At the beginning of April, we covered the latest scandal to rock MMORPG EVE Online, as studio CCP Games rather publicly removed a member of the Council of Stellar Management, accusing Brian “Brisc Rubal” Schoeneman of leaking NDA-bound information used for insider trading (with two alleged accomplices, Pandoralica and Dark Shines, who were also banned). As we noted at the time, the story blew up in part because Schoeneman had been previously spotlighted for his day job as a lawyer and GOP lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and because of his very public denials of wrongdoing.
A week ago the story too a much more bizarre twist, however, as CCP came out with a second statement suggesting it was “conducting an internal review to substantiate the evidence” and promising apologies and reparations for mistakes made in its initial proclamation.
Now, CCP has completely withdrawn the accusations. “Neither Brisc Rubal nor the other players implicated in this incident breached CCP’s confidentiality, the terms of the Non-Disclosure Agreement, or used privileged information to obtain an in-game advantage,” the studio has concluded today in its apology to both the accused players and the CSM and community.
“We take full responsibility for any confusion and mistrust caused by our initial assessment of the situation. After reviewing our assessment of the information on which these allegations were based and having spoken repeatedly with everyone involved, it’s now clear that our initial actions were based on unsubstantiated assumptions. While we were motivated by a desire to protect the working relationship between the CSM and the EVE Development Team with all due speed, had we taken the time to review the information with greater scrutiny, this incident could have been resolved without the disruption that has since occurred.”
While CCP Games says it’s working to unban the players and restore their account assets – as well as adjusting its own procedures for handling these sorts of issues – it does not clarify how exactly it came by its “initial assessment” in the first place nor suggest how any players or developers involved in it will be dealt with.
Schoeneman himself has thanked CCP for “doing the right thing” but still says he’ll be resigning from the CSM for now.
Since folks are asking, I've chosen to resign from the CSM. There's not much time left in the term, and I need a break after all of this. Maybe in the future I'll consider running again, but this has been tough for me and the fam and I could use the time off. #tweetfleet
— Brian W. Schoeneman (@BrianSchoeneman) April 25, 2019