Monday, February 18, 2013

Game Industry Quotes On 3rd Party RMT

I have not spent much time in Eve Online lately because I am working on an article explaining why purchasing in-game currency on the secondary market (i.e. from ISK sellers) is a bad thing.  I am finishing up my research and have the introduction already written.  But I'm collecting a lot more information than I can possibly use or justify including in the article.  A shame really since some of the quotes quite interesting.  I thought I'd share some of the research that might otherwise remain squirreled away.  Some people may remember when the quotes appeared.  Enjoy!

"I hate gold sellers/spammers. No, that’s not strong enough, let me try again. I HATE GOLD SELLERS WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING. Ah, that’s better. Now, why do I hate them you may ask? I hate them for a number of reasons, most of which have been detailed in various interviews I’ve done over the years. And now that they have taken their obnoxiousness to new levels with gold service spamming, I HATE GOLD SPAMMERS EVEN MORE NOW THAN EVER BEFORE. For years, lowlifes like IGE have told us, in defense of their behavior, that they a) are just providing a service; b) don’t interfere with players enjoyment of the game. Well, I can’t argue with (a), they are providing a service, just like maggots I suppose but I’ve always argued that (b) is totally and complete BS. Now, those old arguments aside, I can’t see how this new generation of pond scum (new and improved, with 25% more scummy action!) can argue that their constant spamming of chat channels doesn’t interfere with players enjoyment of the game (I’m waiting for the whole “Oh, you can always just turn off chat” argument). I hated seeing their messages when I played WoW or any other MMO and I’ve been waiting for the day that WAR launched so I could have the absolute pleasure of instituting policies to make their lives more difficult so we could drive them out of WAR."
- Mark Jacobs, co-founder of Mythic Entertainment, September 2008
"The biggest concern about real-world trading is - sorry for this example as I know it is not politically correct - it is a bit like prostitution. It's not necessarily the prostitution which is a problem, although you might have moral problems with [real-world trading]. But the real problem is the organised crime that's built around prostitution; the human trafficking, the drugs, etc. And that's the same with illegal real-world trading. The problem comes in when they start doing other illegal activities. One of the biggest is the use of stolen credit cards. They realise that if they pay GBP 3.20 and become members of RuneScape they can make more gold in-game, therefore make more money in real-world terms. So they realise hey, why would I pay for this if I can use a stolen credit card? It brings a terrible financial burden to us, not to mention the other problems we might have legally or financially around this."
Imre Jele, former head of game content (Producer), Jagex, February 2008

"I think the issue of farming is higher on the radar now than it ever has been. The behinds the scenes things are really frustration. A lot of these farmers are essentially stealing from us. What they do is they charge us back all the time. They use a credit card –sometimes stolen, sometimes not – to buy an account key. They use the account for a month, and then they call the credit card company and charge it back. We have suffered nearly a million dollars just in fines over the past six months; it's getting extremely expensive for us. What's happening is that when they do this all the time, the credit card companies come back to us and say "You have a higher than normal chargeback rate, therefore we'll charge you fines on top of that." We're really trying to get on top of that. We're taking our current efforts up about five notches to Defcon 1 on this issue. They bug us even more than they bug our customers, and we're definitely taking steps to implement rigorous anti-farming efforts.

"It's actually really amazing to sit and watch these people work. I've personally sat with them as they're tracking a farmer, and you'll see a mob spawn – this guy's got a bot that within half a second has them moving towards the creature even if it's halfway across the zone. It's a serious problem."

- John Smedley, CEO, Sony Online Entertainment, January 2008
"If you're talking about what different kinds of fraud exist in the world, the ones that for us as a developer and a publisher, the kinds of fraud that concern us the most, are the actual credit card frauds.  Where you go buy gold from a disreputable gold site, and they say 'thank you' and deliver your gold, and sell your credit card number, or start registering accounts with your credit card. 

"It's those kinds of things where people laugh and go, 'Oh, that never happens.' No. It happens. It happens a shitload. To the point where, over the last three or four years, I would dare anybody to ask an exec at a gaming company how much they've had to pay in Master Card and Visa fines, because of fraud. It happens a lot. Those fines are money that should be going into making games better, and instead they're going into fighting the fact that people are jerks in the world."

- Scott Hartsman, former Chief Creative Officer
and Executive Producer, RIFT, July 2011


  1. There's a lot of focus on the activities of the gold providers as well there should be. But often in these discussions the ethical focus never points at the players who use these services to cheat.

    Cheating is wrong. We learn this when we are small. Cheating in a game diminishes the game.

    These cheats are accelerating themselves to a higher level of prestige than they deserve to be. Imagine if you were part of the tenth best raid guild in the world. Then you were told that while no one in your guild cheats all the guilds above you have some cheats. So in fairness you should have been the best but you never received the glory you deserved.

    And so on down the line to the guy who gets blown up in a cruiser fighting a guy in an illegally bought battleship.

  2. What's the difference between cheating and adapting?

    1. Cheating means breaking the rules of the game. I don't define them, nor do you, the games companies do.

    2. Anon 9:19... the difference is you cannot 'cheat' in RL... 'Adapting' is not 'cheating', which is why we have a different word for it.

      I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling. So why don't you stop typing until you actually get a clue?

  3. There's a lot of subtext in those quotes that explains why MMO developers learned to love F2P. Lessons there for niche producers: the subscription model should remain very attractive if your game isn't all that successful but god forbid you get a breakout hit.

  4. I am conducting RMT in a number of games and some of these quotes are quite disconnected from reality.

    I don't know of any RMT website that has its own merchant account with access to customer's credit card details. Industry standard payment gateways such as PayPal, Moneybookers etc do not give the merchant access to customer's credit card details. And in any event, there is no money in scamming your customers. It's just stupid.

    Of course game companies receive chargebacks just like any other company accepting credit card payments, but that these chargebacks would largely stem from RMT accounts is a silly notion. It's kids using their parents cards to pay for subscription, microtransactions or game keys who make up the bulk of the credit card fraud. No discussion. Add to that a few third world country scammers using stolen credit cards just for the hell of it.

    1. So all the stories I've read on RMT review sites like MMOBUX in which RMT websites are asking for photocopies of people's passports and driver's licenses are nothing to worry about? And I've heard of people who open up websites to review the RMT sites because this practice is going on and they want to protect people using RMT sites from getting scammed, because it happens a lot.

    2. The reason why RMT websites ask some of their customers for identification documents is for the sole purpose of protecting themselves from unauthorized payments. I had a customer who spent 26K dollars on Runescape items back in 2006. 9 months after I received the first payment, all 26K dollars were reversed from my PayPal account. All gone with the wind. Nothing I could do about it. Probably some kid using his grandmothers bank account. Now maybe you understand why customers need to be thoroughly verified.

      As for review sites, the vast majority of them are trying to profit from RMT. MMOBUX is the prime example. I can pay them 299.99 dollars to get a life time trusted status with them. There is no credibility what so ever.