Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Customer attitudes

Which of the following two attitudes do you think is best:

I went to download your game after I lost my copy which I bought a year ago, and can’t find the email, I have no idea how to get hold of the game I PAID FOR. Send me a new link for a game that I PAID FOR NOW, or I will forward the details of your company to the police and have you prosecuted for fraud.


Hi, sorry to be a pain but I formatted my PC and didn’t back up my email for purchasing your game, and need to re-download it. I bought Democracy 2 around November last year using this email address and the name Joe Smith. Is there any chance you could resend the original email? Thanks!

Which one do you think gets answered first?

I agree, it’s the second one, so why do so many people make their first port of contact with a business an angry aggressive and insulting rant? I have had people insult my intelligence (when they could spell it), call me a thief and a fraudster, say my games are shit and they could do better in a weekend, had people email me asking for tech support on a pirated copy, accuse me of being ‘in bed with the MAFIAA’ etc etc. It’s not like I’m the local drug dealer, or some kind of evil fascist dictator. I just make PC strategy games for a living and sell them online. Chill out people.

And why we are on such topics, I feel duty bound to point out something else that people seem to ‘not get’ about the internet. All websites are owned by someone. All forums have admins, all forums are hosted by someone paying the (often large) bills. I’ve seen so many cases of people crying out that “This is FASCIST CENSORSHIP!!!” when a forum admin or site owner removes comments that they want removed. This is just being silly. In a free country, you can say what you like, but you can’t demand that other people pay for a website for you to do it.

I mention this because today I removed a few posts from my forum that were completely silly and tired rants about all intellectual property being imaginary and arguing that the price of something should be it’s marginal cost (wrong!). I’m sick of reading such twaddle, especially from people who try to lecture me on basic economics as though I never did my degree in the topic…

Anyway, there are penty of sites like slashdot or digg were amateur economists can try and justify piracy on some shaky belief that marginal costs are everything and that content is manufactured by space pixies who don’t need food. I don’t need that stuff clogging up my games forums :D.

8 thoughts on Customer attitudes

  1. I know you’re not from the US, but anybody who’s worked retail over here knows the ol story of “Keep the Customer Happy at ALL COSTS”. It’s not a bad mentality, except that it’s become so well known that the Customer finds it easier to be upset to get what they want then pleasant.

    I worked a Tech Desk at a corporate store that sold Computers and Computer Equipment (which shall remain nameless)… when computers broke, they’d bring them in to the Tech Desk. Just being a lowly tech desk associate, I did not decide how much things cost, how long things would take, what I was allowed to help with right at the Desk.

    It would happen (to me, as a part time worker) roughly once a week where the “customer” was going to sue the manager, the company at large, and me (and once they were going to sue the mall too… that made me giggle). Me, a part time worker. This was their way of trying to gauge how much they could get, or gouge me into giving into their demands.

    Normally, instead of them just being a jackass directly to you for these things, they’d often try to get your manager. Since you are your manager, you’re somewhat on your own unfortunately.

    The nice ones are always few and far between unfortunately because of this mentality. Customers demand they get the service they expect, not the service that is rendered… only occasionally do the 2 intersect unfortunately.

  2. I’ve always gone with the latter approach and it works wonders for getting things. The former is only once the latter method has failed.

    “You have the right to free speech, and I have the right to not listen.” – me :)

    A site you might want to look at, I find it hilarious, It is a collection of stories about bad customers, with the store usually getting the upper hand.

  3. Wow what a mail. :D

    Thanks for sending me a new download of democracy a year ago when i somehow managed to delete it and couldnt find my email !

  4. You mean, there are actually people behind these email addresses!?!?! =P


    That website is halarious, definitly subscribing to it!


  5. Hello,

    I was doing a quick browse of Blues News and came across an article that you wrote. The main problem is that these “software pirates” are also known as Sociopaths. At least, that’s the American Psychological Association (APA) terminology for these people.

    The article basically consisted of you telling us that you, or the game industry, have somehow harmed these people and that you must pay by lowering your prices and other self-punishing behavior. The problem isn’t anything that you’re doing, it’s the fact that the Internet has turned into one gigantic nuthouse.

    I remember Ritual taking the same stance. They lowered their prices and their new Sin game was on the shelf for $20 or less. One of their guys blogged about how they were still witnessing the same behavior. Like you, they were also receiving technical support phone calls from non-paying “customers”.

    It would be some form of relief if this was the full extent of their behavior, but it is not. I have personally spoken to someone who justified taking their copy of a game back to the store, making a scene, and getting a new copy for the sole purpose of obtaining two cd keys in order to play online with his friend.

    If people really want to “help’ these people, more research should be done on why these people are this way, and why they’re attracted to the game industry.

    In any case,

    Take care.

  6. @ Ron
    Every industry has to deal with people like that. Restaurants have to deal with liars and fraudsters who make up a fake reason to try and get free food, things like “I was insulted by the cashier” or “I found this hair in my soup”.

    At an online casino, a customer had called their bank to make a charge back. A charge back is when the customer says the charge is false, and wants their money back, and the bank forces it. There was a 3-way conversation between the customer, the bank, and the online casino. The casino had already refunded the purchase to the credit card, so there was nothing to charge back, but the customer didn’t understand and was still complaining. At one point, he says “do I still get the money I won?”. The bank hung up on him.

    The game industry isn’t alone, it’s something everyone has to deal with.

  7. Ironically, I am currently in the position of being very tempted to send out an e-mail like the former. I bought a game yesterday (not a positech game), only to find it completely unplayable. The bug is caused by a patch that is available from the distributor, but the developers have an earlier (working) patch, so it’s likely the distributor is using a beta patch. The game comes pre-installed with the patch, so it’s not possible to play the older (working) version. Information on it is few and far between, and nothing from the companies involved. And the part that actually makes my blood boil? The patch was released in July 2007. Yes, 2007. It’s over a year old, and still not resolved. The bigger irony is I might have to turn to “pirate” versions of the game just to get an older version that works (though I would still have a legal and valid CD Key. Is it still piracy if I download from a pirate site?).

    Sorry, I just needed to vent a little. I also read your newer blog post. Positech is great, the games it releases are reliable and actually work. I can understand why some people can get heated and need to vent, but in my experience, Positech hasn’t earned that ire. You are the exception that proves the rule :)

  8. Hello Reliant,

    I just wanted to clarify that it’s the excuses and logic these people are using as a defense that make me wonder about their sanity. I’ve just seen the entire spectrum of anti-social behavior in this regard. Their “right” to have protection free games all the way to their “right” to keep using the cd key to a game they just sold on Ebay.

Comments are currently closed.