Friday, May 1, 2020

CCP's War On Illicit RMT: Falling Out Of The Top 20

Long time readers know I follow a gold/plat/ISK/gil selling site called Player Auctions. I used quotes from sellers on the site when I presented on stage with Team Security at Fanfest 2015. The tears from buyers CCP busts I post on Twitter come from the site. And I have used statistics gleaned from customer feedback reviews to monitor activity on the EVE Online black market. But honestly, I never really believed I would post the below image.

20 most popular games on Player Auctions - 1 May 2020

That's right. EVE Online is not one of the 20 most popular games for people looking to buy virtual goods and currency. The game lost that distinction two weeks ago and I've waited for the game to pop back up on the rankings. But so far, it hasn't.

The lack of demand for ISK isn't helped by steep price increases over the last two months. Since 1 March, the 7-day average price of one billion ISK purchased on Player Auctions has increased 58.8%, from $4.37 USD per billion to $6.94 USD per billion on 30 April.

Not all is perfect in CCP's eternal fight against the black market trade in EVE Online virtual currency and items. Back in 2015 I described CCP's basic strategy in its fight against the illicit ISK trade. First, use PLEX to set a ceiling on how much dodgy sites can sell ISK for. Next, force the cost of business for the ISK sellers up through the use of bans, asset seizures, and other security measures. Between capping sales and increasing the cost of doing business, hopefully the professional sellers would leave EVE and infest other games where they can make a lot more money.

But as CCP continues to revamp the New Eden economy, one of the goals apparently is the reduction of the price of PLEX. But reducing the ISK price of PLEX necessarily means increasing the real world price of ISK. So while the cost of ISK sold on Player Auctions rose $2.57/billion from the start of March to the end of April, the 7-day moving average of the regular price for ISK sold through the CCP-approved market rose $2.50 USD per billion ISK. In effect, the ceiling is rising just as the black market sellers need a break.

Even with the 22% increase in the price of ISK purchased on the primary market, people are eschewing purchasing ISK from Player Auctions. Which is a good thing. Getting rid of the professionals will help make EVE a better game.

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