Since the update last week when CCP decided to put up the Prospector Pack on the web store, which sold players a fully, if badly, fit ship, skills to pilot it, some PLEX, and 30 days of Omega time, there has been quite a bit of push back on the company from various segments of the community. Current and former members of the CSM put their signatures to an open letter to CCP asking them not sell packs like this.
Reactions to CCP selling the “wrong” thing have been a trigger in the past, and all the more so since the lesson of skill injectors demonstrated that statements from the company have a short expiration date. If you don’t push back today, tomorrow the company will do something worse.
The backlash against CCP selling fully fitted ship packs has carried into the world of EVE Online streamers with a protest called The Blackout.
I saw some poor person on /r/eve excited because they thought Hilmar’s disastrous chaos era experiment was returning. But this is something different. It even has its own web page. (Since removed, archived version linked at the end of the post.)
A group of streamers has decided to put up a message on their streams to protest the sale of the Prospector Pack and the potential that CCP will offer more such packs in the future. It is black screen with a simple message:
The idea is to get this message up and visible when people look at the EVE Online category on Twitch. As I started writing this, 11 of the 34 active EVE Online streams were displaying this message, but only one of them was in the first row of results, New Eden Post.
I picked the image above for a reason. New Eden Post is easily the most popular Twitch channel that is part of the protest. NEP is also at the center of a minor controversy because of the protest.
When the protest started, CCP inadvertently broadcast the NEP stream on their own channel as part of their program of displaying partner streams when the CCP channel isn’t actively broadcasting. It is a perk of being in the partnership program. This bit of comedy, with CCP broadcasting the protest against itself, brought the protest to the attention of the company. CCP determined that being a part of the protest would put a streamer in violation of the partnership program rules.
You cannot be a partner and be part of this protest.
This led to Redline XIII, who runs NEP, to leave the partnership program. The departure has led to something of a “did he jump or was he pushed” argument, which seems like splitting hairs to me. He left because he said that the protest was more important than being a partner. However, it is also clear that if the protest continued, he would be kicked from the program anyway, so there was only one end result compatible with protesting, and it was CCP who made that determination.
Now, of course, not everybody is against the Prospector Pack. As there are people who will get mad at CCP no matter what they do, there are the usual suspects out there who will support CCP in any situation as well. Several streams have come out in support of the pack and whatever else CCP wants to sell.
And in between the two camps there is the great uncaring mass of players who likely don’t know and probably don’t care either way.
Will the protest make any difference?
Since I started this post, CCP has announced that they are removing the Prospector Pack from the web store, though the announcement says that they are still working on some sort of pack system for new players that may use in-game produced assets. But all of that is for fanfest.
The announcement was in the CSM open letter thread, so maybe it was strictly a reaction to that. On the other hand, that thread got no response for more than a week, and since then the Twitch protest started. So maybe the protest made a difference. Maybe Redline XIII did not give up his partner program membership in vain.
- Blackout Web Page (Internet archive version for posterity)
- Reddit – Thread About NEP and the Partnership Program
- INN – Players Organize Campaign to Protest CCP’s Recent Monetization
- Massively OP – EVE Online streamers organize an ‘EVE Blackout’ to protest CCP’s monetization of the sandbox
- Massively OP – EVE Online community podcast loses official CCP Games partnership over media blackout participation
- TNG – The EVE Partnership Program And The Prospector Pack
- CCP – Forum announcement about removing the pack for now
Addendum – Responses to the end of the pack announcement: