PLEX price control article follow up


Recently over at EN24 I wrote an opinion piece based on the fluctuations in PLEX prices over the last year when compared to the trading volume. Whilst the mechanics of supply and demand would normally dictate that the price of PLEX increasing would be due to a mix of increased demand and or reduced supply I argued it from a different perspective that the increased price has caused decreased supply. This view was formed on the assumption that people who sell PLEX do it to buy stuff and now to get the same amount of stuff they don’t need to sell as many PLEX as would previously.

Whilst only an opinion piece it provoked a mixed bag of positive and negative responses and quite justly so. The responses in fact are much more interesting than my original article and range between how the global recession has reduced supply to how the reliable increases in price is causing high volume hoarding of PLEX further artificially increasing the price. This raised an interesting follow up point for discussion, how to discourage PLEX from being hoarded preventing their active involvement in the market and helping CCP to reduce their deferred income.

Why should PLEX hoarding be controlled?

The hoarding of PLEX is an activity that artificially increases its value to an extent that causes more players to hoard them creating a vicious cycle of price increases whilst adding no value to the game and preventing more players from getting involved with their usage whether that’s to fund a subscription or skin a ship doesn’t really matter lower prices encourage higher usage.

Higher usage of PLEX is great for CCP as usage can be viewed at the point where CCP realises its income rather than the point at which the PLEX is purchased. At the end of 2013 CCP had 6,605,772 in deferred revenue whilst a lot of this will be in general long term subscriptions there will also be a considerable number of PLEX right there. Game revenues grew by 15% over 2012 whilst referred revenue increased by 26% the disparity may relate to growth in hoarding during 2013.

Lower PLEX prices encourage higher usage across the board that includes micro transactions such as ship skinning and clothing purchases which become more affordable to the average EVE players. Also something which I feel passionate about is that more players paying with PLEX who couldn’t afford to do so with RL cash is good for the game, as one individual put it ‘players are content’ and more content in EVE increases the chance of press worthy events which drive new players to the game.

How could PLEX hoarding be controlled?

There are a few potential ways to reduce PLEX hoarding I’m going to discuss one potential way which came to mind as a first thought, introduce an account wide PLEX hangar with a fixed cap for the number of PLEX. This cap should be reduced by:

  • Any PLEX in other characters hangars or market orders.
  • Any PLEX currently on the market.
  • Any PLEX in any other stations.

This then brings in a degree of regulation of PLEX hoarding helping to increase the market velocity. The cap could be set at a reasonable level in the region of 50 PLEX so that players funding large purchases through PLEX such as buying Supercarriers are able to do so without much hassle.

Is PLEX hoarding a large enough issue?

I wish it was as I believe there are large potential gains in keeping prices low and encouraging player base growth. However, the current standpoint of CCP is that EVE should remain a free market with no regulation as such it’s highly unlikely that it’s viewed to be a big issue. This stand point from CCP is likely based on more data than that the general EVE community has to hand so for now I’ll have faith and watch to see if CCP intervenes as PLEX prices continue to increase.