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CCP,  EVE Online  Player Reps Resolve Virtual Items Issue

CCP, EVE Online Player Reps Resolve Virtual Items Issue

July 5, 2011 | By Kris Graft

After face-to-face talks, EVE Online developers and player reps came to a resolution regarding a controversial virtual goods strategy and other points of concern about the online sci-fi game.

"The discussions were very productive and both parties came to an understanding and agreement on key topics," wrote EVE Online senior producer Arnar Hrafn Gylfason in a statement over the weekend. "That meeting has now ended and a firm resolution reached by both parties."

CCP held the meeting last week at its Reykjavik, Iceland headquarters with the game's Council of Stellar Management, a player-elected group that represents EVE Online's player base.

The controversy started late last month, when EVE Online's new Noble Exchange virtual shop began offering cosmetic avatar items for prices ranging from $12.50 to over $60, rivaling the price for major ships.

Negativity towards the direction of the virtual store boiled over when an internal CCP newsletter leaked out, detailing in-house discussions and ideas for how the developer could try to maximize the monetization of its player base through virtual goods sales.

Gylfasonn said in his statement, "CCP acknowledges that the reaction following the leaked internal communication could have been handled better. Good communication and trust between CCP and the EVE community has always been a fundamental priority for CCP and will continue to be so."

The senior producer also said that it has always been CCP's plan to only sell only "vanity" items in EVE Online's virtual shop, such as clothing and ship skins. There will be no sales of in-game performance-boosting items.

Gylfasonn showed the player reps CCP's plans for the game's business model under a non-disclosure agreement, and the CSM said in a statement it was "convinced that CCP has no plans to introduce any game-affecting virtual goods, only pure vanity items such as clothing and ship skins," although the player reps originally were "shocked and appalled" by the shop's initial implementation.

The CSM added, "We accept CCP's position that Fearless [the leaked newsletter] is a deliberately controversial internal publication and does not represent the policy of CCP Management or of CCP Zulu, the Senior Producer of EVE Online, nor the direction of game design."

The CSM statement continued, "We believe that the situation that has unfolded in the past week has been a perfect storm of CCP communication failures, poor planning and sheer bad luck. Most of these issues, when dealt with in isolation, were reasonably simple to discuss and resolve, but combined they transformed a series of errors into the most significant crisis the EVE community has yet experienced."

CCP said it is working towards putting items discussed at the meeting into action, and communicating further with the larger EVE Online customer base.

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