Korean Company Offers Refunds For Collapsing MMOG
A Korean MMOG company may set a customer service precedent early next year by offering refunds to players who purchased in-game items for an MMOG that's being shut down.
ZerA, launched by Korean developer Nexon in February 2006, never really caught on with gamers, topping out at around 40,000 concurrent users, according to an article in the Korea Times (via PlayNoEvil). The game's popularity has since declined to the point where plans to release it in Japan were shelved, and it is now set to be shut down in January 2009. ZerA's demise will no doubt reverberate across the Korean gaming scene as developers and publishers try to determine what went wrong and gear up for a better try next time, but we don't really care about that.
What we do care about, though, is Nexon's plan for the game and its users. "The company will yank ZerA, a role-playing game that took three years and 10 billion won (about $7.5 million) to develop, at the end of January and is preparing to repay users who own paid items," the report says.
This is worth repeating: "Preparing to repay users who own paid items." It's pretty amazing stuff, and of course subject to change, but at this point it looks like anyone who laid down real money to buy items in ZerA, on the assumption that the game would be around for awhile, are going to get that money back. Details and limitations on the refund offer haven't been revealed, and to be honest I wouldn't be too upset if Nexon declined to buy back items that were purchased in the early days of the game, but the point is that by all appearances the company is going to take care of its customers.
Whether or not this will raise the bar for other MMOG publishers will depend largely on how Nexon actually handles the buy-back program; the devil is in the details, as the saying goes. And a refund policy wouldn't do much good for games like Hellgate: London or Fury, which are so dismal that they end up destroying the companies that create them. But it's an intriguing idea, and if Nexon follows through, one that could have a very real impact on microtransaction-based MMOGs in the future.
That is pretty crazy, but I think it's excellent customer service. As someone who worked in retail for years, I can say that this will get some people pissed (That the game is shutting down, I mean. Not the refunding part), but that Nexon will keep, and even gain, some new customers as they make public how they treat their subscribers.
bout time a company gave back what it took from the brainwashed masses
I'm astonished by this move. Let's see how this works out for them. Definitely a way to go.
That's certainly a precedent set, and very good of them to step up and pay back people despite losing so much money on it already.
Interesting... if this goes ahead, this could potentially lead the way for any MMOG that fails worse than someone trying to divide a number by 0... but imagine, in a perfect world... all those guitar hero packs that you paid Microsoft points for get refunded because the company likes it's faithful customers... the possibilities are endless if you let your imagination run wild... you should try it sometime.
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At the risk of sounding like my Gran, Thats good of them.
shame, a game with that much effort deserves to do well, as long as it isnt the worst thing ever, and as long as they stick by what they say now in refunding paid for item then it clearly shows they take care of their customers and i hope they do better in the future...
and that others will follow in this suit.