March 21, 2014

The Mahoney Era: Going after Whales

Nexons new CEO, Owen Mahoney talks about Free to Play games and his vision for expanding Nexon in the West.

From the Re/code interview : Free to Play is Not What You Think It Is:

[Q:] Re/code: What's the first step toward finding a better foothold in the West?

[A:] Owen Mahoney: We think there's a couple things. We're going to make immersive games that are properly done free-to-play. Free-to-play does not mean trick your customers into paying you money or give them something that is potentially free or supposedly free but, in fact, in order to really enjoy yourself, you have to pay money. That is not free-to-play. 

Going after whales is a fundamental misunderstanding of what that really is. Our objective is to bring really good, immersive, synchronous online gameplay to the West. We have to have an infrastructure, an operating team that can execute that as well as we do in Korea, China and Japan, and also we have to have the types of IP that really resonate with Western users.

Hopefully his vision will sink in on Vindictus quickly. Its a good vision even it isn't exactly what his operational support teams are putting out into the world.

We hope he's got his drill bit ready because the North American branch has some work to do.  The NA version of Vindictus hasn't exactly been operating under a best practice, Customer first mentality putting them far from this vision.  There have been more than their fair share of instances that have led to player dis-satisfaction - more than I care to count. They include massive bannings for "just" playing the game, lack of communication on everything from outages to events, erroneous mistakes (you can almost count on an Event notification having at least one mistake), and a Customer Service team that flat out does not seem to care about us as their customers (burnt out or not) - they can use a lot of work.

Here is to looking forward though. 

We are absolutely looking forward to toward any potential changes that might come from his leadership that trickle down and improve our game.  We're specifically hoping that Vindictus Production Managers - take a real honest look at those enhancement and enchant rates, drop rates, P2W events (and gachapons) and other "stuff"  that can be fixed to fit into the mold a bit better.

I'm sure we are willing to continue to deposit funds into the Nexon Piggy bank if the game were changed so that one did not have to depend on these things or even have them at all. There are other offerings that would probably make more money and leave us as players, feeling more fulfilled in the long run - like Dye Ampoules for Outfitters. <hint, hint - nudge, nudge>

I'd love a return to the "normalcy" that we used to have when we could pay for "fun, pretty and non-P2W" items instead of things that should be achievable by normal dedicated players. I would also personally like to see us have the service quality that EU does. Their Customer Support team is impeccable - they are both seen and heard and its a refreshing change from the laid back attitude of NA.

Read the full Q&A with info on the Westernization of Nexon here:
Free to Play is Not What You Think It Is

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