Thursday, 21 June 2012

The company that could (and the one that couldn't)

Playing Everquest 2 is never boring, not only because it’s an amazing game, but also because the game is made and published by Sony Online Entertainment, a company that likes to keep things interesting for its players by committing one PR/communication blunder after another. For example, there’s the ProSiebenSat.1 fiasco that happened a couple of months ago, or the sudden removal of the ability to fund subscriptions with Station Cash. Whenever SOE does something stupid, there’s a lot of drama, and they end up apologizing to their players, and announcing a ‘light’ version of their original plan.
Then, there’s Square Enix. A company that makes brilliant games, and sometimes also horrible games. Just about two years ago (has it been that long?), I was a part of the alpha/beta community of Final Fantasy XIV. And although we all loved the Final Fantasy brand and we really wanted this game to be a huge success, everybody knew that the game was going to fail. It was incredibly boring, the UI was awkward, and the game ran bad even on the best computers. The testing forums were flooded with thousands of negative comments, and ideas on how to improve the game. Square Enix ignored them all, and released the game anyway. They had to admit failure and apologize, and since then they have been working very hard on improving the game. Later this year, FFXIV 2.0 is going to launch. Is it going to be any good?
So we have two companies here. They’ve both failed to communicate with its playerbase. They’ve both made mistakes, and apologized for them. One made a great game that’s still going strong after 7 years, one made a horrible game that basically died even before it was released. Still, I have a lot more faith in the company that made the horrible game. Why? Whenever SOE does something bad, they apologize to their customers but do it anyway, just in a ‘lighter’ version. When Square Enix does something bad, they apologize to their customers, and make things right, even if it takes them two years.
Being a trustworthy company is not about never making mistakes. It’s about doing something with your mistakes, and about being honest with the people that pay money to use your product. I sincerely hope that FFXIV2.0 is going to be a huge success. As for Everquest2, I’ll be transferred pretty soon to the ProSiebenSat.1 account services, and I’m starting to think that maybe this is a good thing. 

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