Friday, February 5, 2016

The Part Where I Rip CCP a New One...

Hot off the presses... CCP just announced the pricing for skill extractors on the New Eden Store.

    1 Extractor - 999 aurum
    5 Extractors - 4,499 aurum
    10 Extractors - 7,999 aurum

On the one hand, I'm delighted about this price, because it means the 55 PLEX I puchased a few days ago are going to go through the roof very quickly. 1.5 billion isk is not unreasonable, and that'll net me 16 bil in profits. Thanks for making me that much richer, CCP!

But from every other case, this is a colossally poor pricing decision.  So poor, in fact, that I question whether CCP did any pricing research at all.

To understand why, you've got to understand that the cost of the extractors represents the tax CCP gets for the privilege of letting one player who paid for his/her account to earn sp to transfer that sp to another character.  Those sp have already been paid for once; it's the equivalent of the 2 PLEX a player must pay to transfer a character to another account.

With that understanding - and the current price of 4,035 per every $20 - it will cost the following to transfer different amounts of sp from a buyer (the seller gets even less than this amount of sp depending on their existing sp level):

    20 million sp = 40 extractors = 31,996 aurum = $160
    40 million sp = 80 extractors = 63,992 aurum = $320
    50 million sp = 100 extractors = 79,990 aurum = $400
    80 million sp = 160 extractors = 127,984 aurum = $640

Not to put too fine a point on it, but each of those would alternatively go for $20 on the character bazaar.

And that's before you calculate for the seller's cut of the action.  All indications are that sellers are going to want to try to plex their account by farming out their sp.  Each account can generate a maximum of 3.88 injectors a month, which translates to roughly 322 million in profit.

If people buy at the maximum efficiency of aurum, 10 extractors still costs about 2 plex; every month's training will cost 80% of a plex (or 258 million at a plex price of 1.25 bil) just to buy the extractors!  Added to the profit a seller is looking for, and you're at about 580 million isk for 500k sp.

As a result, to buy a month's training via sp injectors, buyers are going to have to pay about 2.25 billion for 1.85 million sp, or 180% the price of plex.

Will some people be willing to pay that?  You betcha, but nowhere near the number that would pay that if you could do so for maybe 140% the price of plex.

And that's why this is colossally stupid; through this pricing structure, CCP is effectively limiting their profitability.  SP trading was always going to be more lucrative to CCP than trading characters on the bazaar, but this pricing structure crowds out transactions at a higher profit margin (sp trading) in favor of transactions at a low profit margin (character trading).

It also encourages players to sit out the transactions until the market normalizes out of hope that CCP will change its mind and reduce the aurum cost in a bout of sudden sanity.  So not only is the advantage heavily in favor of the character bazaar for buyers, but it also encourages players to not participate in the market immediately.

That's called a flawed pricing structure.  I recognize the need to make money, but this is ridiculous.

My reddit comment poking at the lack of "micro" in CCP's micro-transactions proved all too true...

Looks like I'll be buying a Tengu character on the bazaar instead of participating in sp trading.


  1. "And that's why this is colossally stupid; through this pricing structure, CCP is effectively limiting their profitability."

    Ripard Teg called it in his blog, COTW: In case this isn't clear...

    There is one Caveat with his reasoning in October 2012,
    that the subscription model still exists and is cheaper.

    Regards, a Freelancer

    ps: think about the end of subs and plex/aurum only model :s

  2. maximum effect would be 16 plex. 16 x 3,500 = 56,000
    56,000 / 7999 x 5 = 35 extractors
    16 flex = 20bil isk. at 1.25 each
    per extractor should be around 572,000 isk a unit - as a base price

    2700 sp x 24 hr x 30 days = 1.944mil sp
    1.25b / 1.944m = 643isk per sp
    321.5 mil for the 500,000

    Injector minimum 322mil. (Approx)

    So how would people pay above this per injector? Who is to say.

  3. Priced into obsolescence on release.

  4. SP cost per month becomes
    100% = 1 = 1PLEX (for sub)
    200% = 2.8 = 1 (sub) + 1.8 (boost)
    300% = 4.6 = 1 + 1.8 + 1.8
    400% = 6.4

    looks reasonable until you realise CCP has already been paid 100% for the SP in the first place.

  5. I completely disagree. CCP can't really price it lower without losing money. If you have mining or industry on your PvP main, you value it for zero. So your options:
    - Train your pilot for a month
    - Buy 4 extractors, rip out mining and industry and re-inject them a 80% effectiveness.

    The second must be not much cheaper than the first or people stop paying for their account while taking a break from EVE.
    4 extractors = 3200 Aur (10 packs)
    1 month = 3500 Aur (1 PLEX)

    What you people always assume that full injectors will cost much more than empty extractors. You'll be surprised.