EVE Online: CCP Lay Offs

 

CCP Flies its Flag at Half MastYesterday was a bad day. I’m still reeling so this post might not be all that coherent.

Just as things started looking up for EVE, CCP pull this bombshell out of the bag. The upshot is that development of World of Darkness has been slowed and the resources dedicated to it drastically reduced. All well and good you might say, its a project that still only has potential customers and cutting back on its development to see to the needs and desires of your existing customer base (EVE players) makes sense.

The next bit doesn’t make sense. The Community Team at CCP is practically gone. For a game that is built on its community this is a huge loss. Its also shocking that the team that kept in touch with the players and had to deal directly with the rage of the last few months is pretty much gone. Is this a case of shooting the messenger?

It’s not just Community that has suffered. The bulk of redundancies, as far as I can gather, are from the WoD production staff, but there are a few from Content and Art as well.

I’ve gone through a whole slew of emotions over the last 24 hours, ranging from anger to grief and a deep sadness which I don’t know how to express. Anger as I realised that nothing has been mentioned of what is happening to those that made the decisions which led to the bad feeling of the last few months. There doesn’t even seem to be a token member of management or the board of CCP willing to fall on their sword for the shortsightedness and hubris which led to this.

I can understand the decision, really. From a coldly financial and business perspective layoffs were inevitable. However I would have done it differently.

For a start I would have put WoD on indefinite hold. As I mention above it may well be a huge source of customers and I’m willing to admit that there definitely is a market for it, but at the moment it is a money pit. WoD, even with a far reduced development team, is a resource sink. Apparently though, its on the books (part of the Development Costs on P5) as an asset with approx $40m of value tied up in it. If CCP don’t realise it, or at least say that it will be finished that value would be lost and CCP would be technically bankrupt and unable to get any kind of financing. It is creative accounting of  the sort that would make Goldman Sachs proud. This is why WoD can’t simply be dropped, even though that would be, IMO, the sensible option. If they want to focus on DUST and EVE then do that, we can do without sparkly vampires for the moment.

Currently EVE is CCP’s only source of income and as I have said many times before, EVE is a game which is built on its community. It wouldn’t be the same without it. To fire the people at the pointy end of dealing with and caring for that community is folly. Time will tell whether this is yet another huge misstep by CCP or not, but I’m betting that EVE is never going to be the same again after this.

A solid community team is essential to make EVE the success it deserves to be, especially with DUST coming up. The console tie-in will bring with it a whole new group of players, players who come from a totally different gaming culture. Bridging the gap between them was going to be hard enough without a decimated community team, I wish Shadow all the best in pulling it off.

Reading through the press release as objectively as possible it all makes perfect sense, but in moments like these rationality has a tendency to be put aside. It’s not that the  necessary was done, but who it was done to. The community is the beating heart of EVE, I feel like it was ripped out yesterday, a sad day for us all.

The confirmed casualty list so far: (20/10/11 10:45 BST, will update as I get more, throw them in the comments or @mandrill )

  • CCP Fallout
  • CCP Zymurgist
  • CCP Pann
  • Mike Read
  • CCP Wrangler
  • CCP Hammer
  • CCP Valar
  • CCP MaidenSteel
  • CCP Finnz
  • CCP Gnauton
  • Pall Ivarsson
  • Hilmir Þór Einarsson
  • GM Horse
I can’t write any more, its too hard. A very sad day indeed.
 

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Comments

  • 20/10/2011 / 11:40 am / manasi

    Thanks for sharing what you know. These WERE THE good guys at CCP. As with Carole I am in a fuck CCP mode right now. Fallout and wrangler were people that I came to care about and with the game headed in the (supposedly) right direction, i begin to wonder if they will not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I will NOT be renewing my subs just in an act of solidarity for these people.

    Two other thoughts around this:
    It seems that players left CCP in droves otherwise why cut 20% of your workforce?

    If there was anyone at CCP who was standing UP for what the players want it was this group.

    What an idiotic fucking stupid mess CCP has become as of late, any glimmer of hope was destroyed by them.

    Best wishes to you and yours mate I Hope that you prosper in whatever you do.

    ~Manasi

  • 20/10/2011 / 12:01 pm / mandrill

    Thanks Manasi. As a business decision I can see the logic, but it’s so easy to rationalise it that way.

    I’m a mess of conflicting emotions at the moment. On the one hand I’m glad that CCP are finally taking action, dubious as to the correctness of that action as I may be. On the other I’m angry that Fallout, Zymurgist, Pann, and the rest of the community team members who are no longer part of CCP (they’ll always be a part of the community) were the ones that fell to the axe. So, grief, loss, anger, hope (for many things not just the direction that CCP are now taking) and fear are all churning around and making a mess of my head. I’m trying to impose some sort of order so I can post something a little more in depth and analytical later, but it ain’t easy.

    Your thoughts echo mine quite closely and I have a few questions mulling about that I will endeavour to look at in my next post.

  • 21/10/2011 / 11:28 pm / EVE Online CEO Interviewed by Eurogamer

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