Honestly, I had no idea. When I blogged yesterday about the possibility that EVE Online players might soon get new governance tools, little did I know that Seth Schiesel would have an article about it in today’s New York Times. And indeed, the announcement today is that EVE players will soon be able to elect a player-staffed oversight committee that will be regularly flown to Iceland to “audit CCPâ€™s operations and report back to their player-constituents.” To insure the elections are free and fair, “CCP says it will call in election monitors from universities in Europe and the United States.” Pretty brilliant. (And thanks to empeekay for the screenshot.)
CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson even sounds the trope about EVE being more of an emerging nation than an online game. Unlike Second Life, however, CCP appears to be able to run its world (which is in fact a game) in very much that fashion, whereas Second Life (which is not a game) is often run as whimsically as a mere diversion.
Regardless of the rhetoric, CCP is putting in place “an innovative new tool of community self-governance,” which is just what I was looking for yesterday. It remains to be seen, of course, how much teeth the oversight panel will have, but the mere fact that CCP is willing to let players get a closer look at how things are run is significant. (It remains to be seen how close a look they’ll get as well, I suppose.) Of course, this is in part a sop to players, an attempt to let them feel in control of something that is actually governed by CCP itself. But the fact is that it will give players a louder voice, at the very least, so that they might be heard before things progress to the messy level they’ve gotten to in EVE in recent weeks. And it’s a brave experiment in general. Congratulations to CCP.