Friday, 1 November 2013

The Sky is Falling - PLEX Prices Drop

I've been saying for a while now that PLEX prices would drop soon and it looks like it's finally started. Buy prices have suddenly dropped from 590 - 610 mil to 575 mil or less nearly everywhere. Some of the more off the beaten path regions do still have higher buy prices but only for small numbers. Those will likely disappear quickly, unless I miss my guess, probably overnight.

That's in Hek, right next door in Rens buy prices are even lower. Time to log onto the Rens trader, right now!

PLEX prices historically tend to reach their highest point of the year in October or November and drop after that.

This is contrary to most other markets which (IME during the time I've been playing anyhow) tend to drop in price in the fall and reach their lowest point around the same time.

Over the next while we can expect PLEX prices to drop further and prices for everything else to eventually start going back up.

Many things could be behind this seasonal trend but the most likely culprits are students. Summer vacation ends and they go back to school. Exactly why is more difficult to say.

Some believe it's because with the students back in school they have less time to play. I don't know about that though, from my experience in other games, it's exactly the opposite. Students tend to game the least in the summer when the weather is nice and they're off school.

My theory is it's because as a group students are major suppliers of PLEX on the market (buying with real money and selling for ISK) and big buyers of other items with the ISK. In the summer they aren't playing as much so the supply of PLEX goes down while demand remains relatively high and prices go up. They aren't buying as much of anything else either so demand for everything else goes down while supply remains fairly constant and prices go down.

In late fall, after an initial "settling back into school routine" period both trends start to reverse. Prices for PLEX come down and prices for other things go up.

In both cases the market takes some time to adjust to the presence or absence of students. At the start of summer there are a lot of cheap PLEX on the market which have to sell off before PLEX prices go up. At the start of fall there are a lot of other items on the market for sale cheap, they have to sell off too before prices go up on them. That takes a month or two and only then do prices start to react significantly.

At any rate, it explains why PLEX prices go up in the fall while virtually everything else goes down. If someone has a better theory, I'd love to hear it.


  1. There is also a PLEX sale on right now, plus a few extra entering the market from those who purchased the Collectors Edition Box.

  2. Would guess the Somer Blink closeout situation to be the driver in the drop in prices. Seems a little too much of a coincidence. Spend $35: get 2 GTC and ~700M isk.

    1. It's 1 billion ISK per GTC now. Looks like Somer's in a panic and dumping ISK for dollars as fast as they can.

      That changes everything.

  3. Blame Somer! All their fault that plex prices drop *
    If I buy 2 CCP PLEX it costs me € 34,99
    Sell PLEX for 600m isk = 34m isk per euro.

    If I buy a 60 day GTC, convert to 2 PLEX, it costs me €25.54.
    Sell PLEX for 550m isk = 43m isk per euro.
    Get another 800 bonus from Somer afer isk buyout.
    Sell PLEX for 550m isk = 74m isk per euro.

    Or in my case: use the GTC to extend accounts, get 31m isk per euro spent as free bonus for using a third party and not buying from CCP.

    And for players like you it becomes cheaper to plex your account.

    * Don't blame SOMER.

    1. So do 2 GTCs really cost €10 less than 2 PLEX or is that a typo?

      Link please if it's not a typo.

    2. You can check for yourself. Visit eve account management and note PLEX pricing, convert to euro's. Visit Markee, change curency to euro's and check GTC pricing.

      Screenshots of CCP subscription/plex pricing in euro's at
      What are CCP dollar prices for subscription/PLEX?

  4. I really don't see how the Somer situation would cause a drop in PLEX prices. That means people are paying *more for game time, not less and getting *less ISK back in return too.

    Besides the price of PLEX dropped around the same time last year, yet Somer was in the RMT business and didn't get busted then.

    The PLEX sale, yeah that's probably a factor, but I don't believe it's the primary factor.

    Unless Somer was also buying and reselling a lot of black market PLEX and sitting on a big stockpile that they're dumping now. Dumping a large enough stockpile definitely would effect the price.

  5. Ok, it seems Somer has put on a 1 billion ISK credit per GTC for purchasing GTCs from them. That changes everything!

  6. I really think you have the market backwards for PLEX and students - students (at least here in the US) don't have a lot of disposable cash, what with not necessarily having a paying job and needing to pay for their studies. On the other hand, what they do have is analytical skills to make money effectively if they care to, and time to do it in. Furthermore, they're all going back to school, so their summer jobs are no longer supporting them. This would drive the price of PLEX up as the speculators liquidate their buffer.

    Maybe it's different for European students, but, for US students, they've already been in school for two months by now, so anyone who got 3-6 month subscription deals sometime in the summer will just now be having to re-up their subscription, and not having to pay more real-world $ for it looks appealing. So, I really think students are net consumers of PLEX.

    If you have an equally convincing story how students are net suppliers of PLEX and them going back to school raises the price of PLEX, I'm interested in hearing it.

    That said, as noted elsewhere, I think the reason the PLEX price is dropping right now is that SOMERBlink is (depending on who you believe) either trying to get an operating cash buffer for its servers or RMTing everything it can before it can't anymore.

    1. Not all students are poor. The rich ones blow a lot of money on gaming habits and they like to use RL cash to shortcut in-game grinds.

      Not only that but even the poorer ones can find 20 bucks for a PLEX if they really want to. A lot of poor students buying 1 PLEX each adds up to a lot of PLEX.

      I know for a fact something similar happens in other games. In the summer students go on vaction and get more involved with outdoor activities. Many guilds would wind up recruiting temporary replacements to cover for the missing students for 3 - 4 months (2 months of summer another 1-2 months back to school adjustment period).

      Though I never got involved with it myself I knew several people who bought characters and gold, not as a business but for their own use. Guess what? Practically every one of them was a student or fresh grad.

      That's in North America, maybe Europeans are different about that kind of thing but I doubt it.

    2. Actually I am saying students are net suppliers of PLEX. They supply PLEX to the ISK market.

      It's basic economics, supply and demand. When supply goes up without a matching increase in demand the price goes down. When supply goes down but demand remains relatively constant the price goes up.

    3. So, if students are net suppliers of PLEX, where is the increased demand in the fall coming from? Are you suggesting that students don't become net suppliers of PLEX until fall and winter holidays that give them time off? (... because I had tons of time to slack off in college.) Otherwise something else is generating an enormous demand for PLEX to soak up all the extra supply from the students.

      I'm not too surprised that recent grads bought characters and gold, though... suddenly they have money!

    4. In the fall the *supply* of PLEX on the market goes up and prices comes down. It doesn't happen immediately, there is some lag time while students settle back into the school routine again and the supply on the market builds up.

      In late fall prices start dropping because supply is up. People who didn't buy PLEX from the market before because the price was high decide the price is good enough and start buying again.

    5. But... that's not what we actually see.
      Here's PLEX market history:
      All summer, the sell price was stable at around 565M +/- 7M for PLEX... since, like, June. (In June there was a PLEX sale that blew out the entire buy portion of the market and drove the sell price down from 575M to around 560M.) In the second week of September, the price starts going up again and kept going up until pretty much last week.

      So, if you're using the technical sense for fall, I suppose, since the fall equinox is September 24 and the winter solstice is December 21, PLEX prices start going down in the fall, but it took a good month after that for prices to stop rising. What's your explanation for PLEX prices to start rising around September 10? Does supply of PLEX collapse for two months at the beginning of the school year? If it doesn't, where is the new demand coming from? Prices start to go up at the beginning of the school year (which I call "fall" even though it isn't properly that) and this year didn't even level off until after Halloween.

    6. I've repeatedly said there is lag time involved. Supply builds up or depletes slowly over months before prices react significantly.

      Don't put too much stock in price history graphs. All they really show us is the average price of the ones that ARE NOT selling. Price history tells us virtually nothing about the prices anything actually moves at in volume.

      When it comes to supply and demand what really matters is how many NEW PLEX are entering the market for the first time and how many are being bought and permanently removed from the market. NOT how many are on the market or how many were bought just to be relisted higher.

      It's a simple theory explaining an easily observable long term (yearly) cycle. It was never intended to explain every blip and bubble in the market nor to predict exact dates or prices levels when things change.

      As anyone who buys PLEX regularly can tell you prices tend to be at their highest of the year around the end of Oct, then drop and eventually restabilize at a lower level.

  7. Late response to Ranamar. I meant to say something about this earlier but didn't have the time to look for a good reference at the time and then promptly forgot all about it until now.

    I don't know where Ranamar lives or when they consider fall to end and winter to start around there but going by the definition most commonly used in the northern hemisphere winter is considered to be the 3 coldest months of the year, Dec, Jan and Feb. Local definitions can vary somewhat but it's still pretty close to that in most places. Around here (Saskatchewan, Canada) for example a lot of people would tack an extra couple weeks onto either or both ends which makes sense since the snow's often here to stay in mid November and isn't gone until mid April.

    Meteorological Winter that is which is based on expected weather patterns, unlike Astronomical Winter which is based on soltices and equinoxes.

  8. Thank you for the your post.