It’s All We Have

What gets rewarded gets done. You know this because your game has incentivized you to do insane things that you would never have done on your own, like camp the same spawn for days or wake up at 4am to play an online game at just the right moment. (Also, job, you get money for being there.)

Your decision as a consumer is essentially binary: buy or do not. (There is no try.) If you are willing to give them your money right now, your message is that this product is worth what they are asking for it right now. MMO players are famous for complaining endlessly about games and then sending the $15 anyway. Because hey, maybe they will take the money as a sign that you have hope rather than that you approve of where it is right now, right? Mmhmm. Do you have a lot of products in your life that you buy in the hopes that they will use your money to get better later?

Maybe they will get the proper interpretation, that you are unsatisfied but consider it the best option available. All companies have competitors, and a new competitor or product might steal your business if they do not improve. Mmhmm. Or are you one of the two dominant MMO player types: sticks to a game for years through thick and thin, or jumps from new shiny to new shiny in search of The Game? There is some margin at which they need to fight to keep some customers, but that is just triage, and almost all the vocal players are in the “no help needed” and “no help possible” categories.

Your only threat is your ability to take your money and leave. Yes yes, and take your guild with you, we know how important and influential you are. The key thing is that you must carry out your threats. Talk is cheap, and years of indignant forum posts have devalued it further. Threatening to cancel is not threatening. It is a low-cost signal, something anyone can do with no effort, and without actually canceling. You will think of reasons to give it another month or two. That’s how human psychology works: you will rationalize why you should keep doing what you are doing. It works the other way too: once you cancel, you will find ever more things that they must do to regain your patronage.

This is not complex game theory. You have one tool.

: Zubon

Bonus points if someone can find me that quote along the lines of “shut up and send me your $15 little man. I need to make payments on my Ferrari.” My Google-fu is failing me on an approximate quote search, and I cannot remember the site that archived fun bits like that. to commenter Afterhour, and having the exact quote led me to the wiki I wanted.

6 thoughts on “It’s All We Have”

  1. $15? Perhaps you were thinking of a certain movie ditty. (Of course, the Car Talk guys would just say that “someone needs to make a new boat payment.”)

    If there’s any reason people get caught up with posturing, it’s out of a sense of immediacy. Even if their expectations aren’t being met with a new MMO, they resignedly consider the title to be an unfinished masterpiece, or a grudging work in progress. The urge to be stimulated online isn’t different from ordering fast food: you can go elsewhere, and ever get better for less, but by staying, you’re giving in to impulse.

  2. “Shut up and pay me your $10 a month, little man. My Porsche needs some performance upgrades.”

    -Milo D. Cooper, Verant employee

  3. Put my money where my mouth is…

    Did it to LOTRO, Vanguard, EQ2, Age of Conan.

    But, I am willing to go back if they fix my issues…

    EQ2 has just recently made strides to fix their performance issues (my main gripe)…they deserve me trying again.
    Age of Conan – Performance fixed and new content added….went back..
    LOTRO – UI and Characters ugly as all get up…STILL not fixed…refuse to pay…deleted.
    Vanguard…STILL a mess overall…deleted.

    I agree…people need to follow suit.
    Have an issue? Cancel until they either fix it or move on.

  4. One of my favorite experiences was where money talks, was cancelling my account in A Tale in the Desert. One of the devs gives you his direct number to chat him up with why you left. Better than WoW’s guilt page.

  5. There’s not much that those of us who never bought in can do. It’s like not voting; how can the number monkeys discern between a protest vote, ignorance, or simple laziness?

    I have “voted” with my wallet to stay out of WoW, despite loving the ten day trial. I have taken a principled stand, but to Blizzard, I’m no different than a non-customer. I do not exist in their calculations precisely because I have not given them money.

    What recourse is there for those like me who would jump into the game wholeheartedly if it had a Guild Wars business model? I bought GW, but even that’s fairly irrelevant to Blizzard.

    Are paying customers the only ones with a say? What about $100 or so that Blizzard could easily make from me if they went with the GW model? I’d love to support the devs for their efforts, but I do not find sufficient value in the subscription model for me to participate.

    If they made the business changes I want, I’d send them the $100 at the drop of a hat. Until then, what?

  6. @Tesh who said “I do not exist in their calculations precisely because I have not given them money.”

    I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. You are part of some marketing number in Blizzard’s megacorp. However, current customers and recent customers are going to seriously trump over the untouched, available market you stand in.

    Your “market power” definitely increases a little by buying into games with business models you want to participate in, but your market power in Blizzard’s eye was small to begin with.

Comments are closed.