Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Discussion: Gaming Company Support

We are less than a week removed from the joys of Gen Con, but already the real world crushes us under its weight. Is it really a year until the next Gen Con?

Post-Gen Con hangover or no, we still have some Friday Discussion lined up here at RPG Blog 2. Nothing serious, nothing earth-shattering, just some gamers talking about gaming, killing time until the weekend.

Today’s topic is thus: What sort of support do you expect out of a gaming company? Free support downloads? Cheap/free pdfs for buying a print copy? A well-run message board for fans? That personal touch? A respectful attitude towards your input? In a time where there are so many companies vying for your gaming dollar, what do you consider as adequate company support of a product you’ve purchased?

Let that sense of entitlement flow below, and have a great weekend!


Schuyler said...

Honestly, if I pour $40, $50, even $60 per book into a game I expect some sort of customer service. If I have an issue with a part of the system that seems to be a widespread issue I want the company to take heed and do something to change things. Or make my $35 book all I need. I didn't mind the $50 tag on Pathfinder especially since it included all the player and GM information. And Paizo seems to actually like its customers. And oh yeah it has a $10 pdf.
I know that was rambling and seamless but I tried.

Dyson Logos said...

Considering how little we pay for these gaming books, I don't expect anything from the companies that sell them to us.

But I think this is a side-effect of my love for out-of-date games. I prefer games that are not actively supported (so there won't be any new books showing up for the game I'm running or playing while I play it), so I don't expect active support.

Accounting for inflation, we were spending $45 back in '81 for a 64 page rule book and short module. I didn't expect customer service back then, I can't really expect much difference now. And I don't.

It's a nice bonus when the publisher has free downloads on their site. But what I'm NOT looking for is publisher forums (let the fan forums handle that).

With the changing technology, I would always appreciate a (searchable) PDF version of the rules included with every purchase.

But as I said, to be honest I don't expect much. RPGs are cheaper now than they were when I started gaming. I don't expect to keep getting more for less.

NeoWolf said...

Really all that I EXPECT is errata. I tend to also at least wanna see character sheet pdfs to download.

Now anything beyond that, while not expected, is of course nice. Stellar customer support and outreach is going to make me appreciate a company all the more.

WalkerP said...

Really, I don't expect that much myself, in terms of customer service. I think some of the smaller companies fall down on communication in the early stages of a game's development, but with the internet today, you can usually pick up the pieces of rumours and figure out what's going on. Most small companies are all gamers themselves and totally into their product, so they love to talk about it and often come back with excellent responses to any customer questions. We're lucky that way.

NeoWolf said...

In retrospect, perhaps it's sad that the first and foremost thing I expect is eratta. Human error is hard to rule out, but to always expect it.. yeesh!

Helmsman said...

I think honestly the only thing I truly expect from a game company is a medium for the company to interact with it's fans. A forum, a commentable blog, some of the developers on twitter... whatever. Grass roots marketing is the foundation of the RPG advertising, and any company that can't or won't do that is doomed to obscurity.

James V said...

I don't think I that demanding as a consumer. I want a company to give me:

Products I want to buy.
Good customer service when things go wrong.

The rest doesn't matter to me as much.

Joseph said...

Message boards, pdfs, free downloads... I don't care about any of that stuff.

The absolute, most important thing for me is keeping to a release schedule. You say something is coming out on a given date? Get it out. No excuses.

James V said...

The absolute, most important thing for me is keeping to a release schedule. You say something is coming out on a given date? Get it out. No excuses.

I'm sure Mechanoid Space will come out some day. 15-plus years is not too long to wait for a Palladium Books masterpiece!
*tongue lodged firmly in cheek*

Even late products don't bother me so much, as long as I like it.

E.G.Palmer said...

I guess product support isn't something I've ever thought about. At least as far as it concerns gaming materials. I mean, other than maybe missing pages, what can go wrong with a module? I won't buy anything without reading it, so, if it sucks, it's not a problem. If I do buy something and it has writing problems, I'll just fix it myself. I'm going to change things anyway.
I suppose I would like a message board that I could talk to the writers on. Just so I'd know if they were dicks. I'd rather not give my money to guys who are dicks.

Dane of War said...

Decent company support to me is a couple of things, Zach.

If I buy a print copy, I'd like to get not only a printer-friendly PDF - but a regular bells n' whistles version as well.

I'd like to have access to free, up-to-date support and errata, too.

And if I drop any amount of money on a print copy, I expect that I'm getting the finished product. I don't want to read glaring typos, find that there are missing rules, or find out that in the mere space of a year I have to get a whole new edition.

Forums, though... those don't interest me. If the creators have a blog where I can interact with them, cool.

Anonymous said...