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CCP staff paid in foreign currency during economic meltdown

Mon 10 Aug 2009 7:21am GMT / 3:21am EDT / 12:21am PDT
BusinessDevelopment

EVE Online developer "leveraged strengths" of the company to help employees

CCP Games, based in Iceland, took a number of measures during the country's economic meltdown at the end of last year/beginning of this year in order to help its staff through the events, including paying employees in a foreign currency.

The move was taken because while Iceland is a net importer of most consumable goods, its own currency fluctuated wildly before being pegged to the value of the Euro - therefore providing a sense of stability for staff at the EVE Online developer.

"It's cooled down, and there are more answers now than there were some months ago," the company's executive producer, Nathan Richardsson, told GamesIndustry.biz. "CCP isn't anything to worry about, because we're in multiple locations and our revenue was all in foreign currency anyway...

"What really was the problem for us was how many of our employees were hit by the crisis, so we tried to leverage some of the strengths of CCP to help them through the turbulent times.

"We're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot, but at the very least we could leverage part of CCP's infrastructure that you wouldn't normally think would benefit your employees - allowing people to be paid in foreign currency, for example, makes it much more stable for people looking towards the future - when being paid in Icelandic Krona was still fluctuating by a few per cent here and there, it was very volatile and you can't really work with that kind of currency.

"So small things like that - small things from a company point of view, but the impact was really massive with these changes. That was a positive aspect at least of the entire crisis."

But as the industry starts to gear up for what should be a strong second half of the year - and likely more continued momentum into 2010 for a change with a series of key title releases pushed back - Richardsson also feels that the economic situation has been positive in general for videogames.

"Other than that, the crisis has been positive for computer gaming in terms of attention - since people have fewer options, or want to be reserved and careful, do you take a week's vacation somewhere abroad or stay home? So if you stay home on vacation, what should you do? Play games, watch movies...

"I think that's part of the reason why the industry isn't being hit that hard - at least that's the going theory, and it sounds plausible."

Earlier this year CCP announced that its flagship title, EVE Online, had passed the 300,000 active subscriber mark, continuing its organic growth and making it the second most successful traditional MMO in the West.

The full second part of the interview with Nathan Richardsson is available now, as is part one.

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