Crowd Control Productions, CCP for short, marked its ten-year anniversary this past Sunday. CCP is an Icelandic company, and the world’s largest independent game developer. It’s premiere game, EVE-Online, a space-based Massive Multiplayer Game (MMG), is nearing 200,000 subscribers playing in a single, undivided game universe with thousands of solar systems.And CCP hopes increase that number with a $7m marketing campaign for 2007. Magnus Bregsson, CCP’s chief marketing officer, hopes to almost double the number of subscriptions, to 300,000. Even though these numbers are no where near EVE’s main competator, World of Warcraft, Bregsson nevertheless maintains the game is â€œextremely profitable.â€
CCP has been embroiled in scandal after scandal with its players, however. In January of 2007, a French security consultant using the monicker Kugutsumen, leveled charges of developer corruption within the game. CCP denied the accusations. It later came to light that they were not only true, but that CCP had known about them for half a year without taking any action whatsoever.
Kugutsumen is a French ex-patriot living in Indonesia running a security consulting firm. He found out about the corruption through a combination of â€œsocial-engineeringâ€ (in-game spying) and accessing restricted player forums.
CCP finds itself again caught up in potentially similar situation. With players (including Kugutsumen) leveling accusations of game master (a sort of in-game moderator) corruption, CCP has directed its internal affairs department to investigate the incident. CCP’s IA was created specifically to deal with corruption amongst CCP employees and volunteers following the Kugutsumen incident. Though CCP’s IA has been denying the charges, many players are outraged.
Fueling the fire are concerns of censorship and cover-up by CCP, as admittedly occurred during the first incident. Though most players recognize that CCP has no legal obligation to let them vent their frustrations on the forums, many are nevertheless upset that CCP’s moderating team aggressively deletes all mention of any scandals outside of official discussion posts (a few per scandal). CCP even went so far as to temporarily restrict access to their forums because players were posting faster than moderators could stop them.
But the head of CCP’s IA said in his blog that, â€œClaims that the goal of this effort was to expose corruption within the company cannot be taken seriously. They are simply a smokescreen intended to mobilize and use the EVE community against CCP. There is no evidence to support the claim of information sent to CCP concerning internal corruption and wrongdoings on the part of our employees is being systematically suppressed.â€
Despite these complications, EVE Online makes a strong showing each year in gaming awards, winning such honors as Best Game, Best Graphics, Best Player versus Player Combat, Best Player versus Environment Combat, and Best Economic System from various gaming magazines.