Of Marketing and Mercoxit: EVE Vegas Interview #2

The conclusion of my interview with David Reid, Chief Marketing Officer of CCP Games, who delves into the ties between each game in the EVE Universe.

EVE Vegas: the largest fan-organized EVE Online gathering of the year, and a great opportunity to talk one-on-one with the developers from CCP Games. As a result, I had a chance to interview David Reid, the man whose decisions shape our perception of gaming's most enigmatic journey.

Today's chat, part two of two, mostly examines the link between CCP's games in the EVE Universe.
We also answer a few miscellaneous questions along the way. Once again, let's dive right in!

Hey there David, thanks for joining us! Think you could start by telling us a bit about who you are?

Sure! I'm David Reid, and I'm the Chief Marketing Officer of CCP Games. I've been with the company not quite yet two years; I joined in January 2012 after a fairly interesting period in the company's history, and I'm currently based out of Reykjavik. I moved my family there for a year because now is the time when a lot of big things are happening at CCP. We had the 10th birthday of EVE Online, we had the DUST 514 launch, we have EVE: Valkyrie coming up next year, just a ton of things happening. Felt like it was time to go buckle down at headquarters for a year and really work on stuff there.

You guys are putting together EVE: Valkyrie, and you already have DUST 514...are these games part of an overall effort to bring more people into the EVE universe?

It kind of is! These amazing stories that happen in EVE, and only happen in EVE...every gamer at some level looks at those and thinks "Wow, that's really cool". But a lot of gamers look at EVE Online as a game and say "Yeah, that one may not be for me", right? It's a PC game, it's an MMO, it's a subscription game, and there are a lot of console players. While it has a dedicated audience, it's not a game for everybody...but we do fundamentally believe this magic of the single-shard sandbox and player-driven story. This is something that every gamer could like, and that's where – exactly like you say – "Well, if we could find a venue into the EVE universe for a larger group of gamers, and not require them to play EVE Online in order to be a part of these EVE universe stories..." and "What if we had a first-person shooter that connected in the sandbox?" That was a very deliberate idea from the beginning of DUST 514.

Now Valkyrie, on the other hand, it kinda came around in exactly the reverse idea: it was interesting technology, we had been Kickstarter backers of Oculus from the beginning, and the kits showed up 6 weeks before FanFest. A couple of industrious developers made something happen, and we were like "Holy cow, this is actually really, really cool!" So rather than thinking from the beginning about how to integrate this into the EVE universe, now we realize "Hey, this is something because of the nature of VR and Valkyrie, it is immediately accessible to so many people." Just the intuitive feel of the game and the fact that, frankly, even the most jaded gamers are like "Ooh, this is really cool!" So we know that it is something that can bring a lot of people in; the challenge now is to figure out the right way to integrate that with the EVE universe.

Yesterday afternoon, you gave a great talk on the past, present, and future of EVE. In this talk, you strongly hinted at potential links between CCP's three titles. Theoretically, what kinds of ideas might you guys have going forward with that?

It was really a discussion that started for us as we were going into...ya know, we had EVE, and we had DUST, and it got to this thought of, well...what does it really mean for these things to connect? Then there were questions about what one would call the 'agency' a player has in the universe, right? And this comes back to "well, if I'm going to play EVE, and I'm going to play DUST, can I do that with one character? Is there a reason why I can, or a reason that I can't?" And so that lead to the discussion, ya know, imagine that you take the character creator out of EVE Online, and you put it into a different application somewhere. I create my character, and then I can take that character and I can decide – once I log into a 'supreme launcher' across all platforms – "do I go to EVE, do I go to DUST, do I go to Valkyrie?" things like that. These are early ideas, right?

So that's one of the things. But the bigger thing here is the idea that...one of the most "rock solid" things about EVE is the economy, right? It's part of what really makes the game. And so we think about things like how we're going to join the EVE and DUST economies...and ultimately imagine that Valkyrie is the same. One giant economy of ISK, Aurum and PLEX, all fungible. And so one of the things that we think would be really interesting if we can get this right...is that when you're playing DUST, there are resources you're gathering planetside that are useful to people playing EVE, but not necessarily useful to you in DUST. And so now it forces you, as an EVE player, to find DUST players. We're seeing if there is a way to have resource gathering that is maybe less useful in the game you're in, and more useful in the other games, forcing much tighter integration between the economies.

Not that it would be useless in one game, just that it would be more valuable in the other.

Right, and the fact that it would be scarcer there. You could have a surplus of something in DUST, and a deficit of it in EVE, and eventually the supply & demand works its way up which would be really interesting thing to see.

I had actually made a note here to ask "When might we look forward to more info on the link between games?", but all that pretty much answered it!

*laughs* Well, I mean, I do think...we do have, very much on our horizon, to get the EVE/DUST economies joined. From there, it's just a matter of time until we get Valkyrie integrated and make that part of the same economy also.

Personally, I don't often play games on consoles anymore, so often I miss out on awesome stuff like DUST 514 ...has there been any discussion of potentially bringing that to PC at some point?

We've had plenty of thoughts about bringing DUST to other platforms. And right now, the view is we've got the nucleus of something working on the PS3, but we're...we're not there yet. There are things we need to do...we were just talking about getting the integration right between EVE and DUST, and the economies and things like that, and...the bigger things of the expanded gameplay between the two, with more of the Planetary Conquest and Factional Warfare and just, frankly, some core moment-to-moment experience in DUST. It is not a flawless first-person shooter and, ya know; this is some of the stuff that JC and the guys in Shanghai are really focused on. So for us, it's super important to get that right before we start getting serious about other platforms, but...there's nothing that prevents us from doing it.

Once it's polished to a point where you guys are satisfied, you could focus on something like that.

Absolutely. There's only so many things we have the resources to do as an independent developer, and our view is "Better to get it right on the platform we're on, and to make it awesome...then take it to the next platforms from there."

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