Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Online Gaming Venture Cou Uld Have the World at Its Feet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Online Gaming Venture Cou Uld Have the World at Its Feet

Article excerpt

Byline: John Hill

WHEN you're creating an entire world, there's a lot to think about. Firstly, how much does it cost? How much should you tinker with it? And how do you get everyone to work together to create something special? Just ask CCP Games. From a seed in 2000, the Icelandic company has developed a futuristic world in which players participate in activities in a science-fiction setting. It was first released in 2003, and a 14th game expansion dubbed Incarna was released last week.

EVE is a leading example of the "massively multiplayer online roleplaying game" (MMORPG) phenomenon in which many players interact in a single world. It added a Gateshead Quays studio to complement its homes in Rejkjavik, Atlanta and Shanghai shortly after the collapse of Newcastle's Midway office in 2009.

CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson said: "The EVE world cost around $6m to complete from start to finish. If you were to come up with a triple-A MMORPG today, there's no way you'd be able to do it on that budget and be competitive. The mobile social gaming space is much more friendly in terms of the barrier to entry. Triple-A investment is so high that you've really got to have a track record to enter it."

The EVE Online audience is slightly older than the usual game demographic, falling largely within the 25 to 35-year-old bracket. While the game must provide a comfortable home for its players, the pressure is on to constantly keep up with industry trends. The Incarna world allows gamers to be represented by a human avatar rather than merely a spaceship, while next summer will see the release of Dust-514, a Playstation3-exclusive game which will make use of microtransactions as well as allowing people to interact with EVE gamers.

Petursson said: "EVE is historically a subscription game with some microtransactions on top. We're taking further steps into the microtransaction world. Games will continue to progress along that curve. Taking a single-player triple-A boxed product is a massive financial investment that doesn't have a robust business model.

"I think there's a lot of power in the microtransaction business model for Dust. …

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