When CCP Games announced that they had hired a real life economist to look after the EVE economy many moons ago I simply shrugged and said that’s cool with not even a passing thought as to how this would help CCP Games improve its bottom line. In investigating the relationship between the volume of PLEX traded and the average value I found a potential reason. It turns out that PLEX price control is serious business!

What this graph shows is that as the value of PLEX goes up less of them are traded, this is based on 30 day averages for every single day over the last year from EVE Central based on The Forge. So every 10mil increase in PLEX prices sees roughly 25 less of them appear on the market. When you consider that this is about 1% of market volume that starts to feel a lot more significant, ultimately it means that supply would drop by 25% if prices were to hit 1bil per PLEX.

The reason behind this is likely that as PLEX prices increase people don’t need to sell as many PLEX in order to fund their PvP habits reducing the overall supply, with people choosing to save real life money rather than have excess ISK from selling the number of PLEX they used to.

If we look since March 11th when ship skins were introduced PLEX prices have increased from 637mil to 717mil, this 80mil per unit increase might not sound like much but this 12.6% price increase should leave CCP cautious over rapid expansion of its ship skinning scheme. A 80mil increase in price equates to a 8% drop in the supply of PLEX so whilst CCPs micro transaction plans are going well ultimately it could be at the cost of active players without any financial gain.

Ultimately in order for micro transactions and general EVE product and service sales (10th Anniversary collector’s edition, Twitch HD stream etc) to be successful it can’t be done in a way which could be at the detriment of the number of active players. EVE is driven by its active community and even if there is no change in bottom line it is in CCPs long term interests to keep subscriber numbers high and PLEX prices low so that it’s easier for people to fund accounts with PLEX. We’ve all heard how large EVE events drive new players to the game due to their press exposure for these events to happen more often we need more pilots in space!

This doesn’t mean that micro transactions can’t happen it simply means that they have to exist outside the EVE economy for them to add to CCPs bottom line. This means that they cannot be items that are tradable in any way between players which means they will also unfortunately be limited to those with extra RL cash but we all win from lower PLEX prices helping to keep more players in game creating content. If CCP continue to introduce more ways to spend PLEX then it’s clear we’re going to see prices continue to increase and more players struggle to make their monthly subs and enjoy the game.

Playing EVE and struggling to make the ISK required for your next month’s sub is a no way to enjoy the game I just hope CCP don’t push micro transactions too far at the detriment to all of the players who require PLEX to keep their subscriptions active.

– Danny Centauri

I’m Danny Centauri an EVE player on and off since 2006, my most recent return to EVE being April 2014. I’ve recently been on a break from EVE Online due to work commitments since fall 2013 but the upcoming Kronos release was enough to drag me back to game to update Eve Manufacturing and try and turn a profit during the biggest industry update in EVE history.

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