Monday, April 09, 2007

The CEO Monologues

OK, last post on this topic unless something new comes up. Last week I mentioned Brent's ( article regarding Brad's latest post on the state of Vanguard. My post earlier of "Leaving Brad alone", was only half of what needs to happen for this game to move forward...I feel that Brent's post is the other half.

If you haven't already, you need to go take a look a the comments section of Brent's article. First, I don't think I've seen a VW blog post with this many, it's always great to see that the community is talking. Second, the community seems to be split into two camps. The first camp are those that think this communication by a CEO is great. They love this kind of access and they feel that it opens up the community and keeps them informed. The second camp are those that feel that Brad should not be posting these least not without some sort of filter.

I've been thinking about my position quite a bit, and I really have not changed to that much. Yes, I still think we should leave Brad the $#@% alone so that he can focus on what he needs to focus on. I also think that communication with the gamers on forums should be left to the community managers and some devs...end of story. You may recall that back in March, I posted this article, giving Sigil high marks in keeping the community informed. I believe that this was Brad's second posting like this, and at the time I was very impressed. "Wow...two posts from Brad about the state of the game? Nice". Although I was concerned about how long it was (more about that in a minute), it was a good thing. When the third one came along and I looked at the content, I started to say to myself, "hmmmm...something ain't right". Once post is great, two is cool, three is pushing it a bit...especially from the CEO. Honestly, in the third posting, he repeated quite a bit of what he said in the other two. So, my red flag went up.

I said this on Brent's site, but I'll say it here. I really don't think a CEO's job is to directly communicate to the customer base like this. If I and 1000 had a problem with an AT&T service, I don't expect the CEO of that company to post somewhere about the nitty-gritty details of what went wrong, what they're doing about it and how great it will be in the future. Usually, I get a customer rep giving me the 411 on all of that. One point of contact, one clear message, we all move on with our lives. I really don't understand why gamers think they have some sort of divine right to access everything from the janitor to the CEO of a game company. Sure, it's nice, but I don't think it's really that healthy. These guys should be developing and thinking up new stuff for us to play, not fending off people in the forums. The forums of all places!!! Jeepers.

Now, on the length of the article. One thing I learned about debating in a forum of any kind, besides the futility of it all, was that the longer your argument post was, the more someone can pick apart your argument and turn the debate to fit their agenda. You leave it short, and the amount of wiggle room you leave for someone to maneuver and control the argument is reduced significantly. Part of Brad's problem is that he left it wide open for the trolls and the haters to have at him. He could have said what he said on the main website, not in a forum and he could have kept it short.

I think Brad has played all of his cards right now and another posting from him in a months time would not be a good idea. I may eat those words, fine, I can live with being wrong...but I'm not trying to sell a game.

D out.

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