In December 2021, CCP Games announced that NFTs would feature prominently in EVE Online's Alliance Tournament XVII (opens in new tab), in prizes, raffles, and more. The studio said the implementation of NFTs was strictly a "measured bonus" for the annual tourney and employed a blockchain with "profoundly minimal energy consumption," but despite those assurances the reaction from the player base was strongly negative.
The pushback strengthened when CCP announced a crossover between EVE Online and Doctor Who (opens in new tab); fans were immediately unhappy about the tonal clash between the two properties, but in the eyes of some players it started to make more sense—and not in a good way—when EVE fans noticed that Doctor Who already has an NFT-based CCG called Worlds Apart (opens in new tab).
It's become enough of a situation that CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson has posted a message stating explicitly that while NFTs and blockchain technology are potentially cool, there are no plans to incorporate them into the game.
"Many of us at CCP have been following the new frontier that has been developing around blockchains and cryptocurrencies for the past few years. We’ve read your feedback and we also see what you see—blockchain tech has both a lot of untapped potential and a lot of work needed before being ready for EVE-scale games," Pétursson wrote.
"On that note, we have no plans to add blockchain technology into EVE Online’s global server Tranquillity for the foreseeable future. For the coming years, development for Tranquility will focus on building exciting new opportunities on top of the robust foundation that has been laid over the past two decades. While we remain intrigued by the technology, for us, NFT stands for 'Not for Tranquility'."
A statement from CCP CEO @HilmarVeigar regarding NFTs, cryptocurrencies and the future of EVE Online. pic.twitter.com/yTw4nyrVqAApril 11, 2022
Pétursson added that while CPP "will continue to push the boundaries of digital economies and virtual worlds" within the EVE property, it will do so "outside of [Tranquillity]."
NFTs have been a touchy subject in the videogame industry for a while now. Developers and publishers including Electronic Arts (opens in new tab), GSC Game World (opens in new tab), Team 17 (opens in new tab), and Troy Baker (opens in new tab) have been pressured to slow down or walk back their NFT ambitions, and the one major player who thus far seems determined to stick with them—Ubisoft—recently pulled the plug (opens in new tab) on its first attempt to incorporate NFTs into a major game, leaving players with nothing to show for it but in-game items with no value or utility. Given all that, and the uncertainty surrounding CCP's intentions regarding NFTs in recent months, it's not surprising that Pétursson would want to clearly and categorically reject them, for now at least.
EVE Online's famous Fanfest (opens in new tab) event is set to return for 2022, after being cancelled in 2020 and '21 because of the Covid-19 pandemic: It's set to run May 6-7 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Pétursson confirmed that he will be there.