CCP Raising the EVE Online Subscription Price to $20 a Month Starting May 17th

About a year back I was on about how the subscription model for MMORPGs had basically been static the early 2000s, wondering how long it could hold out?  $15 a month had been the default for so long and none dare change it, lest they alienate their customer base, lest they press the question as to how much the players value the game.

And so the industry has treated the whole topic by falling back on one of the basic rules of improve, “Yes, and…”

So would subscriptions stay the same price?  Yes, and they would also add cash shops, special currencies, expansion boxes, deluxe and collectable editions, and a host of other things in order to keep the cash flow on pace with the rising costs of pretty much everything over the last 20 years.

“Is your game free to play?  Yes, and it has a subscription option too” became a pretty common refrain as studios sought to access all possible funding taps.

But nobody has really gone all in and simply asked the players to pay them more money for a subscription.  The idea has occasionally been mentioned… Mark Jacobs suggesting that Warhammer Online might be worth a premium subscription price springs to mind… but there hasn’t been a big name that has actually gone and done it.

Until now.

This morning CCP announced that they would be raising the price of a subscription… referred to as “Omega Time” in the parlance of the game… and PLEX, the in-game currency that can be traded in for subscription time.

Where “update” means “increase”

Starting on May 17, 2022, the basic, one month subscription price for EVE Online will be $20, up from $15, and the price of 500 PLEX, which is the amount needed to get 30 days of game time, will be $25, up from $20.

There will still be discounts for multi-month commitments, and CCP has even added in 2 month and 24 month options into the pricing mix.

New Prices as of May 17, 2022

You can compare that to the currently listed prices for Omega time.

Classic Omega pricing… and yes, one month is on sale currently

Likewise, PLEX pricing has the usual quantity discount. (And this chart doesn’t have the dubious “buy 440 PLEX and get 60 free” marketing to make you feel like it is a better deal.)

PLEX Pricing as of May 17, 2022

Again, you can compare that to the current and soon to be former PLEX pricing on the web store.

Classic PLEX, less options for less money

So there it is, the coming new reality for EVE Online.

People are, of course, upset.  They are questioning their commitment to the game and comparing what else $20 a month gets them.  $15 to $20 is a fairly substantial jump.  A 33% boost will be a tough lump for many to swallow.  A more fainthearted company might have gone to $17 or $18.

Earlier this month it was announced that RuneScape would be bumping its subscription price up two dollars a month.    Granted, that makes it just $12.49, so they aren’t even at the long established $15 a month norm for the industry, but they didn’t make a bigger leap.

Now, though, CCP has broken the $15 a month barrier.  Will it break them?  Will they see a big decline the way Netflix did with their latest subscription price rise?  Or are EVE Online players committed enough to the game to carry on at the higher price?

And then there are the secondary effects, like the impact on illicit RMT.  CCP just made buying ISK, the in-game currency, more expensive.  Will that benefit the gold sellers?

Of course, there is no news they cannot leverage.  If you act fast you can buy a month of Omega time for just $10.47.

Cheap Omega – Act Fast

So there we go.

Now, the follow up question, beyond whether or not CCP will succeed at this, is who will be next?  Once the $15 a month subscription barrier has been broken for a special, yet somewhat second tier, MMORPG like EVE Online, who else will see the light and raise the price?

I am betting on Daybreak.  They have an argument that their subscription covers multiple games, though that would be bolstered if their Daybreak Access subscription also included LOTRO and DDO.

I could see Square Enix doing a bit of a price creep, though their subscription model is already has more options for pricing.

I suspect that Blizzard won’t touch this idea any time soon.  They still make a ton of money as is at just $15 a month… they make it up with volume… and the last thing they need is yet another reason for players to be mad at them.

Who else might see this as an opportunity?

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13 thoughts on “CCP Raising the EVE Online Subscription Price to $20 a Month Starting May 17th

  1. flosch

    People are indeed very upset from what I’ve seen. And since EVE has… well, maybe not the most toxic community in games, but their toxic people being especially loud… this is currently going about as well as expected.

    Really, though. If you spend any appreciable amount of your free time in a subscription game, it doesn’t take long at all for it to become phenomenal value for money. $15, or even $20, don’t get you very far in most other hobbies. Sure, EVE is a bit special in that many people have multiple accounts, but the really big multibox rollers seem to try and offset most of the subscription via skill farming or other afk options.

    I’m actually completely fine with an increase in subscription, considering how long it’s been at the current price. What I’d love to get in return for this big jump would be fewer cash shop shenanigans. That’s the part I’m more worried about than a subscription increase… but I have few illusions that that will continue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bhagpuss

    $20 a month for EQ/EQ2/DCUO/Planetside 2/LotRO/DDO would be pretty good deal. Daybreak have kind of moved away from the All Access thing in recent years, though. I mean, it’s still there but they don’t make a huge thing of it the way they used to. Of course, EG7 might want to do some kind of “All EG7” package, too. Remind me what other games they have again?

    How many true sub games ae there left, though? The DBG games are all nominally F2P and there’s no real incentive for a true casual player to sub to any of them, LotRO and Do included. It’s only the installed base that needs to sub and I’d bet against any move that would openly anger that demographic. Then there’s WoW and FFXIV, neither of which would seem to need to make any sudden moves in this direction. Do any of the other majors charge a non-optional sub? Can’t think of any off hand.

    I imagin they’ll all wait and see how it works out for CCP before moving, anyway. If you look back to the past, when subs were the norm, I seem to remember a few companies putting subs up and then bringing them down again later. I can’t see anyone wanting to risk a climb down after having already driven customers away.

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  3. Nogamara

    Oof, that is indeed a hard pill to swallow. I really wonder what they’ve been thinking. I know, I know, EVE has been dying since forever – but the people being absolutely pissed off for a few years now because of the scarcity shit they’ve been pulling is also immense.

    I stopped my subs at the start of the year and haven’t come back for now, but all the more invested people I know have had multiple accounts anyway, that’s the detail that I think is really important. Back when Refer-A-Friend was a thing (and leveling still slow), some of us had a second WoW account, to basically boost another char quickly to.. 80 or 90 or what it was, then transfer to main and stop paying the second one. But in EVE being logged in twice is actually often better than the sum of the parts, so I really wonder if this won’t backfire for them.

    Also it makes me personally sad because I kinda regret spending so much money on EVE with the multi-account and dual training the last 2 years that this will surely not make me rejoice of resubbing soon, and surely not all three accounts again.

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  4. PCRedbeard

    I suspect that CCP will be just fine, because people will bitch and then fork over the money. The number of people who will simply stop will be a smaller number, because compared to things such as cable subscriptions or electric bills, a $5/month increase is small potatoes.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    CCP Paragon speaking on Discord about the price increase did say that CCP will be announcing what is possibly their biggest content update ever for the game.

    Also, the loss of Russian revenue was cited as a reason for the price bump. They are also looking into a way to allow multi-account players to get a discount for that.

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  6. Jeff

    Only time will tell if it was a good move or not. I have been playing for the most part non-stop since 2008. And I was just about to resub back up to 4 accounts out of the 7 I have total. Right now I had only 1 account sub since I was letting the others time out and then resubbing in a way to spread out to about one bill a month for an account since I pay in 3 month time amounts and not a massive bill for all the accounts for 3 months at the same time. So this was very bad timing for CCP since I now have no plans at all to resub or even keep my one sub after the time runs out. With really nothing good for the past 2 years for content I was already borderline but did enjoy it form time to time. But not at the new price. I have other MMOs I play at least the same amount for way cheaper then eve. And yes for what I liked best n eve I did need to muiltbox. I will just now be able to play more STO, WOW, SWTOR and LOTR now I guess. (Love Lifetime Subscriptions) If they do in the future have real content again maybe I will come back if the price is right.

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  7. Jeff

    Interesting that he blamed Losing Russia in the chat above for at least if not the whole the price increase. I know there were a lot of Russian players but just from the Concurrent Player Numbers only dropping a bit I did not think it was that much of a loss. Maybe they bought a lot of stuff not reflected into the player numbers.

    Oh well actions are louder then words. I will wait on the new content being fully released before I decide to come back or not. They should have announced the content first and then the price increase. But it seems they had to announce it now before stuff like discounts for alt accounts were ready. Seems a bit desperate to me despite the statement they are in great shape.

    I did laugh at his reasons why he thought eve was so much better. I have to disagree with almost all of it myself.

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jeff – Peak concurrent has its flaws, as that tends to cap at late EUTZ and early USTZ. But the Russians are often ending their day by then, being a couple hours ahead, so I don’t know how much they play into peak. Still, peak concurrent hasn’t touched the 30K mark since the war began.

    I also kind of thought Russia wasn’t a huge income stream for them, despite being a sizable bloc of players due to them paying in something other than dollars or Euros. But they also had a bit of a reputation for PLEXing their accounts, and PLEX redeemed can be more valuable to CCP than some of the currencies they work with. So maybe it was a bigger hit than I thought, losing the Russian market.

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  9. Noizy

    Just as a point of reference, I don’t think Square Enix has to raise their sub prices anytime soon. I currently am paying $21.99/month for my FFXIV account. That’s $13.99 for a 3-month subscription + $8/month for 4 retainers. That compares to the $33/month for my 3 EVE accounts I pay for at the old 1-year sub. And since I bought a 1 year sub during the October sale, those months will drop to $27/month.

    Of course, once the sale time goes away and I have to buy at the regular price, my EVE bill goes up to $37.48/month. At that point, I may decide to drop an account unless another sale comes along.

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  10. Comiccruncher

    My completely-unfounded-worthless gut reaction is that the existing playerbase will swallow these price increases, by and large.

    What about new players though? Unless other MMOs take their lead from CCP and increase their own prices, EVE will be at a disadvantage for getting new players when they are noticeably more expensive than competing products.

    New players already get special offers to entice them to go Omega, but the savvy ones will look beyond that to the ‘normal’ costs.

    CC

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  11. ordoministorum

    based on the fact maintaining servers have been getting cheaper year after year, i’d say that basing your 33% price hike on “inflation” and “added value” and “future content” is just hilariously clueless and tone deaf.

    And i think Eve players are sick of the recent promises of grand plans for prosperity and conflict drivers that CCP routinely vomits up, repeatedly walked back because stupidity. You think they’re going to believe anything some CCP market spindoctor conjures out of thin air knowing full well CCP has a habit of disavowing things their people say on a semi-regular but convenient basis…

    …and honestly, do you really think the mealy mouthed platitudes from that discord recording have any basis in truth, reality or fact?

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  12. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @ordoministorum – Certainly CCP has a few years of ill will built up with the players. If they don’t deliver on something big at Fanfest… or they deliver something that is big but largely unwanted… like the perpetual first person shooter project… I expect that things will go very badly.

    I don’t know what it costs to run their server farm, though they have been upgrading their servers again. There was a whole dev blog about that this week. But running servers isn’t the biggest cost they have. Anybody who works in software knows that the developer payroll is the biggest cost, and the one that they will inevitably cut if they don’t have something really good going on.

    I can be as cynical as they come, but they have promised a big reveal at Fanfest. I’ll reserve judgement until then. But if they flub this, it is going to be very ugly on stage in front of a live audience of players.

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  13. Mailvaltar

    Personally, I can’t even bring myself to be excited about whatever it is they might announce at fanfest at this point.

    Like others have said, they’ve royally pissed off a great deal of players during these past years, and I’m one of those. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a single change to the game (that was big enough to be worth mentioning) that hasn’t affected my personal experience in a negative way.

    I’ve let both of my accounts run out in recent months (the alt account in January and my main a couple of weeks ago), and now I have yet another good reason to keep it that way. Good job CCP.

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