I don’t know the answer, but I want to ask the question; what happens to the economy now?
Gambling… at least third party gambling,.. will be leaving EVE Online come the Ascension expansion on November 8, 2016. As I have said elsewhere, you can find the best telling of this tale over at The Nosy Gamer.
As you might have guessed by my own reaction to that announcement, the departure of gambling is fine by me. I am not a fan of it in either real or virtual life. Having a casino like IWI start throwing the weight of its ISK around in New Eden to broaden its power did nothing to warm me to gambling.
However, gambling sites have been part of the environment for a while now. We know that their departure will have some minor impact on EVE Online related things outside of the game… streamers will no longer get an ISK stipend to advertise for casinos and sites like EN24 will have to find new advertisers (which they did almost immediately once Bobmon, the casino candidate on the CSM, stopped crying wolf)… but what about the New Eden economy?
The thing is, gambling does not create money. It isn’t an ISK faucet. If you look at CCP Quant’s monthly economic charts, there isn’t a line item for “gambling.” Gambling in New Eden just serves as a conduit that moved ISK from the wallets of gamblers to the wallets of the various casinos, because in the long term, the house always wins.
And some of those casino wallets have been drained as the CCP security team confiscated RMT tainted ISK.
So this will actually end up with there being less ISK in the New Eden economy. And while that ISK is measured in the trillions, it was idle in banker’s wallets so its absence probably won’t influence the market in Jita. Certainly, some individuals whose wallets were found to be stuffed with dirty money were feeling the pinch once CCP removed that ISK, but that hit a very tiny slice of New Eden. The average capsuleer should hardly notice the difference.
But then there is PLEX, which in its way made this whole casino business viable.
Current prices are around 1.2 billion ISK in Jita
I have heard on a number of occasions that some of the gamblers using the EVE Online casinos are just that; gamblers. Which is to say, they were not EVE Online players. Instead, they created EVE Online accounts, bought PLEX, sold it for ISK, and used the ISK in the casinos.
I do not doubt that this has actually happened, that somebody has bought PLEX just to gamble. The only question in my mind is how prevalent this sort of things really is. If this sort of thing was only a tiny minority of the people who used the EVE Online gambling sites, then the impact of the passing of gambling probably won’t hit the price of PLEX.
If those gambling for ISK were a significant factor in these casinos, if people were not simply tossing away their ratting and mining ISK but were buying PLEX to support their gambling habit, the end of the casinos could user in another spike in the price of PLEX. (And things with prices that are effectively pegged to the value of PLEX.)
Of course, as noted up at the top, the gambling sites officially go away with the launch of the Ascension expansion on November 8th. That expansion introduces Alpha Clones, which will allow people to play EVE Online without a subscription fee. This is CCP’s free to play move.
Should this see the initial success that such free to play gambits generally achieve… lots of people should come give the game a try, or come back to take a look… is CCP counting on them to take up the slack in PLEX purchases? Is this why CCP waited until last week… just four weeks before the launch of the expansion… to move against IWI and ban people who, in some cases, they had banned earlier this year?
In a game where the economy is absolutely essential, where nobody can avoid it, I imagine CCP is trying to tread carefully. But I still wonder where this will lead.
Meanwhile, as The Mittani and DBRB were smugging so hard I am surprised they didn’t injure themselves, I Want ISK has been vacillating between telling people that IWI 2.0 was never meant for New Eden and how they are removing lines of code that were part of the IWI 2.0 connection to EVE Online. It sounds like they have decided to become a straight-up online casino. I am sure that will end well. And, finally, over at The Nosy Gamer there is a further look at the legal aspects of all of this and why CCP may have chosen to act.
Stabs takes a stab at what happens to the economy when gambling goes away.