The EIB Scam Feb 1, 2013 18:56:41 GMT -5
Post by Max on Feb 1, 2013 18:56:41 GMT -5
If you look closely you can see satan himself!
Yes, yes ladies and gentleman: a great crime, nay, injustice has been committed in the "persistent world online multiplayer game" EVE Online. The scam itself was fiendishly simple and as an added bonus it was entirely legal. Usually with high gain endeavours the risk is proportionate to the reward but in this case there was zero risk and the reward was fit for a king! The basic premise is that a player in the game set up this unofficial in-game bank, the EVE Investment Bank (EIB).
All you had to do is transfer some of your ISK, the in-game currency in EVE Online, to the EIB where it would be kept safe *snicker* and you would gain an interest on your deposit *further snickering*. So it’s really just like a real life bank minus any actual method of generating and delivering interest and no official legal obligation to that end. This is a commonlly used scam and is known as a Ponzi scheme.
The whole notion is so incredibly suspect that it would even set off Richard Nixon's bullshit meter which happens to be the weakest in existence. Seriously it's like giving your life savings to a drunken homeless guy just because he can write his name and the words "investment banker" on a piece of cardboard. In fact the whole idea was ousted as a scam from day one when Cally, the player name of the person behind the scam, started advertising the EIB on the official EVE Online forums.
Still despite the glaring signs that the EIB was a scam the human race demonstrated that it is still capable of carrying out stupendous acts of stupidity with hundreds of players investing large amounts of ISK in the EIB. The EIB quickly gained both supporters and detractors but it was the former that had wasted its time when Cally decided to stop messing around and cash in.
While the actual amount that Cally raked in hasn't been revealed most sources say that he got about 700 billion ISK. Like most virtual currencies ISK is commonly sold for real world money on sites such as eBay. Therefore to give some perspective to non-EVE players, 100 million ISK is worth ≈$23AUD, so 700 billion ISK would be worth ≈$165,310AUD! While many players have been calling the incident a scam it doesn't actually come into conflict with EVE Onlines Suspension and Ban Policy since it is entirely legal to transfer funds between players in the game and transferring said funds is the sole responsibility of the player involved.
However the selling of ISK on external sites is prohibited under section four of the Suspension and Ban Policy and many have speculated that the EVE Online administrators will be monitoring Cally's account for any signs of such activity (Signs such as large transfers of ISK from Cally to other players or, more simply, advertisements on eBay under Callys name, a practice which is also prohibited under section four).
You need an extra big ship to carry around all that ISK!
One interesting thing regarding the ramifications of the scam was brought up in a thread on the official EVE Online forum where people were discussing what they would do with 700 billion ISK (http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=381421). From many of the posts in that thread it would seem that many people have a fetish for destroying virtual economies, which is actually quite an interesting idea.
Whenever you have a game that involves a system where goods can be traded for either money or other goods you have a virtual economy. These virtual economies are pretty much identical to their real-life counterparts where the price of an item depends on its abundance. Of course one can influence or "play the market" and this is where the whole economic destruction idea comes into being. One interesting suggestion regarding economy destruction brought up in the thread was from a player called Fortior who put forward the idea of setting up a simple monopoly.
His idea was to go to a low end sector and completely buy up a certain valuable resource, such as Tritanium, and then use alternate characters to sell it at heavily inflated prices. Effectively you would have a monopoly and using the profits you could work your way to other sectors. This would effectively rebalance the entire game to the extreme detriment of other players. Is this sounding all too familiar to you? It should be because this is exactly what the oil companies are suspected of doing today. See children, learning can be fun!
With most large online multiplayer games that involves virtual currency a lot of hard work is usually involved in obtaining it, so I can understand how it can make people feel when they lose most or all of it from something such as account hacking or exploits (Believe me I know; I used to play WoW). But with a situation like the EIB scam I have absolutely no sympathy for those who lost their money.
Unlike most game scams that utilise specific exploits in the game, this one preyed on people's stupidity, so it's entirely their fault and the EVE Online administrators are not liable in any way because their terms and policies were not breached. Additionally I also have this to say to anyone who whines about being hard-done by a game: get a life. Seriously when a game starts to upset or anger you its time to stop playing. Sure I've gotten pissed off by games in the past but I'm an adult now and therefore I'm entitled to talk down to people (At least thats my theory and I'm sticking by it).
Speaking of punk kids I wish they'd get off my damn lawn and stop skating on the sidewalk! So yes what Cally did was terribly evil but it pales in comparison to even simple things like going shopping or getting the mail. The best solution to the whole situation is to just move on. Hopefully this incident will have wizened people up so they'll be able to avoid scams like this in the future.