- Tech Talk Tuesday: Blood Moon Pictures
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Amazon taking on the world
- Letterman's departure will reshape late-night
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Standing the Test of Time
- Rolling Stone magazine recognizes The Plaza Theatre as must-see attraction
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Social Media is like Sex to your Brain
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Cutting the Cord
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Is Gaming Dead?
- Blog: "Breaking Bad" creators teaming up once again, filming starting soon
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Red Thumb
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Cyber Gun
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Smartphone Crime Rings and More
- Morrissey to play in El Paso
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Awesome Tech News
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Tech You Shouldn't Buy This Year
- White House required to respond to Bieber deportation petition
- An unpaid bill leads to costly video game battle
- Tech Talk Tuesday: TVs for Super Bowl
- Tech Talk Tuesday: High Tech Office Pool
- Tour stop in El Paso for country singer Alan Jackson
- 'Hustle,' 'Gravity' lead Oscars with 10 nods each
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Is WIFI killing you?
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Sight for Sore Eyes
- Ft. Bliss: Boot camp to the stars of "Enlisted"
- Tech Talk Tuesday: New Year Resolutions
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Random Acts of Kindness
- 'Fast & Furious 7' delayed until April 2015
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Digital Privacy
- Keynote speaker for upcoming women's luncheon to be Rosario Dawson
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Digital Divide
- Autopsy: Actor died from impact, fire in crash
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Christmas Lights
- UTEP: Boy band One Direction officially coming to Sun Bowl Stadium in 2014
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Black Friday
- 'Brian' killed off of 'Family Guy'
- Tech Talk Tuesday: PS4 VS XBOX One
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Raiders of the Lost iPhones
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Robots
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Halloween App
- Tech Talk Tuesday: iPad Air
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Tech-tober
- Kim Raver and William Devane Return for more time on '24: Live Another Day'
- 15% of America thinks you are digitally irrelevant!
- Masterchef Junior series premiere kicks off with world’s smallest cupcake
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Blockbuster Entertainment
- Tech Talk Tuesday: 4K Resolution replacing HD... Already???
- Game Review: 'GTA V' triples the intensity
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Apple New iPhones
- Fox Fall Preview
- Apple expected to expand selection of iPhones
- Arsenio fulfills his dream with late-night return
- 'American Idol' picks Lopez, Connick as judges
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Kevin Spacey wants to put me out of a job!
- Living Texas legend Willie Nelson set to perform in El Paso
- The Cure set to perform at Don Haskins arena
- Tech Talk Tuesday: iCloud the Darkside of Sharing
- Affleck to play Batman in 'Man of Steel' sequel
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Our tech guy's secret gaming addiction
- Sony's PlayStation 4 to launch on Nov. 15 in US
- Tech Talk Tuesday: iPhone users get new government update
- Last season opener of AMC's 'Breaking Bad' big hit
- Tech Talk Tuesday: To Cloud or not to Cloud, that is the Question!
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Wedding Bliss with tech!
- Tech Talk Tuesday: Smartphones and the evilness behind them
- Japanese animation master Miyazaki bids farewell
- Fox Fall Preview
- Tech Talk: Have a High Tech Halloween
An unpaid bill leads to costly video game battle
Updated: Wednesday, January 29 2014, 04:33 PM MST
By: DERRIK J. LANG, AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Carl was asleep when the first shot was fired.
As he slumbered away in Costa Mesa, Calif., the 29-year-old banker's virtual space fleet was under siege early Monday morning in what's become the most destructive and expensive battle in the 10-year history of "EVE Online," the gargantuan online sci-fi video game.
"EVE Online" — with more than 500,000 players from around the world piloting starships, trading goods and engaging in galactic espionage — utilizes its own in-game currency, and Carl expects the damage from Monday's conflict to be the game equivalent of about $500,000 in real-world cash, based on data compiled from within the game.
The skirmish first erupted after a member of Carl's coalition missed a payment to protect an area that's been used as a staging ground for a war raging between Carl's Pandemic and N3 coalition versus CFC and Russian forces.
"Supposedly, it was set up for auto-pay, just like any other bill in real life, but either that didn't happen or the money wasn't in the wallet, and then everything just escalated out of control from there," said Carl. "The dust is still settling on that issue. Everyone is just focused right now on fighting to try to regain control of the system."
During Monday's encounter, more than 100 Titan vessels were destroyed. The megaships, which are akin to the Death Star from "Star Wars," are the largest ships in the game and are worth about $3,000 each in real-world money. The Titans also take months for gamers to build. That's months in real time: a lot of nights, weekends and days-off actually spent constructing the virtual warships.
Carl was awakened by a messaging app on his phone used by alliance members alerting him that their system B-R5RB was under attack by rivals. He wasn't scheduled to work in real life Monday, so he spent the entire day sending virtual ships into the fray. He said dozens of his alliance members took off work to join the fight, which is being waged by more than 4,000 players — and spectated by thousands more on the game streaming service Twitch.
It's an unprecedented battle unique to "EVE," which simulates a universe of more than 7,000 stars and whose virtual economy is linked to real-world money, unlike many other online role-playing games, such as "World of Warcraft" and "Lord of the Rings Online."
"I'd be lying if I said our servers weren't sweating a bit," said "EVE Online" spokesman Ned Coker of CCP Games, the Reykjavik, Iceland-based video game developer who created the online universe. "Allowing players free movement wherever they want in a game with over half a million players means for some pretty tricky technological requirements."
To compensate for thousands of starship captains battling each other online, Coker said CCP Games instituted what it calls "time dilation," which slows down the game's servers to about 10 percent of normal time, so players aren't dropped and their commands are issued in the order in which they were received. Carl said it has made for a massive but slow battle.
"In many ways it's a quintessential sci-fi experience, where thousands of people from all around the globe are waging a huge conflict that will have real repercussions on the politics, economy and social structures of a virtual universe," said Coker.
The real-world value of "EVE" currency is based on an actual exchange rate set within the game, but the primary basis for value in the game's virtual economy is the time and skill that gamers put into such concepts as the mining of minerals, the selling of goods and services, or the stealing of goods and money — just don't get caught.
However, if players want a shortcut, they can put real-world money into the game to buy "EVE" currency and equipment, as determined by the exchange rate, but the money can only be exchanged from real to virtual.
Meanwhile, Carl is optimistic his coalition will recover from the latest "EVE" upheaval.
"It looks like CFC is winning, but we're hoping now that all of our U.S. players are online, we'll turn the tide," said Carl. "Whatever happens, we'll keep going. 'EVE' is a universe full of grudges and constantly changing politics. If we were to lose, we'll rebuild. Then, we'll go back and start another war."