EVE Online’s success shows why the game doesn’t need NFTs

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Enlarge / In-game ships and structures like these have real value for EVE online players even without NFT.

Almost 19 years after its launch, EVE online still boasts one of the most robust virtual economies in gaming, as evidenced by the game’s detailed monthly economic reports. So when developer CCP says it has “no plans to add blockchain technology in EVE online…for the foreseeable future,” this should probably make crypto gambling supporters wonder why.

In a blog post on Monday, CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson wrote that the company is “always exploring new technologies and possibilities” to help fulfill its mission of ensuring that “the EVE universe outlives us.” all: EVE Forever”. But while he said blockchain technology has “a lot of untapped potential”, he noted that there is “a lot of work needed before [blockchain is] ready for EVE-scale games.”

Pétursson does give CCP some leeway, however, noting that non-fungible tokens will be absent from Tranquility, the main server cluster that houses the game’s global player base. CCP can therefore still experiment with blockchain technologies on production test servers like Singularity and Serenity, which have their own completely separate economies and playerbases.

Pétursson explicitly nodded to this in his message. “While we remain intrigued by the technology, to us NFT stands for ‘Not For Peace,'” he wrote. “Globally, EVE IP will continue to push the boundaries of digital economies and virtual worlds, and we will continue to explore that outside of [Tranquility].”

Deriving value from pleasure

Proponents of NFT gaming often imply that the technology is necessary to confer true “value” and “ownership” of game assets, which the game creator will otherwise lock up and render worthless to players. But the long-term success of EVE onlineThe economy of serves as a key counterexample, proving that NFTs are not necessary for the creation of a stable in-game exchange of value between players.

Players in EVE online can use real money to purchase PLEX, which can be redeemed for “Omega Clone” game time subscriptions which provide access to most game features and cosmetic and character enhancement items.

But PLEX can also be exchanged for ISK, the main in-game currency used to buy ships, modules and more. ISK can also be converted back to PLEX on the open market, encouraging players to earn more ISK through in-game mining, industry, or traditional hacking (via PvP battles, for example).

(Although PLEX and ISK cannot officially be converted back into real money, black market trading allows players to “withdraw” their in-game assets.)

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Enlarge / Hundreds of dollars worth of PLEX, which results in EVE onlineof the game economy.

There are a few prerequisites for making a game economy like this work. First, there must be a core of players interested in playing the game for itself rather than playing primarily to earn money. EVE onlineThe engaging gameplay of helps give PLEX a certain inherent value, which can be traded in for more play time. EVE online certainly met this requirement.

So far, many NFT games have put the economy cart ahead of the engaging gameplay horse. last May, a Twitter poll of Axie Infinity co-founder Jeff Zirlin found that only 15% of gamers said the gameplay was their favorite thing about the simplistic beast-fighting game. Nearly half of all respondents said the economy was their favorite part, suggesting there is too much focus on asset speculation among the player base.

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