EVE Online studio CCP Games has been acquired by Pearl Abyss, the Korean developer of the fantasy MMO Black Desert Online. Pearl Abyss said that CCP will continue to operate its existing studios in Reykjavik, London, and Shanghai independently while its "extensive development and publishing expertise" will be integrated into current and future Pearl Abyss projects.
"CCP is a seasoned publisher with over 15 years of digital distribution experience and know-how. They have done an incredible job of engaging and maintaining their playerbase, which we aim to learn from and hope to integrate natively into Pearl Abyss’ general practices across all our games," Pearl Abyss CEO Robin Jung said in a statement.
"I am confident CCP’s reputable IP and expertise in global publishing will help reaffirm our company’s dedication to developing and servicing the world’s best MMORPGs."
"Pearl Abyss is a fast-growing company with lots to offer in terms of technology, capability and vision," CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson said, describing himself as "an avid player" of Black Desert Online. "I believe our two companies have a lot to learn from each other. We are very excited to join forces with them and achieve great new heights for our companies, our games and—above all—our players."
Whether those players share Pétursson's optimistic outlook is an open question. EVE Online is far from the biggest MMO on the market, but it has a intensely loyal fanbase thanks largely to its uniquely hands-off approach to MMO management. That can occasionally lead to some ugly places, but it can also result in brilliant stories that you're just not going to get from any other game. Something cool might have happened in last night's WoW raid, but this guy spent a year planning and executing a masterful plan of revenge (opens in new tab) that annihilated what was once the game's most powerful alliance. That's not an experience you're going to get anywhere else—and the possibility that Pearl Abyss could start messing with that formula is bound to make some players a little nervous.
There's also the concern that this partnership could lead to increased monetization, too. EVE Online did away with its mandatory subscription (opens in new tab) years ago but has slowly been adding various optional microtransactions to varying degrees of hand-wringing—a feeling the western Black Desert Online community (opens in new tab) knows too well.