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Is Valkyrie Monetization coming to EVE Online?

 

Overview

The news broke in October that CCP had selected Aria Systems’ active monetization platform for Valkyrie, launching in 2016. The Aria platform boasts a powerful array of monetization features and, in keeping with CCP’s ethos, it is a system which is designed for the future and unlimited growth. Valkyrie’s launch will benefit from all of the features and services that Aria offers. This will be rolled out across the entire games portfolio. Cloud based billing is something new for CCP, much as VR is a new field for them too. Valkyrie has so far seen glowing previews across the industry, including here on CZ by Danikov. The Oculus launch price has seen some criticism from many media outlets and gamers, but CCP is set to profit well from the launch with Oculus. Valkyrie will also be available on the Playstation VR when released. With CCP gearing up with big plans for growth in 2016, what does this mean for CCP and the community?

What is Aria Systems’ Active Monetization?

Reading the press release is probably not something many of you will do, so I have taken the parts that I feel are most important:

Aria Systems, which helps enterprises grow recurring revenue, today announced that CCP Games, a leading independent game developer, has chosen Aria’s monetization platform to gain business agility and accelerate product launch time for new game releases.

The Icelandic video game producer, best known for producing EVE Online and its pioneering virtual reality games, performed a comprehensive review of cloud-based billing solutions before choosing to adopt the Aria platform to monetize their entire portfolio of games. The first game to use Aria’s monetization platform will be EVE: Valkyrie, when it is launched in 2016.

‘We are in a highly competitive industry and Aria will help us forge close relationships with our players, ensuring accurate billing and enabling us the agility to launch new games more quickly,’ said Höskuldur Sigurðarson, Senior Producer at CCP Games.

‘We expect that the partnership with Aria will enable ongoing innovation as we add to our product portfolio,’ continued Sigurðarson. ‘As a technology company ourselves, we understand the importance of software that offers resilience and flexibility with growth.’”

CCP Games Selects Aria Systems’ Active Monetization Platform – 20th October 2015

Although this press release is directly relating to Valkyrie, it does mention that CCP will use Aria to monetize their entire portfolio.  On review of the features of Aria Systems it looks like the perfect platform for Valkyrie when you consider the game will be a new product. The Aria monetization platform comes with powerful options of how to handle payments across all platforms, including cloud-based technology. This requires no coding, can be done fast and efficiently, and will enable CCP to continue as a developer.

“With Aria you can monetize anything and everything, from content to APIs, QR codes to creative services, publishing to social media apps, cars to fleet usage, and MRI machines to PaaS and IaaS offerings. Aria makes it easy to monetize any type of content, product, service, device, software, XaaS platform, IoT service, and more.

Aria will allow you to define your product or service, the monetization or pricing model, price points, relevant promotions, and payment methods. Decide which currencies, geographies, channels, partners, and sites customers can use to obtain your offerings. With Aria it’s easy to define, manage, and iterate these critical elements to meet your business goals and revenue objectives. Create separate offers by region, define pricing in one currency and settle in another. Offer promotions and discounts by account, geography, number, time, product and more.”

– Aria: “Unlimited Monetization

What does this mean for CCP Games?

If Aria is as powerful as they boast, CCP will be able to integrate all their payment gateways into one. CCP’s target market could easily be anyone, anywhere, at any time of the day, using any number of different platforms and currencies. The ability to manage all of CCP’s payments under one system is clearly something CCP evaluated when they selected Aria Systems. We already understand monthly subscription fees, and have an active Aurum market in EVE Online for ship SKINs and vanity items. These markets are active in both ISK and AUR. When the Skillpoint Extractors (SPE) make it into the game, what would be the best pricing model to use? Currently, we have only a few options open to us, but with Aria, this changes drastically.

What kind of in-game purchases might a player make inside Valkyrie? Almost any feature can be monetized into microtransactions (£1-9 range) but given how much the Oculus pre-orders cost, could this be an entirely different, far more affluent customer that CCP is targeting?

These in-game transactions could be activating a ‘premium’ account, buying ship skins, buying new mission campaigns, or cash-only items. Who wouldn’t pay to have Morgan Freeman’s voice for their ship’s computer? Aria could manage all this for CCP and more. Anything CCP can make can be monetized. Could this have been related to the delay in the new EVE store?

Microtransactions are most likely to be the model of Valkyrie, and Aria has the power to do this for CCP, freeing up more time to create more asset rich environments. Höskuldur Sigurðarson is quoted in the press release that Aria is “enabling us the agility to launch new games more quickly”, which is not reassuring for our hopes that more developer time can be dedicated to CCP’s current games.

Managing payments from global customers on different platforms can now be done easier for CCP in a cloud environment. This can only improve what CCP can offer its players. Höskuldur Sigurðarson has said that Aria will help in “ensuring accurate billing” which could mean cross game, multi-platform themed events and promotions. They will most definitely be turning any success from Valkyrie into developing more games it seems.

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In November CCP announced it had raised $30mil to bolster VR development efforts. Part of this deal included adding major shareholders to the company, and members to the board of directors. Then in December 2015 CCP announced Maria Sayans had joined the team as the recently created Chief Customer Officer. There are a few vacancies currently posted on the CCP jobsite, including two for Senior Producers. They are identical in description except for their locations; both are new roles with the intent of building a team to deliver a high quality game.

Expect more job opportunities posted this year.

What does it mean for the future?

We already have a legacy monthly subscription game EVE Online. We have the free-to-play Dust 514, and Valkyrie is coming very soon. It is very wise of CCP to choose this path of launching Valkyrie with Aria Systems. Valkyrie presents a platform to test out Aria, and we can only hope that CCP will continue to learn lessons along the way.  There are not enough space monuments in EVE Online ready for the player outrage of microtransactions and not enough players on Dust 514. The game really does need to be ported from the PS3 to continue supporting its players. #PortDust514

If microtransactions work for Valkyrie, could they work in EVE Online? Would you pay £5 to activate your super character subscription for 48hrs to defend your capital then let it go – or extend to a full month? That could work, but paying for new modules and refitting your ship in space, creating a pay-to-win scenario, is probably never going to be accepted by EVE online players. Can you imagine someone paying to remove their weapons refitting timer immediately?

The long standing players in EVE Online are now adults, many with enough in-game income to not need to pay for a subscription any more. These players are probably active in the PLEX market and use that to subsidize their ISK instead of grinding for it. They most likely have a job. Maybe 1.5 kids. They probably only play for a few hours at a time instead of all day. How CCP makes money from these players is with vanity market items and Aurum sales. Soon it will be from the sale of Skillpoint Extractors, which have no indication of being cheap (or any price for that matter so far). It will at least involve some of your real life wallet in order to get these items and you will probably be able to buy them in bulk as well.

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Players will have to accept, that features of Aria will be used in EVE Online, and not necessarily always for true microtransactions. Using Aria Systems, CCP could sell something like a new cosmetic item for your CQ, or the new SPE. It could do so much more than just that and tie in-game events together across each of their products under one cloud-billing system.

Microtransactions are tiny, and should only be of a trivial nature in the universe of EVE Online. The SKINs when bought with Aurum in EVE are not microtransactions. What would £3.00 really buy you in EVE Online? Practically nothing for a developed player. Would it be so bad to pay £3.00 and have that ship SKIN right now, instead of an unbalanced Aurum/ISK calculation?

Always providing value for customers is the target. It is not uncommon for games to include microtransactions as a revenue stream. Valkyrie is the right platform for CCP to add this to their portfolio of revenue streams, and it will eventually help improve EVE Online.

To some players in EVE Online, microtransactions are a genuine concern. The majority of players are more than happy with additional charged features as long as it is not pay-to-win, has no in-game advantage, and is purely cosmetic. As a long time player I have seen many changes over the years in PLEX and timecodes. I was here for monocle-gate. I have seen all iterations of the changing ship SKIN market, and the addition of the New Eden Store. What CCP can charge players for on top of our subscription now has grown into a successful ancillary revenue stream. CCP have always weathered the storm and reacted to their community. I do not think this will be any different. They will have to be careful with how they choose to approach their pricing in this new game, as positive reviews are clearly coming from many interested parties, and not just EVE players.

Conclusion

The future of New Eden as we know it is changing. CCP are making large steps in bold directions. Content in-game is picking up pace. In-game events and null sov changes, skillpoint trading, and Citadel plans are all in action to hugely change the landscape. CCP are developing for the future, and this new partnership with Aria powering some of their revenue stream can bring many benefits.

The innovative nature of CCP and the power of Aria can lead your imagination into some interesting places. CCP’s entire portfolio of games will eventually use Aria according to the press release, but this is not a dev blog. Aria will launch with Valkyrie in 2016, and no official statement has been made by CCP as of yet. The powerful features of Aria go far beyond just microtransactions, and CCP can benefit from many of these features when used across all of their products. Even your monthly sub might be handled by Aria.

Perhaps microtransactions will come eventually, but this is news about growth and the future for all of us, players and company. As of now, this does not affect EVE Online. CCP is firmly focused on all of its products, and work continues on EVE Online as well as other brand-new products. EVE Online will always be the flagship of CCP, and they realise that the community are ambassadors of the game. EVE is not dying and CCP continues to look ahead, this new investment in the Aria System platform is part of the future to come.

Tags: Aria, ccp, Jason, monetization, valkyrie

About the author

Jason Quixos

Jason Quixos has played EVE Online for just over 5 years. Having started in high sec with a successful war-deccing alliance, he has made several failed attempts at enjoying life in null sec. He currently has fingers in a few pies.

  • Darius JOHNSON

    “CCP is set to profit well from the launch with Oculus” – Citation needed

    • BuckStrider

      Still waiting for your close up from Mr. DeMille

      • Darius JOHNSON

        all I’ve got is this picture of your mom on top of my dilz

    • Ccps product Valkyrie is shipped with Oculus. There will no doubt be a percentage of sales that is paid to ccp for each unit sold. Even if it is just 5% it can quickly add up to millions for only a few hundred thousand sales.

      • Darius JOHNSON

        I know what it ships with. I’m just finding it hilarious that A) You think 5% would EVER go to CCP. We’re talking maybe a fraction of a percent or more likely a set price per unit. and B) Think that overpriced and under-impressive device will ship a few hundred thousand units. I doubt they can even manufacture that many to keep pace with that kind of sales volume.

        A citation generally provides a source for the information because all you’re doing is speculating about what you think the benefit may be and frankly none of your figures make any sense.

        • I could always try asking CCP what their cut is, but I doubt it would be wise business practice to pass that on, but then again this is a speculative piece and I have been trying to avoid stating any such figures.

          The only figures released have been that of the Oculus dev kits. The DK1 sold out and Oculus still have that page online https://www1.oculus.com/order/dk1/ (these sold over 56,000 units)
          http://www.roadtovr.com/tag/oculus-rift-dk2-sales-figures/

          Then as expected with the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, they are not going to release those figures, but they have “sold more in ten minutes than they planned to in a few hours” http://www.roadtovr.com/founder-oculus-rift-pre-orders-going-much-better-than-expected-sales/

          I stand by my speculative piece that CCP will do well from this venture.

          • Darius JOHNSON

            Hey man no problem with speculating. You can save this quote for next year if oculus hasn’t been shuttered by their ongoing lawsuits and Palmers completely awful management of his company. CCP can’t even maintain the product that IS making money. Until they or anyone else in this industry has more than one successful product they’re a one trick pony.

            The only people who expect the rift to be more than a passing fad are the idiots who write for gaming magazines or are covering it. Its not hard at all to look back and see how history has judged people who staked out their entire future on a fucking interface device.

          • Fair point. Will have to see how it works on the Playstation VR – Also due out this year. I think VR has went beyond fad.

          • Darius JOHNSON

            A product nobody has, has gone beyond fad? I’ve seen the Samsung sales figures and we’re barely in the low end of 5 digits. PS will likely do it right but let’s not be ridiculous. I’m sure the people who made the VIrtual Boy, Nintendo Robot or even the VR headsets that have existed FOR YEARS (Sony’s had one for ages) will agree.

          • Darius JOHNSON

            It’s also worth noting that they couldn’t even produce enough dk2s for the developers who needed them. A bunch were however bought by gamers and are sitting collecting dust in closets.

          • Druik Arbosa

            Where do you think CCPs focus should be, you have to admit that vr tech has come a long way since the massive bulky units of the 90s.
            You probably know more about the viable sales of such units than i do, but, the more availability of vr sets from an increasing amount of manufacturers surely most mean something.

          • Darius JOHNSON

            I’m not suggesting VR won’t be cool or accessible even on a scale of people who PC game. I’m just saying the hype train hasn’t the least bit of reality behind it that some of you seem to think it does.

          • Druik Arbosa

            Well, i won’t get into an argument about dreams and reality.

          • Darius JOHNSON

            Palmer also said his headset is “more high tech” than others which would be a lie if it had any meaning whatsoever. If it sold more it’s because they expected to move like 10.

      • Darius JOHNSON

        So I’m clear I don’t mean to imply that CCP won’t make money. Just not paying off your loans money.

  • bob@wormholes.com

    Still it is a thing the community needs to keep an eye on.
    Corporate greed can get out of hand very fast ruining eve in the process.

    • The investment and new directors on the board could mean ccps vr success is the end of eve as we know it.