Wednesday, November 4, 2015

CCP, Hanlon's Razor, And The Price Of PLEX

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Before EVE Vegas, I pointed out the terms of the PLEX sale associated with the Bloody Omar in-game event. I thought, based on the web page, that the cost of PLEX was about to rise.

To me, the page seemed to indicate that the price of PLEX would increase after the sale ended. I circled the prices on the screenshot. Those prices would indicate to someone purchasing PLEX that the regular price of 2 PLEX was $39.90 and 6 PLEX cost $119.70. A player who had never purchased PLEX before would see the "Save $5.91" and "Save $19.71" and think he was getting a bargain.

About that bargain. The prices returned to normal yesterday as the sale ended. Here is what the PLEX Store page looked like at 0600 EVE time today:

The good news is that the price of PLEX did not rise. But that leaves the little bit of deception that CCP pulled on unsuspecting players. Seems that instead of a player saving $5.91 by purchasing 2 PLEX during the sale, the actual discount was $1.00 USD.  The savings for purchasing 6 PLEX was only $4.98, not the $19.71 advertised during the sale.

Perhaps quoting Hanlon's Razor at the top of the post is mean. I am irritated with what happened, although I can see where CCP may have acted without malice in someone's heart. The "Save X amount" is clearly a carryover from the standard page displaying the savings of purchasing a bundle versus just purchasing one at a time.

The problem is the price quoted below the price on the sales page. The prices I circled should list the regular price, not the price of the number of PLEX times $19.95. If we assume Hanlon's Razor is correct, then the issue probably occurred when translating the prices of the 13 PLEX and 30 PLEX packages. The regular page doesn't offer those amounts, just 12 and 28 PLEX packages. My guess is someone just took the $19.95 single PLEX price and just multiplied that by the number of PLEX and called it a day.

I could put my tinfoil hat on and speculate that CCP planned on raising the price, but then backed out at the last minute. If the tinfoil is correct, then the web designer did everything right and got left holding the bag, hoping no one noticed.

Now, if I am wandering into tinfoil territory, I should give the wild theory I came up with using my special The Mittani decoder ring. What if the sale was a market test for a price reduction? Why would CCP reduce the price of PLEX? Well, because of new features like selling skill points that require Aurum, or PLEX to convert into Aurum. Or PLEX to convert to ISK in order to buy the skill points. CCP may figure that lowering the price of PLEX a little will bring in more real world cash. Holding a nearly two week sale may give CCP the metrics to see how much money they would bring in with a small price reduction. 

Removing the tinfoil, I do have to say I'm disappointed in CCP's performance during the sale. No matter what the motivation, I believe CCP misrepresented how much players would save during the sale. Hopefully we do not see a repeat performance anytime soon.

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