Earlier this month Iceland's only game developer, CCP, celebrated its tenth birthday. As creator and publisher of space MMO EVE Online, the company's story is a classic tale of innovating to survive, creating a unique product and delivery method and thriving in a flourishing, and depressingly inevitable, me-too climate.
A decade on from a beginning of three friends scouring ECTS with a broken prototype on a laptop, CCP's history shows a slow-burning success. EVE is now played by more than 170,000 people paying a premium rate of EUR 19.95 per month; a virtual society CEO Hilmar Pétursson claims isn't even a game running on a super-server called Tranquility; and a product bearing the reputation as the most hardcore experience in global PC gaming.
CCP bought US developer White Wolf last November, marking the beginning of an expansion off the back of EVE's financial base and giving the Nordic company a route to both a second game in horror-fantasy franchise World of Darkness and a solid route to American retail. A World of Darkness MMO is now in development and it expected to be released in the next four to five years. CCP really isn't in any hurry.
While progress may be measured, however, the Icelanders know how to pick their moment. Marketing director Magnus Bergsson revealed to GamesIndustry.biz at CCP's offices in Reykjavik last week that USD 7 million has been earmarked for marketing EVE Online this year, the first major media push in the game's history. A keen EVE player himself, Magnus talks to Gamesindustry.biz about where the money's going to go, how the White Wolf merger will affect CCP's beloved internal corporate climate, and why he loves the "evilness" of in-game corporation life.