Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.
The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.
My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.
Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote
QUESTION: What is your stance on monetizing the EVE API? Do you think third party developers should be able to benefit from their efforts? How do you think CCP should enact quality control?
As half of the team that brought you the popular Capsuleer iPhone application, this particular topic is near and dear to my heart. I have had vested interest in this topic for quite some time.
CCP, once again, showed great innovation and community spirit by even offering a public API to their game. Few do. Recently, I’ve been working with the Need for Speed: World API, but it’s incredibly limited. CCP has opened up so much information through the EVE API, and has sporadically enhanced what data has become available as time goes on. Kudos to them on that.
The way I see it, and again, this is my own biased opinion, there are only two real options when it comes to the EVE API
Down with the API
The first solution is for CCP to remove the public aspect of the API altogether. Focus their social efforts internally, create their own mobile app, enhance the functionality of Eve Gate, and be done with it. Period.
Personally, I don’t like this option, but it is viable from a business point of view. By producing their own usages of the API, they easily have full control of their intellectual property, and all profits go directly to them. No fuss. No muss.
The other option for CCP, as I see it, is to develop a system where they monitor/control third party efforts, and let only the best uses of the API have their financial stamp of approval. I’m going to use EON Magazine as an example. EON has complete creative control over their efforts, yet every publish is thoroughly reviewed and approved by CCP. Not a single issue of EON goes to market without the CCP stamp of approval. It’s a good process. It’s also a much easier process when dealing with a tangible, printed product.
The world of digital property is much more complicated. For an iPhone app, CCP would need to setup a business agreement with the third party developer, taking a certain percentage of the profits from the sales of the app. Additionally, Apple also takes a cut off the top. This could result in an EVE Online app not being very profitable for the developers unless they have, let’s say, 60,000+ users. There are those that say this is typical of any competitive business practice; let the cream rise to the top. The dilemma there for CCP is they potentially stand to have a few crappy iPhone apps using their API that if it were up to them wouldn’t have the CCP stamp of approval at all, but then are they showing bias? Would the whining and flames begin? This last statement could be said for any mobile platform or use of the API, not just iPhone.
So there is a fine line for CCP to walk. Developers want freedom to express themselves how they see fit, but at the same time CCP needs to ensure quality control. How can they through their lot in with one development group without alienating others? There’s also the question of longevity. Anyone remember EVE Tracker? For that matter, anyone remember Capsuleer? We all want pay for work, otherwise development can only go so far. And at the end of the day, CCP is a business. They want to profit. Subscriptions to EVE Online = profit.
So how does CCP deal with this situation? One solution presented recently was to create a volunteer body to govern standards of usage for the API. This group would be aimed at nurturing and helping developers work within a pre-defined set of stlye guides in order to bring better quality products to the EVE community. It’s great in concept, but again, there is the question of longevity, not to mention who is qualified to participate as an advisor, and who determines those qualifications? What weight to they have in decisions regarding API development? Any? Do they even work with CCP on this initiative, or try to make a go of it strictly as members of the EVE community?
I think the heart of the issue is that CCP doesn’t have this level of mobile/social experience, and is having a difficult time choosing a path. Who is qualified to make recommendations within their organization? Do they alienate existing developers by restricting usage, or eliminating the API? Do they let anyone create an app for the API, even if it’s a piece of crap? How will that affect perceptions of their intellectual property? Of course, choosing no path means they are letting all options pass them by. Inaction is the worst choice.
If this issue was brought to the CSM, I would work with the CSM and CCP architecting a solution that works for everyone involved. Again, as half of the team that brought you Capsuleer, I worked for two years with CCP towards this very goal, and most of my documenation and business proposal is still relevant and valid. Maybe the weight of the CSM might make this topic of more importance to them. Maybe it will the EVE API more urgent.
Time will tell.