Wednesday, 12 October 2016

You want ISK? Well you can't have it!

It's an exciting day indeed for EVE online,exciting enough for me to actually come back and put up a blog post after nearly a year of moving to a more casual approach to EVE. Apologies in advance that this is a bit rough and rambly. That's it, I'm not excusing it, just apologising.

Now on to the exciting news! CCP have announced that along with the Ascension update in November, a pretty significant EULA change will be going ahead. Specifically in the "Selling Items and Objects" section of the EULA they are adding the following line:
"You may not use, transfer or assign any game assets for games of chance operated by third parties."
That's right folks, EVE gambling sites are done!

At this point, we can only assume CCPs reasons for doing this, but anyone with an eye on the current state of gambling in the online gaming sector could have guessed this was coming. Recently there have been charges raised against the operators of a Fifa coin gambling site and there's been trouble around CS:GO skins too. The law is catching up with in-game assets being used to run unregulated gambling sites, and I think it would be a fair assumption that CCP is trying to get ahead of this.

There is, however, another part of this that may have helped force their hand. Within the same announcement CCP have stated that gambling sites have until the 8th November to sort themselves out and shut down, with the exception of two. IWantISK and EVE Casino (the two sites associated with 1ronbank) have been shut down with immediate effect. Unsurprisingly IWantISK has been shut down for... wait for it... RMT. Like there was anyone that didn't see that one coming.

Many of us have been against EVE gambling sites for a long time and so this announcement is being met with a healthy mix of excitement and smugness which will last for a while. From the side of the gambling site operators, feelings are mixed. EVE-bet, for example, has announced that they will continue operations throughout the alliance tournament and ensure everyone is paid out, and while obviously disappointed they are taking it in their stride. The IWantISK guys, on the other hand, are crying about how CCP Peligro does not care, and vowing to work around the EULA to continue gambling operations.
"I will develop IWI 1.0 into a P2P website with no central bank or central hub which means CCP will not be able to ban our system and you, the players, will receive YOUR ISK from other players using a mass pay and honor system.(P2P). We will get you your ISK."
As you can imagine, this will likely not work as from the EULA wording given by CCP the transferring of ISK for the purposes of gambling is banned, so even in a P2P system, players transferring the ISK would be vulnerable and certainly, any site encouraging the breaking of the EULA would find itself in trouble. I have a feeling though this is part of a knee-jerk response to the sudden change in policy.

As can be expected, some of the Imperium (and ex-imperium like me) are erupting in celebratory with showers of smug all round, and that's going to annoy a lot of people, but too bad. The reality is that IWI being involved in systemic RMT was claimed by the Imperium and evidence was handed over, but due to CCPs level of secrecy around these matters and the apparent lack of action, it was widely declared that it was being made up. And now here we are with CCP stating quite clearly that RMT was why they were shut down.
"The third party service IWANTISK has been shut down in game, and all ISK and assets have been confiscated after extensive and exhaustive investigation has brought forward compelling evidence of large-scale Real Money Trading. Permanent account suspensions have been issued against those involved."
Now there is a downside to these sites being shut down. Other areas of EVE media were sponsored by some of these sites, and so them being shut down cuts off revenue streams for sites like CrossingZebras and EVENews24. This does potentially mean that there could be a loss of some of these sites. To me though this should be a minimal problem. If a site is big enough to require a solid ISK revenue stream it should be able to get that from players, and if it can't survive without ISK injections from large gambling organisations, we're probably better off without it. Personally, I hope to see an increase in the smaller independent media which doesn't need funding, as I've always preferred reading blogs like The Nosy Gamer, TAGN and even Greedy Goblin (back when he posted about EVE) rather than the monolithic news sites like TMC and EN24.

How it will really affect the landscape though is anyone's guess.

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