Crowdtilt Issues

Discussion in 'General' started by Anashel, Jun 21, 2014.


Should we issues Gift Cards to players who had to wait for a refunds

Poll closed Jun 28, 2014.
  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. Anashel

    Anashel Puppet Master Staff Member

    As some of you know, we had an issues with Crowdtilt. Starting Monday, the players will received an email from Crowdtilt saying that a full refunds is available. Due to a glitch, we can rollback the transaction and since we didn't kept a copy of the credit card, we can make a transaction directly on the card. The option will be:
    • Direct Wired (bank transfer)
    • Paypal Wired
    • Check by mail
    I want to contact the affected player this weekend to give them this update. Altough they will finally get a full refunds, to thank them for their patience, we plan to issue Gift Cards from 5$ to 25$, in propotion to their pledge amount. You can vote on if you thinks it's a good or a bad idea and I invite you to give me subjection of Gift Cards. (iTunes? Playboy?)

    Thank you! =)
  2. Santiak

    Santiak MIA

    Considering the new initial goal is $40,000, if I'm not mistaken, I think the optimal option would be to issue a Gift Card of some sort, but - as you mention - not directly in relation to TBW itself.

    My reasoning is mainly twofold: In regards to what to gift, people might be so upset, that they don't want to reinvest the same amount - if at all (i know, it's a horrible thing to say), in which case a gift card towards TBW itself would be moot, making the gift "only" amount to no bad reputation for TBW, in terms of what "we" get out of issuing the gift card.
    In addition to that, I think that regardless of whether or not people are content with a full refund, an additional "show of good faith" goes a much, much longer way - especially considering those who are going to get a "gift" this time around, are people who have already shown a degree of interest that they felt warranted a monetary donation, so the risk of people being content with the gift alone are somewhat lower.
    Conversely, if people feel cheated in the slightest, nothing will be gained either way, as they are less likely to re-invest.

    So all in all, because people who will be getting the refund have invested before, I'd say; "Aye, give them a Gift Card." I'd add to that, however, that I'd be more inclined to give people the option to choose either:
    - Gift Card for Steam, or
    - Gift Card for FunCom
    As opposed to anything non-game related (possibly outside their realm of interest), or anything related directly to TBW (possibly assuming that they're still interested, generating a bad rep regardless).

    The third option of merely giving them the extra money is, of course, also one worth considering. :)
    2 people like this.
  3. MochiInvasion

    MochiInvasion Senior Agent

    On a personal level, yes because giftcards :p I'm honestly not upset about Crowdtilt taking a while, because you've been upfront about the problem and it seems the whole effort has been somewhat dogged by problems.
    Santiak says it pretty well though, and personally I would go for Steam, if you do go ahead.
    2 people like this.
  4. Santiak

    Santiak MIA

    I had utterly and completely forgotten that the offer included us as well :S

    Addendum to my first post: Add an option to opt out of receiving a gift-card!
    Not sure if it'll be a hazzle or not, but I'm fairly sure quite a few of us (sorry about the generalization) would rather see the game have increased chances of coming to fruition, than seeing a gift-card for something or other drop in our mailbox.

    As Mochi points out, you've been extraordinarily forthcoming about the problem, and as such, I'm rather sure we're not the only people around who feel you don't need to make any amends for Crowdtilt's short-comings.
    How many people do feel that you should make amends, however, is an unkown factor - a factor that I think it's better to rebuke now, than to leave hanging, only to find out later on it was a considerable factor.
    3 people like this.
  5. Anashel

    Anashel Puppet Master Staff Member

    Indeed we are not talking about a gift related to TBW or Funcom. Steam is an excellent idea! Don't forget also that we already gave away Multipass card for free to anyone who pledge 50$+ (which cost us 2 500$) and we already gave away in-game Hoodies and Robes (which cost us another 1 500$) and now we will add again another gift (which I estimate will cost us around 2 000$ to 3 000$) for Crowdtilt issues.

    And they still get all there money refunds.

    This is 17% of our Kickstarter objectives that we gave away just to be 'gentlemen' to the fact people didn't gave enough money for the MMORPG Campaign. We don't own anything to anyone. We just to it because I feel it will be appreciated.
    8 people like this.
  6. Santiak

    Santiak MIA

    Sorry for the multi-post, but:

    2 people like this.
  7. Vismal

    Vismal Gold Member

    I just want to point I was the one that opted for *no* on the gift card.
    Free stuff on a marketing point of view is good; however, I am not the kind of person that expects a gift card on top of the refund. I voted on my own subjective outlook, rather than the objective idea.
    In the business world, on a grand scale, it will be a short term feel-good. How far that feel good would go wouldn't appear to last too long against the weight of the investment in my mind.
    On a personal level, the idea that you wish to reach out honestly is enough for me; but I can't attest to the views of others or their values or the statistical fact that ego vs. id may come into play.
    So yeah, I shouldn't overthink or overshare as I am a poor orator.
    3 people like this.
  8. nikel

    nikel Lab 1852 - Neurals

    I'm pretty on the fence about this, so I think that I will refrain from voting. I think it will come as a nice surprise to those who have been waiting for crowdtilt because they aren't expecting it. But following that, you have been communicative on the forums about the issue, and I don't think anyone is entitled to anything beyond the reimbursement of what they paid. I wouldn't consider you under any obligation to give a gift card... Perhaps I'm being selfish in that $2000-3000 could be better spent on the ARG itself than continuing to line Valve's pockets. I guess my question is 'what are you expecting to get out of giving cards?' If the data says that it will be a good investment then go ahead. If it's just a 'we're sorry' to people that really don't care then I don't think it'd be worth it. Although, my tired mind might not be thinking of all sides here.

    I guess that if I were in your shoes and giving out giftcards, I would pretty strongly skew the numbers to give the most $5 you can to minimize your costs. On Steam right now, that's enough for a lot, and I might also suggest Amazon because not everyone uses Steam, itunes or Funcom products. If anyone gave a lot (A LOT) of money over crowdtilt maybe give them a $20 card tops. I don't have your numbers so I can't really say.
    3 people like this.
  9. Vomher

    Vomher Senior Agent

    If you consider gift cards, I would have to agree that Steam and Amazon are great options. Not many use iTunes, though they are popular, but Steam's massive swarm of games for low prices can give a lot of fun to people for low cost. You can't buy too much with a 5 dollar amazon gift card, but depending on steam sale, you could get more game than you could hold. It means people need Steam, so it falls into the same slight issue as iTunes... but it seems that the majority of those backing this project are gamers.

    Do what is best for the project, I say! Do you expect to be able to easily regain what you lose from these gift cards? It is a show of kindness, which goes a long way, but it also is costly in its own right. Gift cards are nice, but I'd be entirely understanding if you couldn't or it wasn't an efficient use of funds. Nobody is going to force you to throw gift cards and free things at them. As long as people get their refunds, I'm sure they will be sated at the very least.
  10. Bats

    Bats Division 93: Covert Grammatical Ops Battalion

    I think nikel basically nailed it right there. If it looks like it's going to help maintain the good will of likely vict...targ...suck...err... paying players who're otherwise at risk, then, definitely, go with gift cards - it's cheaper than losing a lot of frustrated customers and easier than putting out the fires from public tantrums.

    But first look at what sort of feedback you're seeing from people outside our little cabal of loyalists here - other forums (even that one starting with 'mmo'), support emails, twitter, wherever else people are likely to rant. If it starts looking like you're getting a lot of blowback, get out ahead of it with an announcement about the gift cards - and, hell, free money isn't exactly known for driving away customers. But if it really looks like people just don't mind, don't spend the money - good will is good, but 17% seems like an awfully big chunk of the budget to spend on thank yous and apologies if people don't actually need to be placated. If that's the case, put it back into the ARG, or into advertising, or into a really really slick new office coffee maker in preparation for those all-nighters.

    So, I suppose my vote is C) Wait for more information.

    If you do go the card route, I think Steam and Amazon could both be justified. While I really can't stand Amazon, they've got a broad enough selection (vote for me for understatement of the decade!) that's it's practically like handing out pre-paid debit cards (or like a handful of cash at a shady flea market dealing in Chinese counterfeits). Steam obviously limited in variety (and not everyone wants to deal with the platform, although it's getting harder to avoid), but it's not a terrible stretch to imagine that the majority of people who're willing to put money towards an online ARG might have some interest in computer games. With their sales, those $5 gift cards are also likely to buy a lot more on Steam than Amazon - even if you manage to get free shipping.

    (personally I wouldn't mind getting a gift card... but, Steam or Amazon, I expect it's just that much more that'll end up going to TBW).
    2 people like this.
  11. Zerosh

    Zerosh Sleeper Agent

    Mmm... I think it's all said already xD
    In short:

    If giving gift cards could be profitable in some way, go for it{
    Steam gift cards sounds great for me (Steam player :p)
    Save the money of the giftcards so the KS campaing has more chances

    As Bats and nikel said, listen to the data.

    I myself I'm waiting for the Crowdtilt refund, but if I'm going to receive a full refund, I'll happily decline the gift card so that money can be invested in the development of TBW ;)
  12. Vicarne

    Vicarne Senior Agent

    Vismal took the words right out of my mouth. If anything, Crowdtilt should be giving YOU something in apology. You certainly shouldn't have to fork out extra because of their mistakes. Also, I got my refund a week ago. I would plainly email those folks that have not received a refund and say that there have been problems. I don't know if putting it on the forums is enough because I'm sure not everyone would look there.
    2 people like this.
  13. Bats

    Bats Division 93: Covert Grammatical Ops Battalion

    I really hate it when people just use a quote and "^ this" to reiterate someone else's point.
    ^ this

    Actually I think it's almost certain that most people won't look at the forums (especially these forums, which only a small handful of us have found our way to - otherwise questions like this and the 3k invites likely wouldn't be up for debate)... but I'm a little torn on the wisdom of sending out an email about it right now - or at least how to handle that email. On the one hand, you absolutely want to keep people as informed as possible whenever there's anything unexpected happening with their money (or at least make them feel like they are) . On the other, if an announcement of something like the gift cards comes with the initial announcement of delays, it looks much more like a genuinely concerned company, doing their best to help people through an unfortunate (but unavoidable, and essentially blameless) situation. If the delay announcement comes first and then gift card offer at some point later, it can give more of an impression of "Shit. We fucked up and have a PR nightmare on our hands. Maybe we can save our asses if we throw around enough money to shut people up." So, there's a definite argument to be made for deciding what to do about the cards first (which, of course, runs absolutely contrary to my earlier argument for waiting on more data. Cognitive dissonance before coffee is fun!).

    There might also be an advantage to letting the Crowdtilt announcement go out first - assuming they're quick about it and don't try to shift the blame. A report of the error coming from them makes it implicitly clear that this really is a problem on their end, and that - with or without gift cards - the follow-up apology email from HE is just an effort to smooth out the bumps because they care. If HE's email goes out first, then no matter how clear you make it, there are going to be people who skip over the explanation and just read it as "HE took my money when they weren't supposed to - from an unsuccessful campaign - and now they claim they're having trouble giving it back".

    (of course, historically most of my employers learned to keep me as far from the customers as possible, so my advice might not be the most reliable... but at least I haven't recommended mass extermination of users as a viable complaint reduction strategy. well, not yet. err... not yet today.)
    2 people like this.
  14. Santiak

    Santiak MIA

    You just did, today ;)

    But I agree, it is bit of a pickle to decide whether to be the first with the announcement, or the ones to follow it up.
    Personally, I'm leaning towards letting Crowdtilt get the first word - that will ensure both the folks who read through their mails, and those who only glance at the topic, get the right idea - that it was on Crowdtilts shoulders and not yours.
    On top of that, if you follow up right after with your side of the story - with or without the gift card - people will be aware of not only the fact that it was Crowdtilt's fault, but that you as the Developers regret the issue arose, despite it not being your fault.

    If you are the first to send out the mail, people will be more inclined to see it as HE "rubbing it off" on Crowdtilt - or at least that possibility will be more plausible in the minds of people.

    Or to put it in other words;
    If an adult admits to their child breaking a lamp - was it really the child?
    However, if the child admits it, and the adult then offers their apologies - possibly with the added offer of replacing the lamp - then the notion that "maybe it was the adult who did it, but blamed the kid" becomes far less prominent.
    4 people like this.
  15. Ruke Unlimited

    Ruke Unlimited Senior Agent

    This is a tricky situation. My understanding is that you have somewhere around 300 people who would be receiving gift cards if you gave them out? I would also guess that beyond the opinions expressed on this forum, you have very little data that relates to the people that are being directly affected. I think that giving out gift cards is a good idea, but giving out gift cards to other services, maybe not so much. It's more likely to be perceived as a bribe, rather than a way to reward your loyal customers.

    My suggestion would be to wait until CrowdTilt does their thing, then send out an email (specifically addressed to each person, if manpower permits) letting them know that you do value them as a customer and offering them things related to the relaunch of TBW - something like an extra 2-6 months game time, upgrade from the non-app version to the app version, etc... depending on how much they spent. This way, you would be appeasing your more loyal customers, thus reinvesting in your company rather than in another. It's the same reasoning that Apple gives away Apple products, rather than Target gift cards when they screw up, or why EA gave away a free game on Origin when SimCity turned out so bad... It's cheaper and easier for you to give away something you produce than to give away something someone else produces.

    All that being said, at a minimum, I think CrowdTilt should go in on half (at least) of whatever your costs are for whatever you decide, for the same reason I describe above. You used their service, and they messed up, now you have a lot of potentially angry customers. They have a responsibility to help you resolve that issue.
    2 people like this.
  16. Vismal

    Vismal Gold Member

    Well, Crowdtilt does have a moral responsibility if it breached their agreement; but in the fine print they may have plausible exclusion preventing honoring such moral responsibilities.
    "Gosh, I'd really like to help out, but sssshhh the fine print man. It's saying we can't. So good luck with your angry customers, we're really sorry." Type of thing I expect.
  17. Anashel

    Anashel Puppet Master Staff Member

    I honestly don't know. The point is, they are not customers. And they never were. We tried to raised money, and i't didn't work out. Aside from the number of days Crowdtilt took to make the refunds, this is just a typical kick-starter project who didn't meet it's goal. We are trying again and honestly, we are trying again with a complete different community.

    As we said, the numbers of 'pledge' we had should had easily made us reach our objectives. Truth is, the MMORGP / Funcom community as it was took twice the amount of time and care taking yet pledged only 1/2 of a normal kickstarter members. I have no clue if I'm just wasting 3000$ on a market segment that was interested in TSW ingame clothing rather then the ARG itself.

    I really hope the TBW lore and the quality design and twisted mind we bring to your life worth more than this project..... (No offense if you love D-Day dice... err card.. err board game)
  18. Anashel

    Anashel Puppet Master Staff Member

    Again, maybe i'm wrong in my view of it but they are not customers. And the screw up is a 8 days delay versus what was expected. Well in fact the money should never have been refunds cause we all pledge in the hope it succeed! I didn't ship 2 millions iPhone that if you hold them in your hand, you block the antenna and have zero reception! The more I talk about it, the more I think no other company on earth would do what we are doing. After giving away ingame uniforms + the multipass card, we maybe should have stop there.

    Of course I hope they join the Kickstarter, don't get me wrong. But we have to start fresh with gaming / entertainment or even movies fans this time. ARG communities is too small and I don't want TSW player who are just in for in-game rewards.

    Maybe i'm just wrong and should only focus on kickstarter and let crowdtilt handle the refunds process. If someone is unhappy, deal with it on a case by case basis. As simple as that.
    2 people like this.
  19. Bats

    Bats Division 93: Covert Grammatical Ops Battalion

    No, no... I only casually mentioned mass extermination of users as a viable complaint reduction strategy. Although It would clear up the problem...
    Thank you. That's something else I'd been worrying about, I just couldn't find the analogy to explain it. Apparently I misplaced it in your brain.

    If it's possible to make it through this without the need to point fingers or place blame, that'd definitely be the path that brings HE through this mess looking the best... of course, that requires a fair bit of luck & Crowdtilt not shirking responsibility.... and rational customers.

    (has anyone else noticed some oddities with undo in the forum editor?)
  20. Vismal

    Vismal Gold Member

    I can see this is a difficult decision that is weighing on your mind Anashel.
    Myself, I'd say focus your efforts on the kickstarter (while we prep some social media outreach boom when the KS starts).
    Bats mentioned rationale customer/pledgers/affected parties; by statistics, it will be unlikely. I'm not a marketing guy, nor am I within the customer's statistical median, so I can't advise on how to tackle (or if it should even be tackled...).
    Also, listening to us is good, under advisement; ultimately, you should make the decision that helps the project. The project is the goal, and the project should be the focus. All decisions should be for the project or a step to eventually benefit the project. If a decision does nothing for the project, or has a potential to damage the project, I'd say do away with it and refocus the efforts on the project itself.

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