David Reid  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com David Reid  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Interview with CCP CMO: Valkyrie as a Bloodsport and a Sovereignty Shake-Up https://www.gameskinny.com/i3gfx/interview-with-ccp-cmo-valkyrie-as-a-bloodsport-and-a-sovereignty-shake-up https://www.gameskinny.com/i3gfx/interview-with-ccp-cmo-valkyrie-as-a-bloodsport-and-a-sovereignty-shake-up Mon, 18 Nov 2013 09:58:31 -0500 Mat Westhorpe

David Reid, CCP Games Chief Marketing Officer, was interviewed by BBC Radio's Adam Rosser on 12th November. They discussed EVE: Valkyrie and EVE Online's upcoming Rubicon expansion.

To listen to the audio of the interview, visit this article. What follows is the full transcription of the conversation.

Adam Rosser: We're talking about the Oculus Rift. How difficult is it to manage the expectations of an audience who are very tech savvy, very invested in EVE when it comes to this particular iteration of the EVE franchise?

David Reid: It's a big challenge obviously, I mean EVE has been running for over ten years now; a big success by any standards, half a millions subscribers around the world and growing every year. And when you introduce a new facet of the universe if you will, whether it's EVE: Valkyrie right now or DUST 514, it's important to remain internally consistent, it's important that the people who have been part of that universe from the beginning and have really helped build it look at this and realise that this is something that fits in and makes sense.

And so part of our business here has not been just to make a game, but to make sure it's a game that is consistent with the universe, that a fighter that you pilot in EVE: Valkyrie feels like it is the right size of what is should be in the EVE Universe alongside our frigates, our titans and things like that.

It has to make sense from a lore perspective, you know we have immortal clones, we have a pod where you can move your consciousness from one clone to another as you die in the game and such. Does that work in the EVE: Valkyrie thing? You know, those are the things we had to spend a little more time on rather than a typical development exercise where you're simply spinning off another franchise, another instalment in your game. This ultimately has to feel like a vibrant and coherent part of the overall EVE Universe.

AR: And it all comes from a thought experiment put together for Fanfest by a group of what was it? Five engineers?

DR: There was five people in the core group but there were probably another dozen or so people who helped out and it was very much, like you say, as many tech companies have, a 20% project--the idea that you can spend a certain amount of your time exploring new technologies and different things to do. And that is exactly what happened, CCP was one of the original Kickstarter backers of the Oculus Rift program and one of the original funders there.

The first dozen or so units showed up at the Reykjavik headquarters maybe two months before Fanfest and thus began a 20% project to see if there was something here - and wow, there was.

It's not often in gaming that, for those of us who have been in the industry at least for a while, you feel like you've kind of "yeah, it's a console launch, this is a big deal", but it's still predictable, I mean you know you're going to get great instalments of the next franchises but you aren't expecting to be surprised.

This was a surprise, right? This was for me--again, I think we all have moments--mine was the first time I put the prototype on and taking a hard turn to the right as a foe crossed me, I moved both my thumbsticks and my head and suddenly felt my stomach just drop like I'm on an airplane or a rolercoaster or something.

Taking that to Fanfest, getting that acclaim from the core EVE community - hey it was clear we had something to take to E3 and show off a bit and at E3 it became clear that "wow, this is a game that needs to be made" and it feels like the right thing to do for our players. That's where it all began--just a labour of passion from a handful of people. Now we have moved it fully to the Newcastle studio for CCP--20-some men, making this game in Britain with a British executive producer who's coming back to us from EA now, Owen O'Brien who was the producer for Mirror's Edge, maybe the only other first-person game with simulation sickness issues to work through, as Valkrie does. It's really a perfect match for us, we're really excited about the potential this team and this project has.

AR: Of course, the question that comes up and must have come up quite early on: how well integrated into the EVE universe does this game get? Because small fighters could have a role in large, pitched battles. But, in anybody's mind at the moment, is there an idea that this will live on Tranquility? That you'll be able to play the little ships against the big ships?

DR: It is certainly not a launch year 2014 endeavor. But part of what we do at CCP right, we build these high integrity universes where everything makes sense and actually works together and every player ultimately can have an impact on every other player. So you have connections already between EVE Online and DUST 514 as an example and we're going to grow that, we're going to connect those markets together, there are going to be resources in each game that matter for the players of the other game to facilitate this sandbox, we have corporations of players joined together.

That surely is in the future roadmap for Valkyrie. How much of that gets done in the next year is a very different question, but expect that that will happen and that Valkyrie will become a fully fledged sibling, if you will, of EVE and DUST in the EVE Universe.

Now, the very specific question you're asking - you know again I think we all have that vision: the Battlestar Galactica pilots by, the Viper pilots come screaming out of the side, you have the titans on each side fighting, but you also have the scrappy fighters on each side in combat.

That is a vision we have, that is something we want to work towards. I wouldn't say it will be 2014, but technology keeps getting better, we think this will happen.

AR:  You get the quantum computer to replace the server you've got and you're fine. Because of the amount of processing power you'd need, you'll probably make London go dark.

DR: [Laughs.]

AR:  I mean, for me, I was sitting thinking about how EVE: Valkyrie would fit into the EVE Universe and I thought to myself: it makes sense that it's an arena game, it makes sense that people in EVE can bet on it. I would put money on the fact that Doctor Eyjo G, your economist, would love to see something like horse-racing suddenly appear in the EVE universe. So while it may stand alone to begin with, it could be very softly integrated into the EVE Universe, couldn't it?

DR:Oh absolutely, I mean we don't have any official lottery of the EVE Universe if you will, or that sort of thing. We expose a lot of what goes... you know, the data of EVE Online through APIs, through our CREST layer and people are able to build a lot of applications around this and there have been gamers who do these sorts of things on the side of EVE Online.

It does make sense at some level as you think about; could Valkyrie be the bloodsport of the EVE Universe, if you will, right? To get more mechanically at what you're talking about? Well why not? It certainly could be and it feels like the sort of thing as you say in a high integrity economy right - probably the most robust virtual economy in the world, why wouldn't you be able to do things like that? We have investing already, we have banking - why couldn't there be betting? This seems like a logical thing for us to explore.

AR: You're about to cross the Rubicon in your next update of EVE Online, Rome had charioteers, charioteers became enormously wealthy despite the fact that lots of them were slaves. I mean, there's a logic to it.

DR: Absolutely and Rubicon, it's a super exciting time at CCP right now. We're about to launch our 20th free expansion on the 19th, we'll be debuting a little more of it on our Twitch stream on the 14th, including our cinematic trailer for Rubicon and Rubicon is a point of no return in many ways.

The EVE Universe was built and launched in 2003, with 7000+ Solar systems*, tens of thousands of planets, but there really hasn't been an expansion to the universe since then and Rubicon begins a multi-expansion arc now where players are going to be getting the resources, getting the blueprints, getting the items that will allow them to start constructing stargates and go out and find new galaxies to colonise.

This will add a whole new dimension to the sandbox, it'll add a whole new gold rush if you will, of planting flags on different systems that the sovereignty of null-sec in EVE right now is going to be disrupted in a big major way by this.

And it's important for us as we think about crossing the Rubicon of EVE and beginning this journey with our players that not only do we remain consistent within EVE Online, but there are places for DUST, there are places for Valkyrie, there are places for future games to all have an impact on this as well.


*EVE actually had 5000 systems at launch, the remaining 2000-odd arrived in 2009 as a result of wormhole space introduced in the Apocrypha expansion (and while I'm being picky, there's only one Solar system and it doesn't feature in EVE, David means star systems or planetary systems).

EVE Online's Chief Marketing Officer Talks Valkyrie, Rubicon and "new galaxies to colonise" [Exclusive Interview] https://www.gameskinny.com/qc1ix/eve-onlines-chief-marketing-officer-talks-valkyrie-rubicon-and-new-galaxies-to-colonise-exclusive-interview https://www.gameskinny.com/qc1ix/eve-onlines-chief-marketing-officer-talks-valkyrie-rubicon-and-new-galaxies-to-colonise-exclusive-interview Mon, 18 Nov 2013 09:58:10 -0500 Mat Westhorpe

Adam Rosser, BBC radio journalist and video game correspondent, recently caught up with CCP Games' chief marketing officer, David 'CCP Pokethulhu' Reid, to discuss the ongoing development of Oculus Rift's killer app, EVE: Valkyrie.

David talks about how the single-pilot fighter ships and the dogfighting gameplay of Valkyrie might integrate with the EVE Universe and what upcoming expansion Rubicon heralds for the future of EVE Online.

Of particular interest to me was the idea of Valkyrie as a bloodsport, as this was a concept discussed at some length by the EVE bloggeratti in a 2011 Blog Banter. Back then, it was a discussion about delivering some kind of quick match system within the EVE client and proved to be a quite a divisive idea. Of course, this latest conversation is simply spitballing, but Valkyrie certainly gives good cause to return to that particular can of worms.

Also, David gives apparent confirmation of plans to expand the game world of New Eden with some kind of dynamic which will lead to some big null-sec changes: 

"...Rubicon begins a multi-expansion arc now where players are going to be getting the resources, getting the blueprints, getting the items that will allow them to start constructing stargates and go out and find new galaxies to colonise.

"This will add a whole new dimension to the sandbox, it'll add a whole new gold rush if you will, of planting flags on different systems that the sovereignty of null-sec in EVE right now is going to be disrupted in a big major way by this."

Exciting stuff.

You can listen to the full interview below or follow this link to read the full transcription.


CCP Games Responds to EVE Online Community Anger at Giving Player-Run Gambling Site Promotional Prizes https://www.gameskinny.com/f7esd/ccp-games-responds-to-eve-online-community-anger-at-giving-player-run-gambling-site-promotional-prizes https://www.gameskinny.com/f7esd/ccp-games-responds-to-eve-online-community-anger-at-giving-player-run-gambling-site-promotional-prizes Sat, 28 Sep 2013 12:14:48 -0400 Mat Westhorpe

CCP Games are currently attempting to quell an upsurge in player discontent as a result of their decision to provide unique and valuable prizes to a third-party website run by players.

Further to previous GameSkinny coverage (“Tarnishing the Legacy: Does EVE Online's History Matter to CCP Games?”), Chief Marketing Officer David “CCP Pokethulhu” Reid has publicly responded to internal correspondence from the player representative body, the Council of Stellar Management, where he recognises that mistakes were made:

“Thank you for your thoughtful feedback, and for the opportunity to review your statement in advance of publishing it to the community.

"We acknowledge that we rushed this event, and we are certainly learning from it now.”

The popular SOMERblink lottery website and EVE Time Code [ETC] reseller affiliate (via Markee Dragon) is a prolific sponsor of many player-based activities including the player-organised meet-up EVE Vegas.

What's the Problem?

For CCP Games, or indeed any game developer, working in partnership third-party organisations is simply business and should be of no real concern to end-consumers. So why are elements of EVE's player community so disgruntled?

The controversy stems from the fact that SOMERblink began as—and still remains--an in-game enterprise, providing EVE players with an entertaining gambling mini-game playable through the EVE client browser.

According to the SOMERblink FAQ page:

“SOMER blink is an exciting way to play for cash, ships, and prizes in the world of EVE. Our microlotteries, called "blinks", finish in just minutes... for a fast-action experience you won't find anywhere else!”

SOMERblink is an impressively organised and creative way for its operators to get ahead in EVE Online whilst providing other players with content – it's exactly the kind of sandbox activity that CCP Games are keen to encourage. Other, similar player initiatives exist, including EVEbet, Monocle Madness, BIG Lottery and EVE Online Hold'Em, each offering ways to gamble in-game currency.

Inconsistency and Favouritism

So far, so balanced, but the problems have arisen due to active involvement from CCP.

As a player-run third party enterprise, SOMERblink are able to control who has access to their content and therefore the chance to win exclusive prizes provided by CCP. This has been held in stark contrast to another, recent EVE community controversy in which, following some player-on-player banning, CCP representatives withdrew from a popular in-game player channel and set up an official equivalent in order to ensure inclusive access for CCP-run events.

This certainly shows some inconsistency in CCP's dealing with player-run affairs, with a far more relaxed CCP approach being taken to the exclusive nature of SOMERblink's content.

CCP's motives are clear: it wants to encourage player initiatives like SOMERblink, which stimulate community activity and the turnover of ISK. This is beneficial from both a sandbox gameplay perspective and for CCP as a business. Such activity will result in the consumption of in-game currency and commodities, increasing the sale of ETCs which can be converted via EVE's PLEX system for more ISK.

In CMO David Reid's recent statement, he explains that “we believe CCP should foster the activities our players enjoy, and it is clear these kinds of activities have a lot of support in the EVE community, much like we see in other games.”

However, CCP has previously stated that they are the “hands-off janitors of the virtual world,” whose responsibility it is to maintain the game world and act as impartial referee. By playing such an active role as to provide a single player organisation with in-game goods (and now out-of-game Iceland trips) worth $1000s in in-game currency is courting controversy and player discontent.

CMO David Reid's statement addressed this:

“...we recognize it is imperative for CCP to remain impartial with respect to which 3rd parties receive CCP support for these kinds of activities. To that end, we will develop a clear policy on how we plan to conduct future events, including how we will determine which 3rd parties and which events will receive CCP support, and we will develop that policy in consultation with the CSM.”

In Conclusion

The open-world game universe of EVE Online encourages players to think and play creatively, with in-game corporations looking to find military and commercial dominance. The unique persistent nature and community-driven content often blurs the lines between gameplay and reality as exemplified in our recent series on EVE's players who have found success outside the game client.

In nurturing both this creative culture and driving forward as a successful business, CCP Games faces some unique challenges. As real-world businesses increasingly look to gamification as a means of engaging customers and employees, CCP find themselves approaching the problem from the other end as EVE's in-game enterprises begin to find success in the real world, provoking concerns regarding unfair advantage, RMTing and other unreasonable practices.

Where is the line?