EVE Online confiscates in-game currency related to third-party gambling sites

EVE Online has been plagued by the same in-game currency problems as Counter Strike, forcing makers CCP to act. (Image: CCP Games)

The maker of EVE Online, the massive multiplayer online (MMO) platform, is believed to have seized an estimated $620,000 of in-game currency as part of its crackdown on gambling, according to Polygon.com.

Several weeks ago, CCP Games announced changes to its new End User License Agreement would establish a zero-tolerance on the trading of in-game goods or currencies via third-party sites.

The announcement was intended to put an end to the proliferation of independent gambling websites that do a brisk trade in offering games of chance using the main game currency, ISK.

The move echoed that of fellow games developer Valve, which recently tried to shut down the multi-billion dollar gambling industry that had grown up around the designer weapons in its popular first-person shooter, Counter Strike:Global Offensive.

The weapons, known as “skins,” are attainable in the game but with varying degrees of rarity, which enables them to have varying financial value ascribed to them.

Epic Alliances

The fact that players were able to transfer skins to third-party sites for the purposes of engaging in lottery style games and esports betting, landed Valve in hot water, and it was forced to act after it found itself the subject of at least two lawsuits accusing it of facilitating underage gambling.

But for all the controversy surrounding skins and the third-party gambling sites, at least they didn’t fund a virtual intergalactic war, as was the case with EVE Online.

EVE Online allows players to explore a virtual galaxy composed of 7,800 star systems, while trading, mining, engaging in piracy and forming alliances along the way.

The galaxy and its half-a-million-plus subscribers are all supported on one server and, with so many players, the alliances formed, and the resulting wars, can be epic.    

Intergalactic War Funded by Gambling

When one such alliance, The Imperium, had become too strong for some tastes, upsetting the power balance within the game, one gambling site, I Want ISK, decided to bankroll a war funded entirely by mercenaries, paid with ISK that were profits from the site.

Needless to say, The Imperium was vanquished and a restless peace was restored to the galaxy when the faction was banished from the northern part of the map.   

CCP’s actions are more likely to be related to external pressure from authorities than a wish to punish I Want Isk for its warmongering, although it has specifically banned player accounts closely related to the site, as well as and seizing its in-game assets.