Friday, 30 August 2013

Gaming Juggernauts Are Finally Listening!

Gaming Juggernauts Are Finally Listening

 Yes ladies and gentlemen, the big, brash companies that think they can dictate to gamers what they want with little regard to anything else have finally learnt they can't. I'm not just talking about the E3 backlash that Microsoft received, but it also seems it has had a knock on effect with other companies reacting too.

Customer service economy

Believe it or not, customers have a bigger choice than ever and it is up to companies to stand out in order to receive their custom. More importantly, people demand companies that care about their customers and aren't just seen to want that big wad of cash consumers get at the end of the month. Organisations around the world are employing customer service specialists to improve their overall offering and as a result, improve customer retention.

                 Customer service consultancies such as ShankmanHonig have been sprouting up in 2013

Maybe we got it wrong

Microsoft's success truly went to their head. Being market leader gave Microsoft the temptation to start milking the industry for what it's worth with the Xbox One. They thought,  ''The market love us and we can do what we want'', Wrong! We all know how E3 went. Everyone was gobsmacked - ''how could Microsoft be so arrogant!'', they thought they could get away with it. What they didn't realise is that the gaming community is one of the largest online communities, and one of the most passionate. The gaming community were baying for blood. Customers want to be appreciated, not taken for 'mugs', Microsoft were scared, they had made a huge mistake.

We're Sorry

Since then, Microsoft have done all they can to reverse the massive amount of damage they caused to the Xbox brand, and to be fair to them they have been quite transparent about it. The list of changes are as follows:

  • Used games allowed
  • More powerful GPU
  • Doesn't have to be always online
  • You don't have to use Kinect
So Microsoft have tried to rectify all the negative points regarding Xbox One. But let's not kid ourselves, they still have work to do. They have created a base to work on and now they are starting to create goodwill within the gaming community. In August, Microsoft Studio's CEO Phil Spencer stated that their changes on the Xbox One are part of a "two-way conversation we have with our customers". There you have it, Microsoft are clearly stating they made a mistake and are working on providing better customer service. Recently, Microsoft have said they would offer indie game studios free Xbox one development kits - good PR that will appease the gaming community. If Microsoft can keep this going and become even more transparent with it's customers, they could be starting to turn over a new leaf.

EA Too!?

EA also seem to be pushing forward with a PR push to try and build a bridge with their consumers. EA's origin service has continually been found to offer abhorrent customer service and the gaming community generally see EA as one of the 'bad guys'

One of  the 'famous' EA online support chats.

In recent months however, we've seen EA act in ways that have surprised the gaming community.
Recently, EA participated in the Humble Bundle sale which gives consumers a selection of games in exchange for a donation of the persons choice.

EA offered all these games for charity, with EA potentially receiving nothing from them

Firstly, you have to applaud EA for this, over $10 million dollars were generated for charity and many gamers agreed that it was the best humble bundle to date. EA also launched the 'Great Game Guarantee' which allows people who download digital titles on Origin to return the game within 24hours. What this shows is that they are trying to create a better brand image.

The gaming community can hold a grudge for a long time, but with EA finally reacting and trying to build bridges with their customers, they are heading in the right direction.

So, have they learned?

So, it seems the gaming juggernauts have finally learned, you can't keep milking customers for all their worth, offer shoddy customer service and expect to get away with for years to come. Given the chance gamers will boycott. The arrival of the new console generation provided the perfect opportunity to do this. PS4 was a much more attractive option and as such, people saw it as a perfect time to jump ship. I think it woke up the gaming juggernauts and they finally realised - 'if we want to be here in the long-term, it's time to start taking our customers seriously.'

Do you think things are changing, or is it simply a PR stunt from these gaming giants? Let us know in the comments.

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