Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wildstar Is Not Following The EVE Online Business Model

When Carbine announced the business model for Wildstar on Monday, everyone, except, started comparing the plan to EVE Online's.  I guess creating something called a Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction, and Development (C.R.E.D.D) which players can purchase for either $19.99 or in-game currency and then redeem for 30 days of play time might cause the comparisons to begin.  That sounds a lot like CCP's 30 Day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX) that players can purchase for $19.95 (cheaper in bulk) or in-game currency and then redeem for 30 days of play time, doesn't it?

Of course, some took a closer look at the way C.R.E.D.D will work and started questioning the EVE Online link.  Wilhelm Arcturus on The Ancient Gaming Noob wrote the best analysis, making a convincing case that due to the nature of the game that Sony Online Entertainment's Kronos, which functions exactly like PLEX, is more relevant.  The worst I read came from's Eliot Lefebvre, who doubled-down on his initial report and continued to compare C.R.E.D.D to Guild Wars 2's Gem Exchange.  Sorry, but when someone writes an article that flat out contradicts what Wildstar Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney told the press in a couple of cases on how C.R.E.D.D. works and doesn't have other facts to back up the assertions, I consider that bad.

When I state that Wildstar is not following the EVE Online business model, I don't look at the mechanics of PLEX vs C.R.E.D.D.  I look at something far more basic.  How much does someone have to pay to buy the game's software?  For Wildstar, the price is $59.99.  For EVE?  Nothing.

That's right, nothing.  CCP charges a $5 administrative fee for creating a paying account, but that is the extent of the charges, apart from paying for the subscription, to enter a game.  A big difference, right?  CCP believes that they are selling a service, not just a game.  As CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson told The Escapist in October 2008:
"The service we have to offer is very economically resilient," said Pétursson. "Paying $15 and playing as much as you want within a given month is a very strong value, especially compared to the price of a movie ticket." He believes that MMOs will be inversely affected by the economic crisis - people will be more likely to spend time online and in-game than watching TV or going out to the movies - and their own internal data has supported that, with people playing more frequently than they used to. "As long as we keep up our end of the bargain," he continued, "they'll be able to continue that." 
And CCP's pricing structure matches that business model.  When I think of paying for EVE, I compare it to paying for Netflix.  A little more expensive, but like Netflix, no upfront costs and I can cancel anytime I want.

Carbine, on the other hand, is looking at a more traditional model with players paying for a box, paying a monthly subscription, and then somewhere down the road paying for expansions (which CCP gives out for free as part of their service).  I understand the rationale for wanting to get development costs back.  But does throwing a PLEX system into the game mean Wildstar is following EVE's business model?  Not in my eyes.


  1. Well, I only compared CREDD to PLEX directly, outside of other business model dynamics, and decided that EVE was so different in design that it was not an apt comparison. The market in WildStar will never be as pervasive as the market in EVE. It is much more akin to SOE's Krono, and I am not sure how successful that is.

  2. There's been a lot of talk about whether or not a sub will discourage players from playing in this day and age of "everything must be F2P!"

    Personally I couldn't care less about the sub - but you will have to try very hard indeed to persuade me to drop full box price up-front to play a new game. Wildstar has not yet maneuvered itself anywhere NEAR the territory where I would drop sixty bucks on it just to check it out.

  3. I was stoked about this game - figuring that it would follow the Guild Wars model but unfortunately I can't foresee even considering a purchase after reading about their get rich scheme in this new model. As if it weren't big enough of a joke to start with I love the "Why CREDD costs more FAQ" item that explains it's so costly for them to keep your information secure :).

  4. They can take whatever business model they want, but nothing beats exposure. It's still about getting to the most eyes and ears, and pulling people in to take a gander at your product. It's what works, and what continues to be relevant in any media or technological platform.