In recent years, lotteries has become increasingly popular in EVE. One of the reasons is the ability for services to raffle ships, modules and more so that players aren’t necessarily paying the market price. In some cases the player really ‘wins’ a rebate of – say 90% (depending on the lottery slots).
One of the providers of this service – known as “Somer Blink” – has recently undergone investigation by CCP. Some of the statements they made during recent promotions combined with some of the mechanics they looped their clients into sparked questions which lead to Blink being banned.
Lets take a recent example of what this service is doing ordinarily.
A “Blink” opens for a ship with a buyout price of ISK 10.8 Million (a faction frigate). Each ticket cost ISK 2 Million and there are only 8 open slots. Each slot is filled and the “blink” is over in 8 seconds. As the lottery is completed, you actually have a quite good chance of winning. Odds 1/8 is not bad at all.
The service then makes a small profit for each item they list (usually expensive ships). In the case above, the profit listed is roughly ISK 5 Million. The winner has then taken home a ship worth +10 Million ISK for just 2 Million. A market price rebate of ISK 8 Million or ~80%. Not bad for a 1/8 chance.
Some of these profits are then flipped and returned to players in “Credit Blinks” – lotteries of in-game money – while some profit is kept. Keep in mind that real money is required to run the website and pay the bills. CCP doesn’t allow RMT’ing (converting in-game cash or items into real cash).
As a possible turn of events, the website with a lot of clients (and returning visitors) then can use the services promotional link to purchase game time – purchased at CCP, and facilitated by another third party game time shop. For each purchase, the website gets a bonus – higher sales = higher bonuses. These funds can then be channeled to fund the website, but it does require people actually using the link to buy game time.
Somer used Markee Dragon as a store and through API verification CCP was able to loop clients purchases at Markee Dragon to the Somer Blink clients accounts, providing them a reward in the form of “credits” for the website, as well as the traditional in-game funds that are required to purchase a PLEX. While receiving in-game funds for the item (PLEX) is not in any way illegal and neither is purchasing the game time through a 3rd party selling website, rewarding the sellers with out-of-game funds does violate the EULA and as a result, this was announced.
In the real world, the exchange of two currencies is known as an FX, or Foreign Exchange deal. For example, you can exchange Euros for Dollars at a rate stipulated by the world’s economy. Some games with virtual economies do have an exchange of sorts that is strictly managed and governed by the terms of service and rules designated by the games’ creators. However, when those rules are violated with trade for in-game items and special bonuses outside of the game which are not otherwise obtainable for regular players through standard means, action must be taken.
Since the announcement, Somer has made public a series of email correspondences from CCP, which – while valuable in the sense that it provided insight into the process – in doing so did violate the EULA further.
Due to the series of EULA violations, CCP incurred a ban on Somer on all accounts.
< Source >