The makers of EVE Online are reaching out to player representatives after leaked internal documents regarding new, microtransaction vanity items have led to vocal player denunciations and in-game demonstrations against the company.
The controversy started last Tuesday, when EVE Online's new Noble Exchange shop began offering cosmetic avatar items for prices ranging from $12.50 to over $60, rivaling the price for major ships. These prices would also represent significant play time in the game's economy, which melds real world and in-game currency, which are largely interchangeable in EVE.
"We want to offer convenience for a price," CCP lead content creator Scott Holden wrote in the newsletter, adding by way of analogy that "you can develop a friendship by 'spending' your time, or you can pay to get the same benefits that friendship would otherwise allow."
Many players responded to the leak by venting their outrage in massive forum threads and even staging a type of denial-of-service attack on an in-game trading hub by flooding it with attacking ships.
CCP officially addressed the growing controversy on Friday, when EVE Online senior producer Arnar Hrafn Gylfason wrote in a blog post that the internal newsletter merely represented employee opinions, and not company policy.
Gyalfson went on to compare the pricing for vanity items to fashionable, $1,000 jeans in the real world and promised future vanity items at lower price points in the future.
But in a supposedly leaked message to CCP employees posted on EveNews24 Saturday, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson purportedly called the player reaction "very predictable" and promised the company would not flip flop on item pricing in reaction to mere talk from players.
"I can tell you that this is one of the moments where we look at what our players do and less of what they say," Petursson wrote in the alleged message. "Innovation takes time to set in and the predictable reaction is always to resist change."
By Sunday, producer Gylfason had posted another blog apologizing for the tone of his original post. He also took the step of inviting the CSM, the game's player-elected representatives to an "extraordinary meeting" with CCP in Iceland to "help us define and address the real underlying concerns, and to assist us in defining and iterating on our virtual goods strategy." The CSM usually meets in person only twice a year.