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Democracy in EVE

Posted by Keith Cross on Jun 07, 2007  | Comments

Democracy in EVE - EVE Online - MMORPG.com

CCP has announced in an article in the New York Times that they will be forming an oversight committee made up of democratically elected representatives chosen by the EVE Online player community. This is in response to recent allegations of favoritism and unfair practices among some CCP staff. This new level of democracy and transparency mirrors real world efforts to combat corruption in emerging democracies, and represents a first among MMOGs.

The kingdom is in crisis. After pledging to treat its citizens equally, the government stands accused of unfairly favoring one powerful, well-connected political faction. Many citizens have taken to open dissent, even revolt, and some are threatening to emigrate permanently.

This specter of corruption has emerged most recently not in some post-colonial trouble spot but in the virtual nation of an Internet game called Eve Online (population 200,000) where aspiring star pilots fight over thousands of solar systems in a vast science-fiction universe every day.

So now, in a sociological twist, the company that makes Eve, CCP, based in Iceland (population 300,000), says it will tackle the problem the way a democracy would. In what appears to be a first, the company plans to hold elections so that players can select members of an oversight committee.

The company will then fly those players to Iceland regularly so they can audit CCP's operations and report back to their player-constituents. And taking cues from transitions to democracy in the developing world, CCP says it will call in election monitors from universities in Europe and the United States.

"Perception is reality, and if a substantial part of our community feels like we are biased, whether it is true or not, it is true to them," Hilmar Petursson, CCP's chief executive, said in a telephone interview. "Eve Online is not a computer game. It is an emerging nation, and we have to address it like a nation being accused of corruption.

"A government can't just keep saying, 'We are not corrupt.' No one will believe them. Instead you have to create transparency and robust institutions and oversight in order to maintain the confidence of the population."

Read the full article in the New York Times here.

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