Thought of the Day: Addressing the whole of the player base

I mentioned earlier than Bioware apologised for the fact that their latest competition/ promotion was open only to people in some US states, and not the rest of the world.

I think the basic concept of the Bioware Bazaar is harmless enough, although you wouldn’t know it from the reaction. Because no company EVER encourages customers to spam twitter and facebook in return for prizes, do they? (I’m thinking of those companies who got everyone spamming retweets in return for a chance to enter a draw for free iPhones or some apple related prize.) Frankly, if it’s going to happen (and it is), I’d rather see spam about games I like.

But it does raise the issue, why should companies treat their whole player base the same? And when are smartphone users who don’t have iPhones getting an apology from all those MMO developers who have special apps for iPhones but not any of the rest? (Hint: that’s almost as Americanocentric as anything Bioware did.)

7 thoughts on “Thought of the Day: Addressing the whole of the player base

  1. The problem is local laws for these sweepstakes-like things that companies do. I’m sure your laws on contests are different in the UK than they are here in the US, and they’re generally considered state-level matters here so they vary greatly by state. Over here, we’re used to hearing or reading something like “void in Texas, New Jersey and where prohibited” (just to make something up) in the “fine print” of a contest.

    I imagine it’s a real minefield to come up with a contest that would be legal and consistent across even the US and EU, to say nothing of Australasia or the rest of the world.

    • It is doable, and there are legal agencies who specialise in this type of work. But really what I mean is having some kind of online event that everyone can join in, wherever they are.

      We are also very very used to games having offers that are aimed purely at the american market. Anything which requires you to buy something or buy at a shop that isn’t available here, for example.

      It’s not that they can’t do that, obviously they can. But a game that was actually marketed to us would get a lot of love locally.

      • They do things like this because it’s cheap though. They aren’t going to pay money to navigate through the EU’s laws because it defeats the purpose of cheap buzz.

        I’m not sure what kind of promotion they could do to involve people worldwide.

  2. There is no obligation or need to treat the playerbase equal. But offering freebies only in one area or gender-specific is going to unleash a shitstorm of the parts of the community who are not eligible.

    Residents of Florida and New York can’t participate in the Bioware Bazaar. Which pissed them off, too.

    Think of Del Taco shuttles for STO: They are quite big in the USA, but nowhere else. And they are not present in a lot of states there either. People were disappointed. But I think this is “acceptable”. They cannot force Del Taco to cater to the rest of the world either. 😛

    But if an event is run by the company and not tied to a local company, like the latest Alienware promo for Dragon Age or Del Taco for STO, it only makes sense that the whole community can participate.

    Which is not easy, there are so many countries and so many laws, it is hard to figure out which kind of contests are against the law in some of them. Just think of Canadians that are required to multiply numbers and answer correctly or incorrectly just so that they can legally participate in some giveaways and so on.

  3. For the American companies it’s a very risky game. I remember being quite bitter when WoW launched in the US 3 months before its EU release. I played EQ2 instead and had it not been for peer pressure would never have played WoW.

    There are a lot of games coming out that aren’t American. American games still are highly attractive to western europeans brought up as we are on a heavy diet of American film, TV and music.

    However if they make themselves too aloof then they risk seeing a significant exodus of European players once enough good non-American games are out. CCP, Funcom, Aventurine are all non-American. Aventurine even turned the tables with an EU launch some months before the US one.

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