CCP chief on layoffs, mistakes: "We had the mindset that we could achieve anything."

Rob Zacny at

A couple weeks ago you wrote a rather personal post to followers of EVE Online explaining your own role in some of the problems you've encountered with your community. When you wrote that, did you know you were probably going to have to shift focus as drastically as it seems you did the other day?

HP: I think ever since we released the [Incarna] expansion over the summer, we have had a process of introspection and analysis of how we are doing as a company. We're now really coming to the end of that process with this restructuring.

So you have an insight into my thoughts at the time in that letter. It was mainly about me and my involvement in all of this. I am very much accountable for what we have been doing as a company and where we are today. You see that in the letter. So that was sort of me owning up to my part in this.

In the wake of all this, what kind of changes are you making over at CCP? How has this changed you culture, how has this changed how you will run things going forward?

HP: I think it's very hard to predict how it will change our culture. That's an interview could have half a year or a year from now and we could reflect on that. Certainly going through such a large change will always have an effect on culture. It's just very hard to predict.

But I would say, going through this, that everyone at CCP is really focused on making a stronger company that is more able to go after its goals. And that's something that shines through.

So I think we will have a stronger culture, we will have more of a culture of accountability. That is something we have lost as a company as we have grown from success to success for the past eight years, since we achieved EVE Online, which was frankly almost an impossible achievement.

Having that game grow consistently for almost eight years, which I think is almost unheard of in our industry, we just had the mindset that we could achieve anything. We put in motion a very ambitious plan which we were not able to pursue. So I think I certainly have become less arrogant and more humble about what we can achieve, and focused the company on doing things we can achieve. And I hope our culture will align more with that, making sure we are accountable to our goals, to our customers, and to ourselves.

I'm interested to hear you say you'd lost a culture of accountability. Looking back, do you feel there were errors you were making along the way that your overall success was insulating you from understanding?

HP: Yeah, I think there were. Also, the company has grown very organically and it's grown very fast. We have had people move around in positions and situations where job functions have changed very rapidly, and it's been a challenge to maintain a very good structure. So a reorganization like this is very much to address what we could perceive as growing pains.

But when everything you do sort of pans out no matter how impossible it looks, that also just makes people less focused on making sure that we deliver on what we say, rather than just sort of trying to achieve it all at the same time. If that makes sense.