Wednesday, March 17, 2021

CCP Refines The Rental Of Skills In EVE Online

I will add one additional possibility I know a lot of Western EVE players will hate. Pearl Abyss could create new sets of ship packs, with the rent-a-skill packages allowing players to try out particular ships. If I am correct about how Asian players look at video games, the Expert Systems, combined with various ship packs, could result in higher retention of Asian players.

- The Nosy Gamer, 1 March 2021

As we approach the end of the first quarter of Pearl Abyss' fiscal year, CCP continues to fine-tune their cash shop offerings heading into the second quarter. The studio should surpass the revenue earned year-over-year in the first quarter. Not only did EVE Echoes launch in Q3 2020, but the Serenity cluster in China did not reopen until April 2020. The Icelandic studio should also beat its year-over-year financial performance in the second quarter as well, especially if the new offerings in the EVE Online cash shop perform as hoped for.

The new packs (not including Reign Supreme)

Yesterday CCP announced a new line of products, Mindstorm Experience Packs.

Are you an aspiring explorer aching for the frontiers of space? Do you see yourself harvesting resources amidst the majestic asteroid belts of New Eden? If so, then brand-new Mindstorm Experience Packs will connect you to your dreams and allow you to glimpse your future self and career in New Eden!

Featuring new Expert Systems that grant you specific virtual skills and skill levels for a limited time, exploration-themed Mindstorm Experience Packs also contain a fully-fitted Tech 1 exploration Frigate that’s ready to fly, and even 10 PLEX that you can trade for ISK to help fund further vessels (in case you need a replacement). This experience is available for pilots of all four of New Eden’s great empires; Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, and Minmatar.

For those of you who harbor ambitions of a life amongst the cluster’s asteroid belts, the Mindstorm Mining Experience Pack contains the Mining Barge Operator Expert System that provides the virtual skills and skill levels necessary to operate a Mining Barge such as a Procurer for 7 days. It also comes with 50 PLEX that you can trade for millions of ISK to help you make that first Mining Barge ship purchase!

Taste your destiny as one of New Eden’s immortal elite as you experience a particular profession before committing fully to completing the required skill training.

The only thing left is to ask yourself is “Who do I want to be today?”

I think the last line is overstating matters a bit as the only packages involve exploration and mining. As the article stated, the new packages evolve around the new Expert System packages. These packages allowing users to rent select bundles of skills for seven days had one major problem. Players need to acquire a ship to fly in order to actually use the skills. A bit of a hurdle.

The pack with the Heron

The packages include either fitted ships (the exploration packages) or a way to pay for a ship (mining package). With those addition, CCP charges an extra 50 cents for the exploration packages and $2.49 for the mining package compared to the Expert Systems bundles.

From the Pearl Abyss Q4 2020 Earnings Call

In my more uncharitable moments, I look at these promotional packages with the Expert Systems as cynical attempts to milk a little money out of new players before they leave the game for good. But then I remember the presentation on the Pearl Abyss Q4 2020 earnings call and their plan to increase revenue by expanding EVE into the Asian markets. 

Monetizing Asian players is a little different than monetizing players in the West. Where players in North America and Europe may not think too much about buying PLEX to purchase skill injectors off the in-game market, Asian players may want to test out a feature before making a bigger purchase.

For example, would an Asian player pay $6.49 to try out a feature for a week before spending over $30 to make the decision permanent? What I wrote last week about the Mining Barge Operations Expert System holds true for the Advanced Mining Pack.

In addition to convincing players to pay a subscription, I think the EVE monetization team is hoping players will then purchase the Silver Pack from the cash shop for $22.99. Not only does the package contain 30 days of Omega time, but also 250,000 skill points and 110 PLEX. Converting the PLEX to ISK can really help improve the fitting of a ship. And if a player really gets into mining, purchasing one of the lower end PLEX packages in addition to the Silver Pack is a distinct possibility. My guess is that the $9.99 package would be a popular seller amongst the new miners who chose to rent the mining barge package.

The $30 figure also assumes that players renting the skills try to PLEX their accounts instead of paying a subscription fee. When including that possible commitment of either time mining in the game or subscribing for a few months, maybe a $6.49 purchase to try the gameplay out for a week makes sense.

The promotions will continue until revenue improves for Pearl Abyss. Not just in the EVE franchise, but for the company as a whole. We won't really know if these efforts are successful until the Pearl Abyss earnings call for the second quarter, which will occur sometime in August. Until then all we can do is watch the reaction of the players.

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