As of November 8th, 2016, gambling with ISK in Eve Online will be strictly against the End User License Agreement (EULA). This means, effectively, that entities like Eve-bet.com and IWantIsk.com will be shuttered, leaving many player-organized or -initiated events and entities at a loss for sponsorship. This news comes on the heels of the banning of at least some of the IWantIsk.com staff from Eve for RMT. It appears that with the IWI crack down, CCP has reached the end of their patience with gambling presences in Eve.
Or, more likely, they are just tidying up the landscape before, inevitably, fallout from the CS:GO gambling controversies of earlier this year reaches Iceland.
Unfortunately, this does have a rather huge impact on the Eve Media scene, something I’m now going to have to cover in my Eve Vegas talk in a couple weeks. Many prominent Eve streamers on Twitch rely heavily upon sponsorship from Eve casinos to subsidize their willy-nilly PVP ways; CrossingZebras.com featured, as part of their big visual refresh, the placement of huge Eve-Bet logos due to the fact that their entire staff is paid for primarily with Eve-Bet ISK; what few PVP videos we get these days on YouTube almost all feature Eve-Bet sponsorships; the list goes on.
Now, whether this ends up being a net positive or net negative is really a matter of interpretation. Certainly, many Imperium-allied individuals have been smugposting across Reddit as though they won the war in the end (hint: you didn’t, actually). On the LennyBux side (aka PL and company), you have many basically calling out ‘Shame On You’ towards CCP due to the fact that these streamers, YouTubers, and media sites that rely on casino ISK effectively equate free advertising for the game. Some (most notably Ripard in this typically Ripard-esque gray area post on Reddit) are rather ambivalent about the whole thing.
Personally, I don’t take the viewpoint of entitlement that is being espoused by the defenders of casinos, nor do I subscribe to the idea that this is comeuppance for World War Bee. Finally, I’ve arrived at an issue where I largely agree with Ripard, of all people – there are pros and there are cons to this. However, the most important thing that I don’t see many people talking about is this:
Eve media existed before Eve-Bet, before I Want Isk, and before Somer – and was largely better for the absence of significant ISK incentives. There is a purity to the way blogs were before sponsorships became a thing, and while sponsorship certainly makes it easier for streamers and YouTubers to produce content, its withdrawal by no means signals an end to production. In an economy increasingly enamored with crowdfunding for almost everything, I find it hard to believe that enterprising content creators won’t be able to make ends meet after November 8th – they’ll just have to do things a little differently.
Maybe now we’ll get back to the idea that people evangelizing for Eve will be doing it because they genuinely appreciate the game and wish to see it prosper, rather than being subsumed by petty political considerations within the game. Now we just need to shut down paying ISK to contributors wherever advertisements are sold for real money…