Hilmar the Visionary

 

Today’s guest submission comes from someone who was until recently, one of the most prominent bloggers in Eve Online – Poetic Stanziel. While he doesn’t play any more, he keeps half an eye on what CCP is up to…

Recently, in a Wired UK interview, Hilmar Veigar, CEO of CCP Games, made the following statement:

“Our goal is to make virtual reality more meaningful than real life.”

That makes for a great soundbite. It certainly sounds visionary. If EVE players know one thing about Hilmar Veigar, it’s his desperation to come across as a true visionary in the gaming industry, specifically the MMORPG industry. Giving a TED talk is somewhere on Hilmar’s bucket list.

Spend even a minute thinking about Hilmar’s soundbite and it quickly becomes disturbing more than visionary. One of EVE’s great mantras among the playerbase is that real life is greater than the game. Take care of your real life before worrying about space pixels. Yet, a basic reading of Hilmar’s statement is that he would like to flip that mantra on its ear. That his game should take precedence over real-life. EVE should be an unhealthy addiction. That’s the basic reading.

I called Hilmar out on Twitter.

“What a fucking terrible thing to say, or to even want. What the hell is wrong with you?”

Really, it is a terrible sentiment. A terrible goal for the game. To have it morph into something akin to a gambling addiction. Great for CCP Games’ bottom line, not so great for the lives of the players who addicts of New Eden.

hilmar_volcano

Being the visionary that Hilmar wants to be, he links his statement to larger global issues. His reply tweet contains a link to a short David Suzuki video:

“Well, we need some solution http://t.co/OvxkNlNLeP

The short and sweet of the David Suzuki video is that humanity is eating up Earth’s resources at an exponential rate, and we’re nearing total depletion. It’s the Mad Max scenario. Exactly how EVE Online is a solution for that is anyone’s guess, but Hilmar the Visionary thinks it could be.

Can EVE Online feed people? Can EVE Online solve resource depletion? Can EVE Online balance our global economic woes? If you’re being realistic, you have to answer no, no, and no.

Hilmar, though, seems to believe that EVE Online can be a model for the global economy, a model on which to make it “simpler and saner”:

“I’d rather have virtual economies go through trials and tribulations because they can be exciting and fun, and [then we] make our own economies simpler and saner as a result, — take the craziness over to the games. If you look at the international banking bubble it’s kind of like a computer game for bankers, then we’re all bearing the consequences. I’d rather these bankers did their banking in EVE Online and left the rest of us in peace.”

Except EVE Online is based on an economy in which there is no such thing as resource depletion. Resources are magically created from the ether. Asteroid belts will respawn overnight. There are an endless number of damsels in distress. It’s not a realistic economy to begin with, simply because resources are created from nothing. It defies logic and science. It cannot be a model on which the real-world can be based.

The goal to make virtual reality more meaningful than real life. It is a great soundbite. It smacks of an idea with higher purpose. It comes across as visionary. Yet it’s a statement without any real thought put behind it. It doesn’t reflect a meaningful reality. It’s pomp. It’s fantasy. It’s ludicrous.

Tags: ccp, hilmar, poetic stanziel

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