Dearest Internet Space Pilots,
Earlier this month we announced a crackdown on RMT which began with a single circle of actors. With those gentlemen out of business we've been able to focus our sights on some new sources and I'd like to share some numbers with you. This isn't going to be my longest blog ever but it is going to contain some numbers and things that are sure to please most (heh) of you and give you some thoughts about how we're going to proceed.
After the first wave of action we've improved our methods a bit. Because of our focus on this subject we've seen some anecdotal things around the internet that aren't exactly scientific but do point somewhat towards impact.
- We've seen the cost of illegal isk go up
- We've seen illegal isk sellers having supply problems
Apparently, despite the chest-beating protestations of self-professed internet "experts" on the subject, when you buckle down hard enough on the supply-side of the problem you do indeed create ripples in their capacity to operate. When you ban all the suppliers the sellers need to look for new ones. When you increase the risk by taking out the sellers people are less likely to do so. In many cases we've been able to not just take out the supply networks, but immediately key in on the new supply networks and take those out as well. We have done this over and over and over again for the past 3 weeks and the results are telling:
- 1268 accounts of both sellers and suppliers have been banned permanently. Of these 90% or so are accounts that are very young. This is important because it helps to underscore the fact that these aren't good customers who have been tempted over to the dark side. These are illicit businessmen who could really care less about their impact on New Eden so long as they can buy a new tiger skin rug or a pair of signed purple Jordans.
- 524 accounts have had their illegal transactions reversed.
- No exact number here but we are seeing a great many customers realize the error of their ways, reversing the transaction to the illicit seller, then spending the cash on PLEX, which is absolutely the only right way to do this. For whatever reason people take risks, but when they are ultimately found out and have their proceeds taken they want to "go legit".
- Number of account cancellations due to reversal is around 10. People are understanding what they did was wrong but they still love EVE and tend to want to stay engaged.
- 1.5 Trillion isk has been reversed from people's accounts because they purchased it illegally.
- 4.2 Trillion or so isk in assets has been seized from RMTers or suppliers.
The lesson that begins to appear from this is one that starts to put a real dampner on the "common" "wisdom" that it's not profitable for us to crack down on this activity. While 1268 accounts had to be permanently banned they were not what we would qualify as "EVE Players". Buyers tend to be people who make a poor decision and try to save a couple of bucks by doing something illegal, but still want to be engaged in the game. We negative this activity and give them an opportunity to continue enjoying the game and they stay loyal customers, which helps to make New Eden a more enjoyable place for everyone. Instead of people sending cash to some shady dude running a sweat shop out in *insert country name here*, they purchase a PLEX, which can be used by you to fund your game time and the money goes into developing a better spaceship game instead of buying the equivalent of a digital drug dealer a cool new diamond-covered blingy case for his beeper.
Going forward we're going to keep twisting the knife on the sellers. Ultimately we do not believe this activity should continue and we will focus and do every single thing in our power to ensure that they are no longer able to take advantage of our customers and try to profit from our hard work. We're also exploring opportunities for how to get this messaging out to new players of the game. One of the things people mention fairly often is that they're concerned that new players can fall into this trap of "easy" isk by being targeted by these terrible isk sellers. Along with going after the supply-side of the problem we're doing a deep dive on what the best ways to reach out to new players is so that this never becomes a problem from the beginning. Part of this is word of mouth and dev blogs such as this, but we'll probably also see things like splash ads on login, news items, things in the launcher and some other stuff that's been thought of but is still being tweaked.
We're really hoping that by taking a layered approach to this we can solve this problem which will in turn have a net positive impact on both New Eden's economy and our ability to devote proper resourcing to the things that matter to you as a customer and, if I may say so... Internet Space Friend. Please feel free to post in the associated thread and let me know if you have any comments or anything. Unfortunately RMT tears are a bit harder to harvest but if you can find a way feel free to share (don't link the site) and I will give you a virtual hug in my head.
Until next time Space Friends!
ps. I need to give a shout out to Team Security, CCP Arkanon, CCP Peligro and CCP Stillman. They put a lot of hard work into this stuff and they deserve a hi five.