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At The Back Of The Line

Posted Oct 09, 2009 by Jon Wood

At The Back Of The Line Columnist Jamie Skelton takes a look at the concept of "premium customer service" for players who pay to play a game and discusses the sometimes second tier treatment that "free" players can experience when they are met with an in-game problem.

Jaime Skelton

I was playing a freemium style MMO the other day, and was subject to an interesting discussion. A player had gotten stuck in the environment, sent in a petition to the GMs and waited five minutes before beginning to complain to general chat that he had waited too long. An altruistic player tried helping the situation by pointing out that subscribers to the game receive priority in the customer service queue over free players. The player responded, "If they treated me better as a customer, I might pay for the game." Naturally, a flame war erupted, one side claiming free players weren't entitled to anything from the game company, especially free customer service.

It seems pretty simple; paying customers have a part of their subscription fee go toward the salaries of customer service staff. Free players, who have not paid anything to the game company, do not pay these same salaries, and therefore are not entitled to any customer service - or at least a limited amount. As the argument goes, if you play for free, you can't complain if you don't get something -- you're not a paying customer and therefore not entitled. Case closed.

Read At The Back Of The Line.


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