For followers of CCP’s EVE Online, the CSM (Council of Stellar Management) serves an obvious role. For those of us who are not up to speed however, here’s the gist: The CSM serves as a direct representation of the game’s player-base. As a sort of board of elected representatives, the CSM brings the most important issues facing the community to bear in front of the game’s developers. It’s their job to make sure what the players are worried about is addressed, and it’s obviously in CCP’s best interest to take heed of what issues the CSM brings forth and respond in kind.
All that said, near the end of last year there was a bit of a “brouhaha” in the EVE community over just how involved the CSM was in the development process of EVE Online. The CSM brings forth a set of issues to every single meeting they attend with the development staff of EVE. But as is now innately known by all members of the CSM and CCP, not every single issue the player-base brings forth can be addressed immediately. Due to the complexities of game design and schedules, it became a worry of the CSM and the community at large that their requests were going unheeded.
In response, CCP brought the CSM even further into the fold. Not only do they attend meetings on a more frequent schedule now, with members even being flown out to the headquarters, but the CSM is now officially a stakeholder in EVE Online and its production. What this means is that basically the CSM is just like the art staff, the PR staff, the community management, animations, systems design, and so on. In short, they’re a part of the development team directly. Sure they’re not salaried, but the issues they bring forth now have officially as much merit to the overall direction of the game as any full-time employee of CCP does.
For clarification on what all this means, I sat down with CCP’s own Pétur Jóhannes Óskarsson to chat about the CSM, their relationship with CCP, and where the two organizations can go from here.