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Economic crisis may force CCP Games to leave Iceland

James Egan

The global financial crisis is hitting many companies and individuals very hard. This is especially prevalent in Iceland, home of CCP Games -- the developers of the sci-fi massively multiplayer online game EVE Online. The collapse of Iceland's banking system and currency has been devastating to the nation. "Icelanders are reeling from the shock of having everything they knew virtually disappear overnight," Valur Gunnarsson reports from Reykjavik for The Guardian.

Despite these economic woes, Hilmar V. Pétursson, the CEO of CCP Games, gave assurances all is well with the company back in October. He's stated that CCP is "well isolated" from the banking crisis, that their holdings and assets were diversified enough (due to partner relationships in different parts of the world) to stave off the ruin that many other Icelandic companies are facing. But there's a potential downside to that diversification: restrictions on access to foreign currencies have gone into effect in Iceland. Specifically -- as it relates to CCP Games -- on foreign investment coming into the country. Are these restrictions enough of a hassle that CCP Games would ever need to leave Iceland?

The Guardian article on the state of the Icelandic economy touches upon this idea. It frames the situation in terms of individual Icelanders becoming overwhelmed by the financial crisis and choosing to leave their country behind for the chance at a brighter future, elsewhere. Could organizations be forced to make similar choices?

Dr. Eyjólfur Guðmundsson is the Lead Economist for CCP Games. He generally studies EVE's in-game economy, but clarifies the company's real-world financial picture for Valur: "To make new games, we need foreign investors...the present currency restrictions are putting us in a straitjacket. We are in talks with the government, but if we can't let capital in, we might be compelled to leave Iceland, even though this would be against our wishes."

It's still too soon to say whether or not CCP Games will need to relocate their headquarters to another country, but it seems to be a possibility at this point. See The Guardian's "For richer, for poorer: the struggle to survive after banking collapse" for more on the situation in Iceland as it affects CCP Games and EVE Online.

[Via Broken Toys]

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