An alleged internal CCP newsletter has surfaced on the internet.
In it, the developer discusses its approach to the introduction of micro-transactions within the Eve gaming universe. The document begins with an introduction, explaining the general philosophy behind the change of revenue model:
"...as a subscription based golden goose, Eve needs to incorporate the virtual goods sales model to allow for further revenue - revenue to fund our other titles, revenue for its developer: you. The model also supports the notion of creating a meaningful experience and identity for the player..."
Later on in the newsletter, company employees debate the merits and shortcomings of adopting such a model.
Kristoffer Touborg, lead games designer at developer CCP, argues for an increased use of micro-transactions.
"I would like virtual goods sales in Eve," he wrote.
"In fact, I'd like to sell a lot more than vanity items. Does this mean I'm an evil capitalist that, unless stopped, will cause the entire company to catch fire and be buried at sea by a secret team of Navy SEALs?
"Let 's hope not, although that's the impression I get sometimes when interacting with our customers. There is a pretty overwhelming perception amongst Eve players that these changes are bad. I think they're brilliant, but our players don't. We're going to face an uphill struggle, and the reason many of us never talk about this publicly is that we'd be burned at the stake by the players."
He went on to add that a system of micro-transactions could equally be used to reward loyal players.
"I think we should be giving money away too. Giving people small amounts of micro-currency for being loyal subscribers, or even as a reward for high level gameplay like taking sovereignty should be just as legitimate a part of the business model as charging players."
At the opposite end of the spectrum, John Turbefield argued against the proposed changes.
"When we're adding additional things into the game that enable users to gain an advantage over other people for real money in a way they simply wouldn't be able to if we hadn't done so, then it becomes an issue," he wrote.
"I feel that if people have already paid a subscription fee then unless there is a good reason for the overall community to introduce a gameplay-affecting virtual goods sales (such as with PLEX), then gaining an in-game advantage isn't justifiable. More revenue is of course an aim, but making our customers feel like they are being 'double billed' to be able to play on the same level as others is just a step too far."
Suggestions that NPC faction standings, ammunition and ships may also become available for real-world currency have caused consternation amongst Eve Online players.
The newsletter goes on to discuss revenue plans for upcoming PlayStation 3-exclusive shooter Dust 514.
"With no subscriptions in Dust, we have to be careful about selling permanent awesomeness, as there's a danger of saturating the market. When everyone has everything, there's no reason to buy anything anymore. Concepts such as planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence thus play a key role (obsolescence referring to the deliberate shortening of a product's lifespan)."
While the document has not been verified as genuine by CCP, Seleen - member of the current Council of Stellar Management - has confirmed that the document is similar to those seen at a recent summit at the company's headquarters in Reyjkavik, Iceland.
You can view the relevant pages of the newsletter in the gallery below.