CCP: "No-one's fighting microtransactions anymore"
EVE's business boss says Microsoft and Sony on board for long-tail business model with Dust 514
CCP are prepared for upcoming console MMO Dust 514 to not succeed at launch, claiming a long-term audience is the goal.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, CCP's senior director of business development Yohei Ishii said, "We don't how subscribe to how current games are created and then launched into the market. We're very much about the long tail. We're sticking with Dust like we stuck with Eve, so we have high hopes.
"If we don't hit 6m in the first couple of months, that's fine, that's not what we're really going for. We're going for what we've seen in the CCP part of the world, and really with Eve, that it's not about that one hit, buy the game and then you're done. It's about acquiring a user and keeping them for a year, two years, three years... If you look at the lifetime value of player in that sense, it's so much more than that $60 you get from a box."
He was confident that the game's business model would ensure profit over time, emphasising that CCP's philosophy was "games as service" rather than up-front sales. "We're going to have annual expansions, so every year we're going to have a box refresh. It's not just putting out an annual expansion pack - the expansions are free anyway, we're not going to sell those. Just like Eve."
Ishii also refuted suggestion that other, more console-experienced developers might catch up with CCP: "They're trying to add more types of persistence around it, definitely Call of Duty and Battlefield, they've started to go down there and they've done a good job, but it's not a virtual world, right? That's just a stopgap to getting to a more immersive world. And that's what we're bringing."
He claimed that both Microsoft and Sony were on board with the plans for Dust, despite its model being significantly different to Xbox and PlayStation tradition. "Both console manufacturers have been very open to the things that we're looking for. They all know that games can be even more connected than where they are today. It's not just about downloading the game and then you're done.
They see that number one they need to get there, number two they need to get MMOs and not just MMOs like Eve or Ultima or World of Warcraft, but other types of genre that could really fit in, that are already established. And microtransactions, everyone is looking at that. They've seen such success with downloadable content, it's only one step further to take it to microtransactions.
"Sure, there's a lot of stuff that needs to be done, but it's in the direction that everyone is on the path for. No-one's fighting it anymore; it's not like a few years back when it was "oh, free to play games, who would buy a dollar item?"
In the interview, Ishii also discusses CCP's history, the importance of player freedom, Dust's interaction with EVE, and plans for the new Newcastle studio.