Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A EULA Change Produces Deja Vu All Over Again

"We pay our writers 250 million ISK per article, podcast or video, and 150m for editing. Every article you see on CZ takes between three to ten man hours of work to produce. Outside of that, there is a large amount of administrative work and research that needs to be done, all of which allows us to offer an experience to our readers and listeners that far exceeds what any individual blog might provide."

I should feel really good right now. Professionally, my boss went on paternity leave for three weeks, leaving me in charge. All emergencies handled, the servers didn't melt, and he sounded happy after I debriefed him on what he missed. Which is all good, because my review is coming up. Cha ching!

Outside of work, I land in Las Vegas at 9:10 am Thursday, local time. I'll spend four days talking internet spaceships with people I've met at previous meetups as well as with new people I don't know yet. Perhaps more importantly, I'll get to go to Holsteins and get one of their milkshakes. Yum!

Despite all the positivity in the air, I feel like a cloud has settled over my head. A cloud the likes not seen since the great ISBoxer meltdown of 2014-2015. CCP announced a EULA change taking effect on 8 November that bans EVE gambling sites. And just like with the enforcement of the rules involving input broadcasting and input multiplexing on 1 January 2015, a small segment of the EVE player base is up in arms over CCP's decision.

A feeling of deja vu struck me as I watched my Twitter feed yesterday. First came a post on Crossing Zebras wrapping "EVE media" in the community flag. One argument is that, "it’s time for some of these players that have amassed an incredible wealth to give back to the community." Really? Amassing wealth in a video game leads to social obligations to those who want funds? We play a video game, for Bob's sake. Anyone trying to guilt trip me over having a lot of virtual currency in a video game gets laughed at. Of course, I guess I need to have a lot of ISK first.

The second idea is even worse. The author wants CCP to run its own casino and distribute the profits to worth causes, like EVE media sites. I have to quote one paragraph:
"The rest could be used by CCP to sponsor external sites, like Crossing Zebras or like EN:24, which would be telling the stories of players to the world, act as a source of advertising for the game, as well as holding CCP accountable when they release new game features."
Seriously? Does anyone expect a news site paid for by CCP to criticize CCP? Eve News 24 couldn't even criticize I WANT ISK, a major sponsor, whenever the gambling site fell afoul of the EVE Online EULA. Besides, CCP is ending gambling in part due to a movement among governments to crack down on skins gambling done by third party sites. Is CCP going to risk running afoul of violating those same laws directly? I think not.

A little later, Niden's bleg appeared in my Twitter feed. Perhaps the first post from Crossing Zebras put me in a foul mood. Or perhaps the combination of the bleg combined with Niden's and Nashh Kadavr's appearance on Talking in Stations set me off. But I couldn't help but think of the reaction of ISBoxer users.

In some ways, the reactions of those who profited from the largess of EVE casinos is more egregious than that of hyper-boxers who used input broadcasting and multiplexing. In the case of ISBoxer users, they loudly proclaimed that they brought so much money into EVE that CCP needed to balance the game around them. The EVE media types and other content creators addicted to gambling money not only argue that CCP needs to balance the game around gambling, but the developers also need to take legal risks to allow them to continue their activities. And if CCP insists on banning gambling, then the developers need to replace the lost income somehow, or bad things will happen that will damage the game.

I still remember the months-long fights over the input broadcasting and multiplexing bans. I really don't want to live through another period like that. Something tells me that, since the EVE media has a much greater reach than ISBoxer users, I may not find an escape short of just abandoning all EVE sites.

In the meantime, I should look on the bright side. Holsteins has a special fall milkshake:
"Get your taste of fall at Holsteins with the Pumpkin Pie Bam-Boozled Shake, a pumpkin spice blend of vanilla ice cream, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin pie filling and graham crackers, garnished with vanilla frosting, a candy corn rim, whipped cream and a slide of pumpkin pie."
I can feel my mood improving already.

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