Why are non-American gamers secondrate customers?

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GawainBS
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Why are non-American gamers secondrate customers?

Postby GawainBS » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:24 am

I noticed two seperate cases: (No doubt that there are more)
  1. SW:TOR has a global maintenance time, which just happens to be during the nighttime in the US, (Give or take, given the size of the country) but it's right in the middle of the day for Europe, and probably in the evening for Asia-Pacific. Bioware gives all kinds of explanations, but none of those make any sense. Every other MMO I know off has seperate maintenance times.
  2. Why does ME3 have to be released two or three days later in Europe than in the US? The game is installed on my harddrive via Origin last week, but I'll get the unlock code tomorrow at the earliest.


Maybe it's just Bioware, though. :p

Neither of these will have much impact on me, but the principle of the matter bugs me to no end.

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Postby Ares2382 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:53 am

It's really simple economics. More games are sold in North America then any other part of the world.

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Postby GawainBS » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:17 pm

While I would agree on that generally, it doesn't make much sense in these cases.

1. Judging by the number of MMO's who do have seperate maintenance (most with a lot less financial backing), it's more profitable to appease players in the long run.

2. No economic reason at all: Europeans have the game already, they just aren't allowed to play it.

On a seperate point: with digital distribution gaining so much ground, why are some games still released in the US/Canada only? Case in point: Drakensang, River of Time. Keep in mind that plenty of non-Americans are more than happy to play the English version and don't require a localised one. (Personally, I'd rather play an English than a Dutch/French version.)

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Postby Lemmus » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:18 pm

Gawain, I'm right there with you. Although I do live in Canada, I worked night shift for 8 years, so I get the time problem. Also, while Canada is culturally pretty close to the U.S., there are some big differences in how we approach a few subjects, mostly sex and violence, and this causes some jarring issues with game, television, and film content.

I think Ares is on the right track, but I expect that the numbers aren't quite correct. The Pacific Rim countries easily buy more games than Americans do, and Europe as a whole probably comes close. The problem isn't raw numbers, it is intended audience.

U.S. based companies produce content targeted at U.S. audiences. This is as it should be. While those companies are happy to sell internationally, and we're all happy to buy the product, we're not the primary audience.

Look at it from the other direction. Have you ever been upset when U.S. companies or government tried to throw their weight around on some cultural issue? Did you like the recent re-imagining of the Smurfs as living in New York? Do you think the MPAA should be able to take European sites off the internet because of copyrights that don't even apply the same way?

If U.S. corporate interests have no place outside of the legal structure of the U.S. in one situation, then that applies from the other direction too. You cannot get upset when one company tries to tell you what not to do, then upset again when another company aims their products at their own country, just because one situation is beneficial to you. Either U.S. companies are obligated to focus on their own people, or they aren't, but it has to be consistent.

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Postby GawainBS » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:43 pm

The comparison isn't really the same. You're talking about American laws who would impact the lives of people who had no say over it what so ever. (Not that the American citizens have any more to say, but that's beside the question.)
As a customer (who probably pays more due to € conversation rates), companies should ("should") hold me in as much regard as someone else. As you said: it makes no real sense. Of course, I could not buy the product, but sooner or later, most non-American gamedevelopers end up being American anyway, due to acquisitions, take-overs, merges, etc.

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Postby Ares2382 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:31 pm

Actually, NA is the biggest as far as game sales go. Yes, Europe is close behind, but that's when you add all the countries together, where as in NA, there's really just 3 (and Mexico barely counts). I saw the graphics somewhere, if I find it again I'll post a link.

Think about this. All countries have slightly different laws, especially censorship. And each game has to be adapted for each country. In NA, there's only 3 countries, where as in Europe there easily 10 times that, so it's harder to make a game to be released through out that continent.

There is also, what Lemmus said. A lot of gaming companies are either in US or Canada, and naturally make games for their own country first, and Europe second. There ARE games that come out in Europe before US, or that come out only in Europe.

Actually, speaking of Drakesang: TRoT. It came out in Germany long before it came out in the US. Why it wasn't released in your country I don't know. It's developed by a German company called Radon Labs. So you have to blame the Germans for it, not the Americans. :p

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Postby GawainBS » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:59 pm

I know that about Drakensang, but there was the problem of language: selling a game in German outside of Germany barely makes any sense.
However, the English version was available via Gamersgate, IIRC, but only if you lived in the Promised Land. :rolleyes:
Ironically, I have RoT, but I bought it via Amazon.co.uk, and even cheaper. That makes even less economic sense.

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Postby galraen » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:23 pm

Not all MMOs have more than one maintenance time; the only one I've played with any regularity, Evony, has only one. It's maintenance is done between 3 and 4 am US Central time, which because of the game mechanics actually give those players in non-US time zones an advantage.

The release differences for games makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and I can't see any justification for it. Maybe they are trying to give their home based customers an edge?

As for forcing non US countries to abide by US laws, it's even worse in US puppet states like the UK. People who live here and who haven't visited the US and haven't broken UK laws are routinely extradited to the US to stand trial there!!!!
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Postby GawainBS » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:37 pm

WoW, Rift and DDO all had seperate maintenance times.

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Postby Scottg » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:54 pm

GawainBS wrote:[*]Why does ME3 have to be released two or three days later in Europe than in the US? The game is installed on my harddrive via Origin last week, but I'll get the unlock code tomorrow at the earliest.
[/list]

Maybe it's just Bioware, though. :p

Neither of these will have much impact on me, but the principle of the matter bugs me to no end.



It's a marketing thing designed around retailers, and it's not just Bioware.

The retailers require Friday for EU, and they don't want people in the EU to have faster access to the game (via on-line sales) for fear people would skip their shops altogether.

As for why North America first.. simple:

1. Larger perceived market, and
2. Electronic Arts is US-based Co.

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Postby DesR85 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:09 am

Scottg wrote:As for why North America first.. simple:

1. Larger perceived market...


I recall that even some video game companies outside the US also focus on releasing their games in the US first before their home country. Square did release Kingdom Hearts first in the US before their home country if I remember correctly and there are other Japanese developers which follow this same method.
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Postby GawainBS » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:09 am

Scottg wrote:It's a marketing thing designed around retailers, and it's not just Bioware.

The retailers require Friday for EU, and they don't want people in the EU to have faster access to the game (via on-line sales) for fear people would skip their shops altogether.

As for why North America first.. simple:

1. Larger perceived market, and
2. Electronic Arts is US-based Co.


I didn't know the Friday argument. Good one.

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Postby Thylein » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:11 pm

The same reason why those TV series that suck in the US but have a good numbers of viewers in other countries are cancelled. Most US-based publishers are far too focused on the north american market only. I wonder how much more they could earn if they would listen more to consumers who are outside the US.

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Postby SimoneSharpe » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:38 am

Hi. I'm from Netherlands.
My name is Simone and I'm a gamer.
I'm ordering gaming CDs all the time and everything's fine so far.

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Postby Scottg » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:50 am

Thylein wrote:The same reason why those TV series that suck in the US but have a good numbers of viewers in other countries are cancelled. Most US-based publishers are far too focused on the north american market only. I wonder how much more they could earn if they would listen more to consumers who are outside the US.


TV shows are pretty different in their marketing.

For instance in the US the Network effectively owns the show (with very tight contracts). The Networks directly market to advertisers. Once the program goes "abroad" they are just selling the rights to the show and don't get nearly the same sort of revenue (..even with "affiliates"). So yes, a US show is very focused on US viewers, but with good reason - MUCH higher profit. ;) (..by the way, I expect it works similarly elsewhere as well.)


Because it's still very much a "publishing" industry for games - books, audio, and movies are a closer marketing "analog" (..though each with some very significant differences as well).

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Postby Scottg » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:01 am

GawainBS wrote:I didn't know the Friday argument. Good one.


Note: The US also has retailers telling the industry when they will provide shelf space as well - it's not just the EU. (..I think Tuesday is the standard for the US, but for games I don't think it's as "traditional" as elsewhere.)

In fact are biggest retailer/wholesaler: Walmart, may actually have more input on when things are to be sold than a particular industry segment like game-publishing. :eek: (..perhaps not for games, but certainly for many of the class of products they sell.)