In the last two years, PLEX prices have gone through a recognizable cycle (all seasons, northern hemisphere):
- they climb in the period after the summer expansion, probably as students return to school and their outside activities are replaced by EVE;
- they peak and hold in October or so as short-term investors make their buys to get their characters through the winter;
- there's a brief further spike after the winter expansion as some lapsed players return to the game to try out new features;
- there's a long fall through the winter as exams and school and work intrude on gaming time;
- they bottom out in April, a month or so before the release of the summer expansion; and,
- they jump a bit here and there through this period as long-term investors make their buys for the next year.
But prior to that first valley and peak in 2011, PLEX prices were actually pretty stable long-term, if two prior years of data can be considered "long term". Here's the proof:
So the PLEX cycle does break, and has broken before.
I bring up this moment as a bookmark because I feel like the cycle of the last two years is going to break in the coming year. I don't have any specific proof of it... just a feeling. That feeling is based on my sense that the EVE player base is becoming more and more "distilled": more dedicated long-term multi-alt vets being fed PLEXes by fewer and fewer newbies buying them trying to get a jump-start into the game. A close review of the data will reveal that PLEX volumes are inching slowly, steadily downward: supply is being reduced. CCP seems to be responding to this with more frequent PLEX sales and this will certainly help, slowing the trend.
But if I recall correctly, economics still have something to say about prices when supply is reduced.
Anyway, I might be wrong, but I wanted to bookmark this moment. I'll come back to it in four or five months after the winter "bottoming out" has either happened... or hasn't.
(1) There was also a recognizable December peak in 2010. It was 380 million ISK, if you can believe it.