases to justify this.
Why is this happening?
In short, CCP seems like they’re designing the game to distill players into payers. Shortly before this news broke, the CSM player council highlighted this exact problem. The letter, posted by Brisc Rubal and available on the EVE-O forums, outlined player outrage over a sale of in-game ships that was decidedly against what many thought of as vital to the success and challenge of the game. It’s hard to argue with this idea given the recent trend in the monetization of EVE Online. Anyone paying attention could see that CCP is pushing hard to get players to treat the MMO more like a mobile title.
This would align with the trend in games in Asia in particular to focus on “whales”. The core concept of this approach is that your parcel out enough gameplay and fun to get a core audience addicted, and then slowly increase the need to pay money to remain competitive. In short, a lot of EVE fans suspect that the “pay-to-win” creep has been getting worse, and they’re right.
The recent nerf to industry, in particular, led some to believe that CCP is intentionally designing the game to be harder. Some players have pointed to the influence of Pearl Abyss after CCP was acquired by the conglomerate as a source. This can’t really be confirmed, and is part of a much larger conversation, but it bears mentioning. It’s impossible to ignore the push to maximize profit in a situation like this.
The game used to be entirely paid, but in recent years the move over the free-to-play—known as Alpha clone status, became vital. Paying for a sub is called upgrading to Omega clone status, and unlocks the full suite of in-game ships and modules for use. The split from Alpha to Omega has been pretty vital to CCP’s strategy for developing the game up to this point. And with the CSM admitting that CCP was going to do this regardless of what players wanted, things look bleak. “It was made clear that this was happening no matter how hard we fought it,” redditor deltaxi65 wrote.