Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

EVE "media" is pathetic and RMT-ing

The article of Noisy got me thinking. Maybe the EVE "media" sites are more problematic than they look. Now zebra admits that the reasonable journalist ways to get money are closed and offer two solutions. One is exactly what I was half-joking about. They want in-game rich people to "become benefactors" aka buy publicity. Yes, they wouldn't simply accept my ISK, they literally ask for it. If I'd play the game, zebra would sing my praise for pennies.

The other option is CCP paying them. Seriously. The problem isn't the stupid method they suggest (why would CCP run a gambling site to get ISK when they can create it infinitely?), it's that they want a real world corporation support them in writing about a video game. Well punks, that's what "gaming journalism" is and CCP probably pays some of them, otherwise crappy PR articles like this wouldn't be written. But CCP pays those sites that can bring new customers. Sure CCP could produce its own EVE-news site to increase player satisfaction, but then they would produce it and they would make the calls and the writers would be just employees.

But these speculations all miss the point. The point is that these sites have real money income from advertising and surveys and whatnot. They don't have costs, since the writers are paid with ISK gained from "sources":
This is what the scheme looks in a bizarre universe where people just give away their ISK for nothing. In this case, the site gets income for nothing. One solution was discussed already, the in-game rich person is getting in-game propaganda. That's possible, but rare. After all EN24 or Zebra never approached me to sell me propaganda for ISK. The more likely is that the "benefactor" gets money back (obviously not all). The standard RMT is: the botter sells ISK for cheap to the site and the site sells this ISK for higher rate to an ISK buyer. Here the value goes a roundtrip: the purchased ISK is sold to a writer for content, the content is sold to readers for adclicks and adclicks are sold to an advertiser for money. But at the end, the site gets money for the ISK purchased in bulk.

Everything that moves around in-game currency is either a purely game thing (buy pixel item for pixel money) or RMT. There is no third option. There are two and only two "game content creation" that isn't RMT:
  • It's done for hobby (FC creates content because he loves FCing, blogger writes because he wants to express himself)
  • It's done for salary as you are a dev
Don't get me wrong, I suggested a dev written roleplaying newspaper as content creation for increased player satisfaction. But that's purely option 2: the writers are paid employees of the developer.

Every game developer must understand that any player who isn't doing what he's doing for hobby is doing it for RMT and hunt them all down - or hire them as employees and control them.


Provi Miner said...

Hobby what is a hobby? Well there is the legal definition of a hobby it is something that you invest in (time and money) and see less return than investment. However you can have a hobby call it a business make a negative net income and for at least 4 years you can get away with the write offs. Or you can be an honest hobbyist making wood chairs cause it is your relaxation. You eventually fill your house with wood chairs so you give some to friends a few you personalize cause you like your friends... They tell some people or some people see your work and they show up and say "if I buy the supplies how much would you charge me to make a chair" at first you say "nothing but I won't guarantee when it will be done" after all it is just a hobby. so they say "how about 200 if you get it done in two weeks?" your eyes light up and say sure (your almost a business) as long as your profits are dirt low you can still call it a hobby and claim no benefit, but soon your cpa buddy who has some of your chairs says "hey make it a side business then you can write off all your tools and stuff just sell enough to make some money and you are home clear"

At the end of the day you come down to two choices go out to dinner with the husband and kiddos or work through the night to meet your deadline. Dinner = hobbyist work through the night = business.

You can still say its a hobby and you are just doing what you want but the world calls it a business.......

The moment someone pays you to lead a fleet, according to you gobs, they just became an RMT'er? I don't think so but you would have a very low hurdle to clear to change my mind. I am still 100% convinced that Core is RMT'er using his isk he makes selling his ships for his fleets I have no evidence and there is no proof and I won't ever try to bring it to a legal level or make such a claim to the authorities but that doesn't change what I think.

Herman said...

Other possible models for running a site as a business instead of a hobby can be seen at Blizzardwatch and Massively Overpowered: both spawned after their original parent sites shut down (by endgadget and joystiq I think?). Both use crowd funding as well as advertising as a revenue source.

BW opted to use Patreon only, MO started with a Kickstarter and now also uses Patreon. Money goes directly from the reader to the site, and the games benefit by getting covered by specialist media (instead of more general gaming sources).

Some of the creators on Patreon are clearly hobbyists, others are able to use it as their main source of income.

maxim said...

The red line in the sand here is accepting money for playing the game.
The only way of doing that that doesn't corrupt the game is when you do it publicly and loudly (f/ex winning a tournament, getting open and public sponsorship, running a streaming channel with fully disclosed income sources).

RMT in virtual worlds is about as hard to stamp out as real-world crime is in real world. This is a "who will guard the guards" question.
You always need to strike a sort of balance.

The issue with striking the balance here is the combination of the following observations:
1) if people running the game are more interested in personal profits than corporate well-being, RMTers find a way to corrupt them
2) should corporate well-being become tied to RMT, even people interested in corporate well-being over personal profits will become corrupted (though this will obviously take longer than in case (1))
3) people who are more interested in the game itself than both personal profits and corporate benefit are loose cannons that are as likely to ruin the whole thing as they are to save it, so you need to bet on (2) for long-term stability

Anonymous said...

well ever hosted yourself?
If they can run the site net-positive on advertisement alone good for them. Not everyone is google you know.
used wowdb? mmochamp? they all use advertisment. If someone builds a db, calc, wiki or other tool that will be community accepted and used .. why shouldn't they place advertisement? The service already costs and I doubt that some toolsites ever run a profit from advertisement alone.

"Hobby" Every single person I know in the real world that follows a hobby seriously, will exchange goods and money. Be it aquarium and selling fish and plants or mechanics stuff like cars or bikes. It is the only way to keep the hobby rolling.

Anonymous said...

Obvious point is that these sites have become almost irrelevant now. As in all games you have the 80/20 ratio, 80% who never ever will read or write or do anything outside the client, in eve they level their ravens. But even of the remaining they are still not very interested. TMC would get 100+ comments regularly a few years ago, today its not even 10 on most article. Podcasts has the same handful of people talking to themselves in an echo chamber. Asking CCP to pay them because of their "importance to the community" is totally delusional.

99smite said...

Sorry, Provi Miner totally missed the point.
And anonymous too. The problem is not that advertisers pay them, the problem is that an out of game activity is paid with in-game money. This is RMT as normally, the service would be paid in RL currency.

I do not know whether the aforementioned sites, like wowdb or mmochamp use advertisers who pay them with wow "gold", but if so, RMT, if they pay for a RL service (placing ads on a website)with RL money, then it is not...

Using patreon or similar transparent sponsorships is totally ok.

And if the "EVE media" articles are currently read by only a handful people, then this might have to do with the fact that fewer and fewer real people play that corrupt game...

EVE has become boring on a scale unprecedented. PL still fucks up any larger op that smaller entities try to undertake. Look for a timer in low or nul, show up there in time, cloaked if need be and watch PL show up to either destroy anyone on the field or whore onto the structure kill and then gank anyone ongrid...

Citadel mechanics are the worst crap ever and are still worse than moon mining towers, an absurd passive income source that will cater only to those who have paid the devs a beer or two at fanfest...

Anonymous said...

Even if you remove the benefactor out of the chart it is still RMT, it doesn't matter how the site get his ISK to begin with, botting, farming, managing an alliance and gathering taxes...