Will CCP Games ever allow real money trading (RMT)? How would RMT change EVE Online? Could people make a living playing EVE? Can video games provide the missing puzzle piece to the cryptocurrency conundrum?
The economy of EVE Online is the most complex, highly studied, and fascinating economy of any major video game. In spite of space battles with damage costing hundreds of thousands of real-world dollars, the game does not allow real money trading. During a recent interview, we asked their Brand Director / Economist-in-chief Sæmundur Hermannsson and Creative Director Bergur Finnbogason about their take on RMT.
Their answers led down a fascinating rabbit hole of future tech, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and more. Following the recent announcement that EVE Online are running their own environmentally friendly kill-token NFTs, we felt it was only right that we shared their answers as a standalone piece.
Disclaimer: The following views belong only to the interviewed directors and do not necessarily reflect those of CCP as a brand or collective.
Players can win EVE Online NFTs in The Alliance Tournament. Will EVE Online RMT and Cryptocurrency follow?
Will EVE Online ever allow real money trading (RMT) and what do you think would happen to the economy if it did?
Bergur: “So, it’s never good to say never and I think there’s a lot to be learned from where we’re at in this whole blockchain and NFT scenario. I believe cryptocurrency is in a tiny bit of an identity crisis right now, and NFTs are a great testament to that identity crisis. I think it’s a very interesting and important step for cryptocurrency finding its place and its niche in the world.”
“I think games are one of the unlocks for cryptocurrency to become widespread and properly find its place. What I feel, and this is just my view and not the company’s, is that what cryptocurrency is missing is the emotional value of fiat currency. There’s a lot of perceived value, there’s a lot of faith-based value, but it lacks the value of putting food on my table, of dressing my children and keeping a roof over my family’s heads while living month to month.”
“I think games have the potential of creating this emotional value. There can be a lot of value to a spaceship for instance; like I’ve worked my butt off to build this ship, and we’ve gone through a lot, we’ve blown a lot of things up and we’ve achieved dramatic goals. There is something in that emotion and in that element of work that could give things like cryptocurrency a lot of value.”
“Blockchain is of course a little bit different, and I think there are a lot of opportunities and interesting possibilities there. You can probably hear that I’m being extremely cautious about how I talk about this because there’s a lot to be learnt still. There are more big unlocks coming, there are big known-unknowns in this whole ecosystem that I’m still navigating, that we all are. And there’s a lot of religion in this area too, you don’t want that raining down on you. But I think that there is something really interesting and really exciting happening, and it’s kind of in our hands to look beyond price crises or whatever is happening right now and ask, what is the next step? Or the next unlock in this technology? And how can gaming help that moment to happen?”
“In that opportunity and that creative flow, there might be a solution where people will be able to extract money out of New Eden and play EVE Online for a living. Maybe there is a moment to be found where the Icelandic government starts to view ISK as a valid currency, and local supermarkets start taking Interstellar Kredits for vegetables. Who is to say? Not me. But this must be a tracer bullet for something way bigger that I don’t even have my head wrapped around right now. I’m sure Sæmi has something to say that will make way more sense and is way more grounded in reality and economics.”
Sæmi: “Bergur and our CEO Hilmar are our futurists, I’ll stick with some practical points. EVE will continue to evolve but there are no plans for EVE Online real money trading in the immediate future. Obviously, there are huge security concerns of botting and gambling when taking money into a system and taking it out. But EVE will go on forever, and it will evolve forever. What does that mean when it comes to cryptocurrencies, NFTs, job creation, and everything? You need to check out this article on a super similar subject from our CEO Hilmar in 2019. It’s a great interview.”
“One thing on NFTs in general that excites me is when it comes to digital art. I am super excited about it. 10 years ago, you had similar things like tickets that could just be copied, but now there’s a piece of technology wherein you can provide value. If you look at art from the old days, people didn’t used to do it on rolled paper or whatever because it was too easy to fake, it was done on hard timber. And art has continued to evolve over these thousands of years. And now finally there are NFTs wherein artists can always get a percentage of the next sale. These are cool things that I fully believe in. If you can create a place where artists can thrive and create value, that’s a special place. It’s a super exciting concept.”
[caption id="attachment_403215" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Could you make a living from EVE Online?[/caption]
“Without doubt we’ll have screens in our homes in the future with digital art assets via NFTs that we portray because we own them. And when people are negative or sceptical about these ideas, I just point them towards the rise of skins and cosmetics. Look to games like CS GO, specific skins can be of crazy value.”
Bergur: “That’s exactly it. It’s at that point that you have created the emotional value of a thing. That’s the kind of key required to unlock this whole thing. It’s this question of “What does emotional value mean?” It’s definitely a three-beer problem.”
Sæmi: “I’m stoked about the whole concept for the future. It totally makes sense to me. Obviously as with any new technology of scale, things become a bit of a Wild West. But I point to VHS versus Betamax, HD versus Blu-Ray, computer games back in the 80s and 90s – there was a lot or junk being made but now gaming is bigger than music streaming and the movie business combined.”
So there you have it, Real Money Trading in EVE Online, once considered an impossibility may be upon us sooner than we think. We look forward to the day when we can make a living flying spaceships then coming home to buy our fruit and veg with ISK. These conversations were taken from our monthly EVE Online interviews with the CCP Directors. If you're yet to check them out, you're missing out. The last one covered EVE Online literature, New Eden's military industrial complex, and the difference between wartime and peacetime players.
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