Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Exchanging Virtual Money for Playing Time

I've always associated selling in-game money and assets for real-world currency to be, essentially a cheat, but I'm seeing the wisdom of how CCP is approaching the matter in EVE especially as we sink into a global recession and a chaotic period on the currency markets.

For a while they've maintained a system by which you can buy (with real-world money) a "game time code" (GTC) for a play subscription of a certain number of days, then sell that to another player through the EVE Online website for ISK (in-game currency). Soon, you'll be able to buy and sell gametime through the (quite sophisticated) in-game market and contract system.

We are going to try this out in the next couple of months and see what the results are. You should see this in Quantum Rise or shortly following it. I personally think that it will enable a lot of people to continue to play EVE despite the current world economy and enable others, that could never pay 15 USD in foreign currency but have time to play, to start playing EVE. Like this one time, in Iceland camp, it‘s almost impossible to get foreign currency. 15 USD would buy me a case of beer whereas previously it would get my voracious liver only one.

One thing this may do in particular is strengthen the capacity for in-game alliances and corporations to internally balance out players who are wealthy in-game but perhaps have hit hard times in real life, with players who are in better economic shape in real life than in EVE. Generally making it easier for players to spend EVE currency to keep playing EVE, even if they are short of real money, while additionally providing structures to do within in-game organizations, so I'm not subsidizing my enemy's pilots, or just giving cash to gold farmers.

It seems like a smart move. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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