The elusive SOE Marketing Dept. took a moment today to pat itself on the back for its “successful launch” of EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate. They also made a point of thanking “our great fans have responded with overwhelming support“. It is unclear what aspect of the Sentinel’s Fate launch players give “overwhelming support” to, but no doubt this will be a key point on a Powerpoint presentation somewhere soon.
EQ2Wire does not think it is too soon to start our campaign for NO retail launch of the next EverQuest II expansion. It costs too much money, diverts too many resources, and ultimately confuses and frustrates players to have retailer exclusives, head starts, and regional lockouts on who can buy the Digital Download when and where.
Did the Retail Push Work?
Marketing will point to retail figures saying “It worked!” but the reality is, these are customers who felt forced to buy the product in a certain way, at additional cost and hassle, just to get the same customer experience they have had in past years with a Digital Download.
There is such a thing as a false economy here regarding players who would have ordinarily purchased the Digital Download over a span of the next 2-3 months, as they had completed all the content they desired to in the previous expansion converted to the new product. No doubt some of these players felt pressured into buying Sentinel’s Fate retail version on launch day, so as not to be left behind, or to get the best possible game.
It just seems to us, although we have no sales figures to back up our theories, that making loyal customers jump through hoops just to add a few boxes on retail shelves is not worth it in the long run, and we feel that a true cost-benefit analysis of how the Sentinel’s Fate retail launch played out (provided it is not merely a self-serving exercise) would bear this out.
And there is no tangible way to measure the ill will created in the European community by the Sentinel’s Fate launch lead up chaos, missteps at DLGamer and Steam, and now almost daily Hotfixes during primetime Europe hours. These players have a right to be doubtful.
I have had some very harsh words for the SOE Marketing Dept, yet I feel like I am on pretty solid ground with my opinions. So far, this department has demonstrated that it does not understand its customers, does not value their feedback, and further, has gone out of its way to insulate itself from criticism.
EQ2Wire is extending an open invitation to any member of the SOE Marketing Dept who wishes to grant an interview on these and other subjects.