The joke that isn’t really a joke has been about CCP being unable to run a store to sell EVE Online merchandise. Granted, there are difficulties serving a world-spanning audience, and everybody who says, “They could make so much money if the just sold…” is completely wrong… I went over all that already… but it still seems to take them to get something going only to be disappointing.
The in-game store though, the New Eden Store, that ought to be different. That has no shipping or currency conversion or inventory cost issues. Just get the art team to make some nifty, infinitely reproducible ship SKINs and put them up for sale. I know there are people who don’t like ship SKINs, but there are people who don’t like puppies and kittens as well. And judging from the fleet ops I go on, there are plenty of people who do like SKINs.
And if you have a titan it seems like having a SKIN is almost mandatory judging from what I saw of those fleets over the summer.
So, with that in play, you would think the New Eden Store would be full of ship SKINs.
Not too full, mind you. I get the whole scarcity and exclusivity thing. And, of course, the UI of every online store becomes a burden when there are more than 20 things in any given shopping category, so you want to avoid bloat.
Even given all of that, I still fully expect that I should be able to open up the New Eden Store and find a SKIN for the ship I am flying, no matter which ship it is.
But, this is CCP, so of course I can’t.
It is the holiday season… you know, when people go shopping for gifts, a time when it is good to have a full selection of items available… and the Reavers had a Secret Santa gift exchange again this year. The person I drew wanted an Apostle and I figured I could swing that. But I hate to give just a ship. I like ship SKINs and so throw some in with every Secret Santa gift. I even have a few of the Blaze SKINs socked away to go with gifts at a later date.
So I wanted an Apostle SKIN. But when I opened up the New Eden Store I found that there were no Apostle SKINs for sale. Frankly, there are barely any Amarr SKINs for sale… or Minmatar. There are just five Amarr and six Minmatar SKINs in the store.
Gallente is a bit better. They have some coverage, though it is far from universal. Only the Caldari, of the four main empires, seems to have a good selection of SKINs. They are mostly the white Ghostbird SKIN, which I admit I really like, but at least you have an option as Caldari. (The Triglavians, the new hawtness, have a couple SKINs per hull available, and the Gila is also well covered.)
But no Apostle SKIN.
I had to get out an alt in Jita to go shopping. And that is okay. I understand that SKINs from events and old SKINs area meant for the secondary market. And I was able to find a Purity of the Throne, a Dark Iron, and an Exoplanets SKIN to go with the gift. I had to run them out to Aridia in an interceptor so my main could pick them up and fly them back into Delve, so a little inconvenience, but not much. I just feel lucky that I was able to find three quality SKINs without breaking the bank. If he had wanted a faction battleship SKIN I might not have been so lucky.
I won’t pretend I am an expert on in-game, cash shop marketing, but it does seem like the holiday season would be a good time to have a selection of SKINs available for a much wider selection of ships. And the art team at CCP has show itself able to knock out a good SKIN on short notice for fundraising events. So what is going on here?