Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Does EVE Need A New Eden Gaming Commission?

Another Council of Stellar Management election, another event involving a major gambling site in EVE Online. CSM 8 dealt with the discovery by players that CCP's rules for game time code resellers meant that player affiliates could avoid following some aspects of the EULA. CSM 9 faced the effects of SOMERblink attempting to circumvent the EULA and the subsequent banning of Somerset Mahm. Now, is in the news because CCP blacklisted the site in the IGB. While many suspect the involvement of illicit RMT in the decision, we don't know if ownership is involved, the matter involves just a few rogue employees, or if hackers cracked the website and CCP shut everything down, including banning accounts, until they can sort out the situation.

Is EVE at the point where CCP needs to create something like the EVE Central Bank to oversee the gambling operations using virtual currency and virtual goods from the EVE universe?

EVE Central Bank Mission Statement - Notice The Mention of RMT
The EVE Central Bank isn't a permanent organization that meets every day deciding the fate of the New Eden economy. The EVE Central Bank meets whenever the economics team feels the movement of the PLEX market affects the ability of players to purchase PLEX to continue playing the game. The ECB is funded using the assets seized off of permanently banned accounts. Basically, the economics team sees strange movement in the PLEX market, meets with the senior producer, and if the senior producer agrees, the economics team dips into their stash of confiscated PLEX to steady the market. The CSM is informed of the move to ensure that no funny business (i.e. another T20 situation) occurs.

If CCP does establish a New Eden Gaming Commission, the organization should only focus on violations of the EULA, Terms of Service, and any associated policies. If unscrupulous gaming operators want to cheat the rubes, let them. But if a gaming website becomes a way to launder large amounts of ISK for illicit RMT operations, CCP has to take action. And if a gambling site operator with a large amount of violations claims the nature of the business precludes taking any effective measures to prevent EULA/ToS violations, then perhaps CCP shouldn't provide the API access the operator needs in order to stay in business.

Does CCP need to create a game commission if the company already has an internal group performing the same function? I'll answer with another question. Did Dr. Eyjo need to create an EVE Central Bank apart from an excuse to roleplay at work? Maybe. By giving the process for deciding to inject PLEX into the markets a name, he indicated that CCP recognized the important role that PLEX had gained in the EVE economy. He also identified the people making the decision as very highly placed individuals and not just a couple of guys looking at a spreadsheet. Finally, the term EVE Central Bank is a reminder that CCP does have a bank of seized PLEX and doesn't need to create PLEX out of thin air to influence the market. The PLEX, which CCP removed from the game due to player misconduct, is just reintroduced at a time when a major market manipulation CCP deems bad for the game occurs.

I think the final answer on whether the company should introduce a new organization like a New Eden Gaming Commission into the game universe depends on how CCP views the current state of player-run gambling institutions. Do they feel that the gambling sites are prominent enough that they help distinguish EVE from other games on the market? Does CCP consider some of the websites large enough to partner with at EVE player gatherings? And are the gambling operations so big that their finances warrant special monitoring? If the answer to these three question is yes, then perhaps CCP may want to raise the visibility of its procedures for dealing with major player-run gambling sites.


  1. Only idiots gamble on an internet site where they can't see how the "games" actually work on the server side. There is nothing stopping site operators from rigging the games outright, RMT or not. CCP shouldn't let anyone use their IP in relation to gambling.

  2. CCP has never been the most proactive of developers when dealing with player-built organisations. I reckon it comes from the imaginary 'sandbox' nature of EVE, which they cannot decide the scope of. Honestly, CCP should've created a NEGC when the actual idea of player run gambling sites were raised. They didn't, and perhaps now they're reaping the whirlwind...

    Considering the suspicious patterns of winning in such sites as IWANTISK, Somerblink and most other, I don't feel it is a unreasonable supposition that RMTing is going on (at least on a small scale). Would anyone's experience truly be limited if the gambling sites were banned? I don't think so.

    Rob K.