What Can Be Learned From the EVE Online Prize Money Debacle?

What will CCP Games take from their experience of running a cash prize tournament?

As CCP Games recovered from the bankruptcy of New Eden Open tournament sponsors Own3D, CCP Dolan and CCP Loxy scrambled to appease angry prizewinners who were left waiting months for their money.

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Communication was conducted both via forums and email, but still some players were struggling to understand exactly what was required of them.

Unclear Documentation?

Addressing the variety of payment methods requested, CCP Loxy offered this advice:

“To be very very clear on this point. The invoices must be filled in completely as instructed. We can not chase up information for you. We also cannot send money through paypal, or through several banks in some special arrangement. If you do not have the information for your own account I’d suggest finding a friend or relative who can accept the transfer on your behalf.”

However, some of the confusion may have been arising from CCP’s documentation requesting information which was unknown to banks of non-US countries. Prizewinner Nikuno suggested that requesting ABA (American Banking Association) Numbers from non-US residents gave “the impression of delay and evasion behind an unnecessary technicality”.

The challenges of deciphering international banking documentation seemed to have thrown a spanner in the works at both ends of the exchange.

Robin of Loxy Gets Money to Poor Players

CCP Loxy addressed the still unpaid prizewinners on 14th June, apologetically stating:

“Hey all, the only update I can give is I went up to finance yesterday and they confirmed the stack of invoices we handed in were now with the bank to be paid out. Sorry again for the mess and please understand this is an attempt to salvage the situation from when Own3d.tv closed it’s doors and we were not properly prepared or realized the various issues that would come up.

Needless to say when we next offer a cash prize it will be done differently with the path to payment laid out in advance to avoid this happening again.”

Mirkonix of the G0dfathers posted confirmation of payment received on the same day, “I’ve been in touch with few rl friends from team and i can confirm some of them got money this morning. So it’s actualy happening.”

Nikuno and others also checked in to report receipt of payment.

Reflections

Clearly, the liquidation of Own3D caught CCP on the back foot and left them attempting to conceive and implement a contingency plan to deliver the prize money. However, given the time it has taken to do just that, it seems apparent that CCP really should have devoted more resources to the problem.

Reading the forums gives the impression that a single, newly-recruited customer representative – CCP Dolan – was left to oversee the entire process (whilst simultaneously managing the Council of Stellar Management elections and preparing for Fanfest). CCP Loxy joined the cause in May, but by then five months had already passed.

It was quite right that CCP Games stepped in to resolve problems caused by Own3D’s liquidation and it is a relief that the problems seem to finally be reaching a resolution, but in terms of customer relations, it has not been CCP’s finest hour despite the efforts of those involved.

With the jewel in EVE Online‘s eSports combat crown – The Alliance Tournament – scheduled for 20th June, CCP and tournament veterans alike will no doubt be glad to put the spectre of the first New Eden Open behind them once and for all, but personally, I hope it doesn’t put them off attempting similar tournaments again.

 

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Image of Mat Westhorpe
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.