Eve Online is "not a computer game. It is an emerging nation, and we have to address it like a nation." This comes from the chief exec of the Icelandic company, CCP. It looks like nation, too, with a population scratching 200,000. Within these diverse groupings of characters, alliances are forged, each vying for control of the game.
The "game" in this instance has digital real estate, not unlike Second Life. What separates Eve, though, is the mode in which you gain real estate. Rather than float blithely through safe zones, such as SL offers, in Eve, while it does have neutral territories, is primarily made up of 0.0 space -which means zero security or policing. Alliances control systems and battle each other to expand them.
A far cry from Pac Man, yes?
Recently CCP, owners of Eve Online, has been accused of corruption. Some alliances are convinced that CCP rigged the game to favor Band of Brothers, one of the most influential groups in the game. A rival faction, Goonswarm, has even gone so far as to say that the Band of Brothers are engaged in espionage and theft of game secrets. Because of these accusations, it turns out that a majority of players do not trust CCP to run a fair game.
In response CCP plans to hold elections this fall: nine player-overseers will act as ombudsmen for the game's subscribers.
"I envision this council being made up of nine members," says the chief exec, "selected by the players themselves, where you announce your candidacy, and if you win the election, they come here to Iceland, and they can look at every nook and cranny and get to see that we are here to run this company on a professional basis.
"They can see that we did not make this game to win it."