[UPDATE] This story has been updated with CCP Games' comment on selling skill points to players in these value packs.
EVE Online has a long storied history of being, for the most part, completely player driven. This is especially true with the player economy, as each item and skill-point being sold in the game is meant to be completely player created. However, CCP Games is now, once again, selling value packs to get new capsuleers started, drawing ire from some of the game's more high-profile pilots.
Available on the EVE Online website, the Value Packs start at $9.99 and range to $89.99 depending on the pack you choose to buy. Each pack comes with some goodies to get you started, such as a training boost, PLEX to spend, Omega time in some of the packs and 250K skill points to help train the long queues which dominate most of EVE Online's skill trees.
Microtransactions are nothing new in MMOs, and this isn't the first time EVE Online has sold a pack like this on their store. CCP is limiting the purchase of each pack to one per account so players can't perpetually buy each and rake in the skill points, but that hasn't stopped some higher profile EVE players from speaking out against, what they perceive to be, a broken promise by CCP to its consumers.
Jin'Taan, a former member of the Council of Stellar Management and often contributor to MMORPG.com, posted a similar tweet, calling on the company for allegedly reneging on their promise to not sell skill points.
Shoutout to CCP going back on their word and never EoL-ing the concept of selling SP directly to players BTW. Really makes me trust the promises of CCP caring about the community and wanting to improve the game's long term health rather than just making money!— Jin'taan (@JintaanEVE) January 28, 2020
Some of the replies have speculated as to the role Pearl Abyss has played in the creation of these microtransactions, as many see the Korean company as encroaching on the independence of CCP Games. We reached out to CCP via email before the publication of this news article for comment on the allegations CCP broke a promise to the community, as well as the influence of PA on CCP to sell these style of microtransaction packs. While CCP didn't have a full comment in time for publication on the first part of the question, a CCP Spokesperson did answer the Pearl Abyss matter, restating that "CCP operates as a fully independent subsidiary of Pearl Abyss and these development decisions are entirely within CCP's purview."
It's important to note that not all capsuleers feel the same way, instead taking issue with the fact that the new packs have 1/4th the skill points versus the previously sold starter packs. And to some, this is a welcome addition as skill training in EVE Online can take weeks of real-life time to accomplish, and any boost they can get is a welcome addition.
[UPDATE] - CCP Games have provided a comment addressing the sale of skill points in EVE Online. Full comment CCP Grendel, CCP's Head of PR, is below:
“We began including Skill Points in our value packs back in 2019. The main driver for this was that we’ve learned over the years that not having enough Skill Points is a big challenge for players starting the game, and – as presented at various stops on our Invasion World Tour - tackling early retention was a massive focus for us in 2019, and still is in 2020. EVE is soon turning 17 years old and allowing new players to catch up with older players is one of the things that will set up EVE for its third decade.
Introducing these packs has helped, and will continue to help, a lot of new players close the gap with more established EVE pilots. We’ve received great feedback, both from new players and veterans, that these packs do help players kick off their career as Capsuleers in New Eden much quicker.
In 2019, we also bumped up the Skill Point reward for signing up via our Recruitment Program from 250,000 Skill Points to 1,000,000 Skill Points. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback due to this change and saw an increase in new customers coming through the Recruitment Program to start their journey in EVE.
In addition to us selling Skill Points in packs and increasing the signup bonus for the Recruitment Program last year, we’ve used Skill Points as rewards for various things such as Bonus Skill Point Weekends, Skilling Spree, Chilling Spree, Holiday Login Campaigns etc. These things have been extremely popular, and the main complaints we’ve seen for these are that there aren’t enough of them or that we’re ending them too soon! These events have been available to all players, as we know, our veterans also love Skill Points. Similar to these events being available to everyone, we also decided to offer the packs to our veterans because many of them want to enjoy a minor bump to their skill training.”