×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Eve Online’ Creators on $425 Million Sale, Future of Game, Company

The nearly half-billion-dollar sale of ‘Eve Online’ developers CCP Games will help fuel growth of the company’s key 15-year-old franchise, empower new games and IP and could even reinvigorate a quest for a movie adaptation of the game, CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson tells Variety.

CCP Games was founded in 1997 and launched its first video game, space-opera massively multiplayer online game, in 2003.

Last week, Petursson told the hundreds of thousands of “Eve” players that “Black Desert Online” creators Pearl Abyss had purchased CCP. The $425 million sale is a combination of a $225 million upfront payment and up to $200 million in a deferred performance-based payout.

More importantly, the sale, which finalizes in October, allows CCP to retain independence and its internal structure. Petursson said that he is both contractually bound to stick around at the company and also wants to stay.

The sale, he said, is part of a shift in strategy CCP started near the end of 2017.

“We decided that despite having a bit of success in VR, that the market didn’t bear more investment and I don’t think that’s going to change in the coming few years,” he said. “At least to the level we need it to for it to make good business sense.”

So the company stopped work on VR games and refocuses its efforts on core PC titles and initiated work on core games for the smartphone.

The company will continue to maintain, and even provide slight updates, for its existing VR titles including “Eve: Valkyrie” and “Gunjack 2.” But most of its efforts will go into a slew of in-development games like first-person “Eve Online” shooter “Project Nova,” a PC MMO and a smartphone real-time strategy games based in the “Eve” universe,  and a multiplayer game for the PC based on a new IP.

The decision to essentially shift from virtual reality to smartphone games was in part driven by an examination of what is happening in the rich gaming culture of South Korea which, Petursson believes, is an excellent predictor of what will take off in the West in half a decade or so.

“We didn’t initially feel that the mobile industry was quite there, but we’ve been keeping an eye on mobile trends in Korea and we’ve noticed that it has stepped up in terms of hardcoreness,” he said. “We see that trend coming West in the next three to five years. We made this decision to move into mobile game development due to those trends and the overall increase in the power of the handset and the maturing of the market. You can basically look at what’s going on in Korea and that will be a reality in the West in the coming five or so years.”

That, in part, explains why CCP decided to sell to Pearl Abyss, a South Korea game developer.

Petursson said the two companies got to know one another after CCP hired the Raine group to find potential investors for the company. The deal gives CCP better access to the lucrative Korean MMO gaming market and provides valued insight into maintaining an MMO over decades to the creators of fantasy MMO “Black Desert Online.”

Petursson was clear in speaking with Variety that a big part of CCP Games’ plans includes investing heavily in “Eve Online,” which has about 300,000 monthly active users. That investment, he said could include a major overhaul of the game’s underlying systems.

“We continue to have very ambitious plans for ‘Eve Online,’” he said. “This change, bringing another MMO developer on board, allows us to lean heavily into that.”

For the most part, the core aspects of “Eve Online,” which runs on an in-house game engine, hasn’t really been touched since its release. CCP did release an updated version of its graphics engine in 2007, but the core physics engine and distributed aspects of “Eve Online” remain the same as what was used when the game was launched 15 years ago, he said. So the team is talking about a complete overhaul of the game engine.

“If we are to really live up to the aspiration of having a game that goes on forever, of making plans for the third decade, we need to look at that,” he said.

While game development will continue to be a core element of CCP Games’ focus, Petursson, said that the infusion of cash could give the company a chance to take another look at trying to bring the stories of “Eve Online” to the big screen, something Petursson said he was surprised hadn’t happened yet.

“We found in the past that getting a project like that off the ground took a lot of effort and we couldn’t focus on that,” he said. “Who knows, we might have enough power now to get something done. I think it’s an excellent opportunity.”

More Gaming

  • 'Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night' Has

    'Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night' Has Lots of Post-Launch DLC Planned

    “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night,” the spiritual successor to Koji Igarashi’s Castlevania series, officially releases on Steam, GOG.com, PS4, and Xbox One on Jun. 18. It comes to Nintendo Switch a week later on Jun. 25. Publisher 505 Games has big plans for the side-scroller after its launch, and shared what downloadable content fans can [...]

  • Someone playing fortnite a computer gameVideo

    World Health Organization Making Final Decision on Gaming Disorder This Weekend

    The World Health Organization (WHO) is making its final decision on whether or not to classify video game addiction as a disorder on Saturday, May 25, a spokesperson told Variety. The 72nd World Health Assembly is currently underway in Geneva, Switzerland. It’s the decision-making body of the WHO, and it’s attended by delegations from member [...]

  • Nominees Announced for 2019 BitSummit Awards

    Nominees Announced for 2019 BitSummit Awards

    The Japan Independent Games Aggregate (JIGA) announced the nominees for the 2019 BitSummit Awards on Friday. BitSummit is an annual festival celebrating independent video games and developers based in Japan. Founded in 2012, it’s become Japan’s premier indie gaming event, drawing thousands of visitors each year. It takes place the weekend of Jun. 1 at [...]

  • League of Legends Esports to Release

    League of Legends Esports to Release Premium Viewing Option

    League of Legends Esports has a new Pro View premium experience which will allow viewers to watch esports matches from the individual pro players’ perspective, the company announced Friday. The Pro View Package will be available for the Summer Split of the League Championship Series (LCS) as well as the League European Championship (LEC). In [...]

  • Microsoft's Project xCloud Rollout Hits 13

    Microsoft's Project xCloud Rollout Hits 13 Regions, Capcom, Paradox Testing

    Microsoft’s take on cloud-gaming — an approach to game development and deployment that theoretically makes games playable on any system without the need for porting — continues its rollout, with the company on Friday detailing work they’re doing with developers Capcom and Paradox Interactive. Project xCloud now has custom server blades at Azue datacenters in [...]

  • 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Pushed Back Due

    'Sonic the Hedgehog' Movie Pushed Back to 2020 Due to Character Design Changes

    Paramount Pictures is pushing its “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie back three months, from Nov. 8 to Valentine’s Day. The delay follows fan criticism over the appearance and design of the titular blue hedgehog — particularly his teeth and lean legs. Director Jeff Fowler tweeted that it was “taking a little more time to make Sonic [...]

  • 'Mortal Kombat 11,' 'League of Legends'

    'Mortal Kombat 11,' 'League of Legends' Dominate Global Digital Games

    The world’s top-earning digital games for last month include “Mortal Kombat 11,” “League of Legends,” and “Fortnite Battle Royale,” according to a report from SuperData released Tuesday. The ranking of top grossing games for the month of April 2019 is split into three groups: PC, console, and mobile. The massively popular “League of Legends,” a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content