A short post, as I slept past noon today, putting me back on Chicago time. For those wondering what my RMT research entails, most of my time is gathering raw transaction information from Player Auctions.
For those interested in numbers, I recorded 4276 transactions involving the sale of either ISK, skill injectors, or PLEX in 2016. So far in first 94 days of 2017, I've recorded 2083. My data is only final through 5 March, however. Even so, I think I can state that the introduction of a free-to-play element to EVE Online brought with it a big increase in illicit RMT activity. For those who follow real money trading throughout the gaming industry, the fact that RMT is up after the introduction of F2P is no surprise. I just happen to have some numbers to back up that belief.
I am not the only one tracking illicit RMT within the EVE universe, and I talked with a couple of them last night. Some can lay out cases involving market transactions that look dodgy as hell. Others just see incongruities in the market and wonder if the black market is responsible somehow. Basically, I'm talking to people who are a lot smarter than I am but lack the out-of-game component to the transactions I possess.
Tracking down information on the illicit RMT trade doesn't involve travelling to exotic locations like Reykjavik to meet face-to-face with like-minded souls in dimly lit bars. Nora's is pretty well lit. Like real world intelligence collection, I do a lot of unglamorous grinding. But sometimes I do get to learn a bit more of what is going on in the world of EVE RMT. After last night I have a better idea of what analysis I need to do and the types of information I can blog about that would help some of these people understand what they are seeing. I also probably need to take a couple hours here while the wind is still howling and dig through the data and follow-up on a lead. I think a major ISK seller could soon go out of business, if it's not busy closing shop even as I post this piece, and I'd like to know if I'm right about which shop is involved.