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Customer support for games?


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#1 yodonome   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:33 PM

Do you think games need good customer support?

 

I mean, there are companies that have and those that don't. Each one has its own pros and cons. Companies don't outsource because it's either they don't have a budget, or don't trust other companies to handle internal matters. Others outsource because it either frees up their time for game development or cuts down on costs.

 

What's your opinion on this?

 

 



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 21176

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:15 AM

Everything is relative.

Good customer support for a AAA game generally means supporting everything from customers finding tricky bugs on the one hand, to customers who blame the game for their computer being unplugged. Sadly many real issues get blocked by front-line support, but that same front-line support must deal with everything from unplugged computers to configuring firewalls and NATs to recovering lost usernames and passwords. It is expensive and can involve multiple support sites around the world with 24/7 staff.

Good customer support for a hobby title generally means having the developer answer a few questions from a few computer-savvy people on a web forum. It is inexpensive and only requires a few minutes from the developer when there is an email notification about a new post.

There is no universal answer. Of course a game company or a hobbiest should invest in supporting their customer. But the cost and effort involved is unique to every situation.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 progbot   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:03 AM

You should at least have a contact email so that players could report bugs to you. Games could spread by word of mouth. If you ignore your early customers, you would be hurt in the long run.
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#4 yodonome   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:41 PM

Everything is relative.

There is no universal answer. Of course a game company or a hobbiest should invest in supporting their customer. But the cost and effort involved is unique to every situation.

 

I see your point here. There's no point to have a 24/7 customer support team if the game is not very popular and only receives bug reports every few days or so. I agree that the developer can handle this by allotting part of his time. On the other hand, the same solution is not applicable for extremely popular games like, say, Candy Crush. 

 

But how would you know if you can still handle it in-house or it's time to outsource a company?

 

 

If you ignore your early customers, you would be hurt in the long run.

 

I agree. Not only that, but it may lead to bad PR considering how people are in social media these days.



#5 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9864

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:49 PM

But how would you know if you can still handle it in-house or it's time to outsource a company?

 

Yes. It is hard to predict a hit.  Don't try. Just make a plan that includes contingencies.  If you start bringing in tons of money, plan to start hiring staff (internal or external). In other words, cross that bridge when you get to it.


Edited by Tom Sloper, 27 May 2013 - 10:50 PM.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#6 yodonome   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 07:50 PM

Thanks for that advice, Tom. Gauging when to start planning for a bigger/more dedicated support team is proving to be difficult. 






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