Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Feature: Why I Hate Namco Bandai But Secretly Love Their Communications Exec (Part 1)

This post has been a long time coming and today it was my goal to make sure it gets posted. So without further adieu here’s why Namco Bandai went from 'decent' to 'a*holes' to 'ok in my books'

*Please be aware these are long posts*

On January 22nd Ni No Kuni was released in the US and Canada with a later release date on February 2nd for the EU. Now, it’s been just over three weeks total since the games release and if you don’t know about I would be very surprised. Having said that, if indeed you don’t know anything about it, let me quickly bring you up to speed.

Ni No Kuni is a JRPG that saw the partnering of game developers Level-5 and the legendary animation studio Studio Ghibli. This awesome super team has to date created two different versions of Ni No Kuni; one for the Nitendo DS (Jap release only) and the other for the PS3. Each title is different but retains the same story back bones that unravel in more platform specific ways.  (You can read more on the title here,  and here.

Now, more often than not launch days for hotly anticipated games go without a hitch and everybody ends up with a lovely copy of the game they purchased, standard or collector’s edition, and go on their merry way. Unfortunately this wasn't the case with the Ni No Kuni collector’s edition.

What did happen was Namco Bandai and Digital River (the distributor company) ended up overselling the available stock due to a ridiculous e-commerce glitch. This resulted in hundreds of pre-ordered collector’s edition being cancelled, much to the chagrin of the consumers, and received a half hearted apology.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

Chided and hurt consumers came out of their holes to lay down their pains! A facebook group was created in response to this atrocity!

Later users discovered an e-bay account that had gained access to 200 copies of the collector’s edition, and in the wake of the cock-eyed sales report, things got really nasty!

It was big news that spread across the many video game outlets like wildfire.

Ok, I know that so far I sound like I've been ragging about consumer reactions, but I was also affected by this situation. And I also took this opportunity to express my dissatisfaction; to explain how my excitement and glee was destroyed like a child who licked their ice cream with too much gusto, causing the scooped ball to fall and splatter at their feet. The collector’s edition was my ice cream. 

So I sent a typically English reactionary letter to them chumps at Namco Bandai Games for what was clearly crap-tastic planning. It went like this.

After I wrote the letter I felt like I had sufficiently vented my feelings. Then slowly, as the rush of adrenaline wore off, my English sensibilities were flooded with the need to soften the unadulterated aggression and unchecked acrimony. So I searched the Internet for a picture that would properly convey to the receiver of my message, that I was adequately displeased but not full of rage.

I'm so angry with you I need to use a meme!

It turns out this was a smart decision. Not but two days later, whilst the whole situation was turning into a witch hunt-come-blood sport, I promptly received a reply directly from the Community Executive of Namco Bandai - and what a nice person they were.

I honestly believe this was one of the best apologies that anyone could've received from Namco Bandai. The sender had clearly taken time and effort to address my complaint, and while it didn't completely address the glaring problem of still not owning the game itself, not only did they apologise with sincerity but they also gave me their limited edition mini-Drippy plush. There are only 30 of these!

Passive-aggressive complaining for the win!

But it gets better. It was clear that my letter of deep disappointment really touched their hearts and in response they went all out to address my complaint. In addition to a sincere apology and a small plush toy - there was this:

EVERYTHING IS FORGIVEN COMMUNITY EXEC! But Namco Bandai, you still have a lot to answer for!

After I saw their meme response it was pretty hard to stay angry. Yeah, I was definitely falling off my high horse. In one fail swoop this wonderful person had earned my love. I adored them. I wanted to shake their hands and not wash mine ever again. I needed to keep talking to them because they were awesome! There was a warmth growing in my tummy and I was suddenly wanting to thank them. Which I did - well played executive, well played.

By Rod-the-Pod, 06-Mar-2013

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