This is both a video topic I covered on stream and something I’ll dive into in this article. If you’d prefer to listen, you can find the video over on YouTube.
Gaming companies, at least the majority have had a really poor job in providing support to it’s customers. From Blizzard restricting what support staff can and can’t do to companies paying the lowest dollar for a call center that has no real power other than to listen to you complain. Now a days more often than not they’ll not come with a telephone number or an email. Effectively they provide no support for the Games as a Service products they have been so desperate to release to expand the life cycle of a game and hold back content that should have been in there … in the first place. Developers rely solely on updates which usually come every few months. But if you have an actual problem? You’re out of luck. Heck some of them will even direct you to the support services of companies like PlayStation or Xbox which have nothing to do with it. Say, you have a problem with Call of Duty, they actually tell you to contact PlayStation like they somehow have any ability to deploy bug fixes and fix server issues.
I think, enough is enough. As someone that’s been supporting a B2B SaaS Product, the thought of us closing down our ticket desk, support phone number and telling our customers, go follow our twitter would get me laughed out the industry. Game companies are obviously different because you’re dealing with a different customer base. It’s a bunch of gamers. Some kids, some kids pretending to be adults. But that is your customers. If you are happy to take their hard earned $60 sometimes more once monthly subscriptions and in-game transactions are out the way, you can listen to their feedback. It’s unforgivable that these companies treat their customers like muck on a pair of shoes. If you don’t want to get into the industry of hearing complaints and things going wrong, get out of the IT Industry and especially the software development industry.
Before I get any further, I do want to state there is some fantastic companies out there that provide great support. I’m all for modernizing support and doing it through social media, but you need to provide that at an adequate level. The Pandemic has shown who truly doesn’t have a grip on their staff. With warnings everywhere that support levels might be higher than usual and they might not have the staff…. how? It’s a support role, it can be done in the bath tub or on the M25 commute at the side of the hard shoulder. I’m not going to pretend like I know their process and I know how it works. But what I know is it doesn’t work right now. Activision provide you a few options. 1. Ask the Activision forum, great a bunch of people having the same issue as me all arguing about it, that’ll go well. 2. Is check support articles and number 3 is ask an “Activision Ambassador” Whatever the hell those people are, they aren’t open on a Sunday apparently…. a global 24/7 Gaming empire shuts on a Sunday. Okay.
I think there’s a few things that companies should be REQUIRED to provide if they’re trying to provide a service to business or normal customers. It isn’t up to the law to do this, it’s us as consumers that should take the boot off our heads and realize that if we stop buying their products, they’ll need to tell their shareholders they messed up and will be required to give in to the demands of their customers in order to make money. It’s capatalism and we have as much power as they do, as long as we work together. Companies should have to:
- Provide a toll-free phone number that people can phone and reach a REAL person which can take details of the complaint with a reference number at the end so you can see about updates.
- Provide an email address so you can email evidence and help staff diagnose issues.
- Provide a business address which can be visited. For some reason if I get a faulty washing machine or other appliance. I pack it back up in my car, bring it back to the shop and explain why I want a refund. Games are excluded from that process, to the point where most times the public isn’t allowed in these offices or they can’t deal with these requests…. why? Again, they treat their customers like they have 0 rights to actually get things resolved.
If these gaming companies are going to cut out the middlemen like Game stores and keep all the profit for themselves, create their own launchers and take over your computer with intrusive anti-cheat software, then the least they can do is listen to your complains. Process your refund and answer why they ship poor products and refuse to take feedback on board. The law should be involved, but let’s be honest, who’s really going to take an upset gamer seriously. Most of the internet always laughs whenever gamers have issues. There’s always something more serious going on, however peoples hobbies are important to them, especially slimy companies getting away with abusing consumer rights. Australia usually always has a case going regarding x Company doing something bad, here’s a fun one!
In my experience, whenever you need help, want a refund or just want to get your game fixed game companies make the process as hard as possible because I believe they hate the customers that they service. They know that 13 year old Timmy is going to phone up wanting free v-bux, they know the service will be wasted on pointless queries that isn’t their fault. My issue comes with the fact that it’s only gaming companies that seem to get let away with not helping their customer base. Self-service is what it is all about these days but how does self service actually get issues resolved? I’ve written about issues such as the Call of Duty Out of Memory error that still isn’t fixed. I should be due a refund because that game still doesn’t work yet I had to fix it using my own experience and time. I don’t have an option to get that resolved. Needless to say that they usually deny refund requests after 2 hours. How is 2 hours an accurate representation of anything. Just because I managed to wash my clothes for 2 hours before my machine broke doesn’t mean that I’m now not due a refund. I still have rights and I still usually can get a replacement, the issue fixed or a refund. Gaming Companies have been ripping profit out of the industry and back towards their investors for years now. I opt that we demand changes to how they treat customers and show everyone a bit of respect. It’s the least they can do when they jack up the prices, demand monthly payments and hide everything behind in-game transactions.
I expect some of you won’t agree. If you don’t comment below and I’ll address any concerns. This isn’t directed at indie studios by the way. They usually give a damn when people buy their products and actively talk to the community in a fantastic way.