EVE Online: Commissioned Officer Edition
The video games retail channel is still not good at selling MMORPGs.
Yes, they can launch a new game. But their business is set up to launch new hit games, then take the extra boxes off the store shelves, ship them back to manufacturers, and put other new boxes in their place. Some MMORPG publishers can also use the retail channel to distribute paid expansion packs but EVE Online does not charge extra for expansions – everyone gets them at no additional charge. Naturally, this ruins them for the retail channel.
But we wanted the advantage of a presence in the retail channel. So in early 2009 we partnered with Atari to launch a new boxed edition of EVE Online called the Special Edition. It had the Interbus Shuttle as an exclusive in-game item – a necessary tradition for retail box editions of MMORPG.
This winter we are replacing that edition with another limited edition. The new box is called EVE Online: Commissioned Officer Edition and is intended to be available in the marketplace for a little less than one year. It shipped in Canada, the US, and Mexico on October 19 and it ships in the UK and Germany on December 3rd. Other launch dates for other countries have not yet been determined.
This edition has been specifically designed to help a new player get up-to-speed. The exclusive in-game item this time is a booster called the Cerebral Accelerator. It boosts a number of player stats in a very meaningful way, but only temporarily. The Cerebral Accelerator checks the age of your character, counted from character creation date. It is designed to boost your first 30 days in EVE Online. If your character is 14 days old when you use the Cerebral Accelerator, you will only get 16 more days of boost.
Well, almost true. We promise you a buff for your first 30 days in the game but we actually have the device set up to automatically give you a few days of buffer. The item really times out at 35 days of age. After this time, the buff is no longer active. But the few extra days are an added bonus and not what we are promising you when we sell you a box.
But it’s a booster? What if you get killed? If you are podded within your first 30 days, just petition the GMs and they will graciously restore your booster for you. If you’re a new player, it’s a great way to learn the customer service petition system.
Unlike last year’s Special Edition, this version does not contain an electronic time code. This version uses a CD Key system. It cannot add game time to an existing account. It only starts a new account or confirms a trial account.
In summary, this edition is designed to help a new player get up-to-speed in EVE Online faster than ever before. The in-game item isn’t useful for an experienced player, but it’s very helpful for a brand new player with a brand new character. We think it’s the best way yet to start in EVE Online and we look forward to hearing your reactions.
Sneak preview: there will be a new boxed edition late next summer and we are even contemplating a collector’s edition as well this time.