In an open letter to EVE Online fans, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson apologizes for “taking success for granted” and not listening to his audience.
EVE Online is a remarkable game. To some it’s an Excel spreadsheet in space, but for a small, die-hard core of fans it’s an engrossing online experience that allows them to blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality in ways that almost no other game can. It’s also a great source of amusement for those of us who just like to watch the carnage from a distance. But some rather serious and surprising rifts have developed in recent months between EVE players and CCP, an “estrangement” that Petursson admits is entirely his fault.
“The past few months have been very humbling for me. I’ve done much soul searching, and what follows is my sincere effort to clear the air with all of you. Please bear with me as I find my way through,” he wrote in a lengthy message to EVE fans.
“The estrangement from CCP that many of you have been feeling of late is my fault, and for that I am truly sorry,” he continued. “There are many contributing factors, but in the end it is I who must shoulder the responsibility for much of what has happened. In short, my zeal for pushing EVE to her true potential made me lose sight of doing the simple things right. I was impatient when I should have been cautious, defiant when I should have been conciliatory and arrogant when I should have been humble.”
He claimed that CCP’s success with EVE left him “less inclined to listen to pleas for caution,” even as red flags went up in the community and within CCP itself. He acknowledged the poor handling of both the Captain’s Quarters and virtual goods, although he said that both have the potential to become very positive aspects of the game.
“I fervently believe with all my heart that we’ve not even scratched the surface of EVE’s potential. My personal failing is not reconciling that passion with pragmatism,” he wrote. “We’ve been trying to expand the EVE universe in several directions at once, and I need to do a better job of pursuing that vision without diluting or marginalizing the things that are great-or could be great-about the game right now.”
The full message [the quoted bits are just a small part of it] covers a lot of territory and while there’s a temptation to blow it off as a lame attempt to win back customers, I have to admit that I’m impressed with just how far Petursson goes with his mea culpa. He’s not just sorry, he’s really sorry, and he spells out exactly why without ever passing the buck. It’s interesting for his willingness to step in front of a bullet if nothing else, but I think it also bodes well for the future of the game. Check out the whole thing and decide for yourself if it’s empty grovelling or heartfelt sincerity at eveonline.com.