Capsuleer iPhone app for EVE ceases development, CCP responds

When it comes to useful apps for EVE Online players, Capsuleer is one of the most well-known and popular tools available. The app allows iPhone users to check their characters' skill training progress, the latest EVE news and other items of interest. Until now, Capsuleer has been developed as an entirely non-profit enterprise, with creators PyjamaSam and Roc Wieler running the servers for free and absorbing all of the development costs. At the 2008 EVE fanfest, EVE's developers CCP Games expressed great enthusiasm for the project. Executive Producer Nathan Richardsson even mentioned the app in his keynote speech, and several screenshots of it were shown off during a talk on mobile development.

Recognising that Capsuleer was reaching the point where free development was becoming infeasible, CCP flew the app's developers out to Iceland to discuss licensing arrangements. As EVE Online is CCP's intellectual property, the Capsuleer team would have needed to get a business license from CCP before charging for anything. The initial plan was to port Capsuleer to multiple platforms, including the Android OS and Windows Mobile. Features requiring access to a user's full API key, such as searching through assets or checking market orders, would be added to a new subscription service. A free version of the app would have allowed non-subscribed users to make use of limited API features, such as checking a character's skill training. With direct co-operation from CCP, additional features which are not currently possible with the app may also have been possible.

What went wrong?

CCP hoped to get in touch with the Capsuleer team to move forward on the project within a few weeks. According to Roc Weiler, "That few weeks turned into months, with little to no communication." After a year of waiting, the Capsuleer team sent a strongly worded email to every CCP contact they had in a last-ditch attempt to move things forward. In the email, CCP was given a final deadline by which to make up its mind regarding a business arrangement with Capsuleer. Regretfully, CCP did not respond, and the Capsuleer developers were forced to search for alternative ways to support the app's development.

Without coming to an arrangement with CCP, the Capsuleer team would be legally incapable of charging for Capsuleer or implementing any kind of subscription service. Business talks with the sympathetic chaps at MMM Publishing, creators of EVE's official magazine E-ON, initially went well. The team at MMM Publishing planned to buy the Capsuleer intellectual property in its entirety and market it themselves, perhaps hoping that their business license for EVE-related products might extend to cover the app.

Unfortunately, this deal also fell through. With no options left and no movement from CCP, Roc Wieler and PyjamaSam finally ceased development for the popular application earlier this week.The application's basic functionality should remain intact, but the servers used to deliver news and the app's support forums will be shut down on October 17th. As part of the app will no longer work, the team will also be removing the app from the app store. As time goes on and CCP modifies the EVE API, the app may also cease functioning.

When we reached CCP for comment, Executive Producer Nathan "Oveur" Richardsson had the following to say: "We're incredibly saddened to see Capsuleer leave, it's used frequently by ourselves as well as a huge portion of the playerbase and is a stellar example of the third-party applications in the EVE universe. Our internal progress with evolving the third-party landscape has had a number of complications but expect that within the year, we will have a more open application program for all third-party developers to more easily sustain and potentially monetize on their efforts for the playerbase."

This article was originally published on Massively.