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

Rob Zacny at

It does, but to play devil's advocate for a moment, couldn't you also say that hubris is also what enabled CCP to enjoy this string of unlikely successes and growth? Are you at all concerned that having burned your fingers these last months, you might over-react and become too cautious, and betray the values that got you here?

HP: That's absolutely a risk in this, but it's still -- I --

Having gone through this path, we just became way too confident in ourselves. To the point of me calling it hubris and arrogance. And that's not a good place to be in. It's fine to be fearless, and doing things which are intrepid and pioneering, as we have done, but we just took it too far. And obviously the challenge is that we might pendulum, and go too far the other direction. But I don't think that's going to happen. We have learned our lessons.

We are going to restructure the company and make it stronger. And we will still do amazing things. But we just won't try to do three amazing things at the same time. And you could even argue we were doing four amazing things at the same time. That doesn't mean we won't achieve amazing things. We will just go about them in a more sensible fashion.

Just to clarify, what would you say is the fourth amazing thing?

HP: So at the same time we were making Eve Online, Dust, WoD, and we were making a core technology platform powering all of this, which is seen in the form of Incarna, which you have seen with the character creator we released in January. It's an amazing character creator and a lot of people have applauded us on having achieved the impossible with that.

But then we had to cut corners when it came to the June release of Incarna, where we released one room instead of releasing everything that was planned. And that is just because executing on such a big plan in such a big way made it difficult to predict timelines and deliver on targets. We were not as laser focused on it as we should be. That's really the realization.

I know over these last months your fans have had an increasingly contentious relationship to a lot of the moves CCP were making. You put that down to poor communication and perhaps rolling things out before they were ready. As strain formed between you and your community, was division forming within CCP as well? Was morale starting to become an issue?

HP: Well, there were certainly a lot of disconnects within the company, where people had information but they were not making the decisions. And people making decisions did not have information. And as a result, we've gone through this restructuring to make sure we don't make those kinds of mistakes again. So there certainly, people were not agreeing with the direction of the company, and they were not really being heard on that. And CCP was, frankly, more preoccupied with executing on a big strategic plan than on adding product value to EVE.

And now we're correcting that. Our core business has hurt for our ambitions on other fronts, and we need to rectify that. A lot of the disconnect you were seeing over the summer was the company having a large strategic ambition and being more focused on that rather than adding value to EVE. And that's really what we're going through now.

You said that people with information could not make decisions and people making decisions lacked information. Can you give us an example of a disconnect that in retrospect you should have resolved?

HP: Yeah, I think ship-spinning is a great example. By introducing Captain's Quarters, and basically forcing that to be enabled, we basically removed a feature which is referred to as ship-spinning: being in your hangar and watching your ship. And people warned us about this. Both inside the company and in the Eve community. And no one really perceived the emotional connection that Eve players have with that feature of Eve. And I think that's a great example of disconnect which we have now corrected. We released ship-spinning back to Eve this week, and we have seen a lot of positive reaction to that going out. So even though it seems like a small thing, it is not.

And there were people at CCP who knew that. And there were people in the community who knew that. But the people making the decisions still made that decision. So that's an example of disconnect.