Hey! Been a while since I last made a blog post. A lot has been happening. Quit my job, went back to full time studies for a bit, focused hard on getting Pirate Party stuff happening, and I’ve thrown around a couple more freedom of information requests recently.
However, recently, regional pricing got my goat. I’m a big fan of the Witcher series of games. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a mature RPG series based on a series of Polish novels by an author called Andrzej Sapkowski.
Well, the creators of the Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED, also own a pretty good game distribution website called Gog, which distributes games DRM-free. Unfortunately, CD Projekt RED have decided to slap on a pretty awful regional pricing.
For people in the US, they will pay $60 USD. We in Australia however will pay a lovely $90 AUD! Go regional pricing, go! They will however offer about $20 AUD worth of coupons for other old games, but honestly, it’s not good enough.
So like all good angry little digital activists should do, I sent them a feedback message. I can’t republish it exactly because I sent it using a web form, and their email reply didn’t include it.
The gist of it was that I said I was “disgusted” in this complete ripoff for a game that will in all likelihood be censored by our puritan government anyway and pointed out that DRM-free isn’t everything, and that blaming regional pricing agreements they chose to sign is a cop-out.
Today, I got a gem of a response (a piece of quartz as far as gems go):
Subject: Re: Australia tax on the Witcher 3
I wonder why are you disgusted with us since we are not responsible for those arrangements. Our only choice was to offer game for Australian region with higher price or not to offer them game at all. The choice seems to be obvious. What's more it's not nice to be disgust with a company which offer you any kind of compensation for the higher price because we could leave that price and not offer anything in return.
Fair price package is not an apology of any kind only a way to cover the difference between prices. And received codes are not for preordained games. You can chose them by yourself and if it will happen that you cannot purchase game with such code (because higher price) you could always contact us.
Ideally we would prefer to charge everyone same prices like we are doing it with other games from our store but we are obligated to charge regional prices and we cannot ignore it.
Fucking fuck fuck fuuuuck. I sat there for about 5 minutes just reading it. Was the very first sentence the cop-out I thought it was? What school of customer service even is this? I expected a canned response, but this was a new level of goop. It even told me I should be nicer to a corporation. lol!
Once I had stopped rage laughing, I slapped out a response that even I’m surprised came from my fingers:
I will forgive you for your English, as it seems to be a foreign language for you, but there are fundamental issues with what you have said.
Please do not tell a customer they shouldn't feel the way they do about a situation especially when they explained quite clearly why they feel that. Never tell us how we should feel. That's how you get a reaction that results in people not shopping with you again. A customer does not owe a company anything.
Your organisation exists to make a profit, and we as customers come to a business if it offers us the best service. I am providing you feedback because I would like to receive better service, and have noticed a slip in this service. I have bought many games from Gog and I expect better.
What exactly do you mean by "we are not responsible for those arrangements"? CD Projekt RED develops the Witcher 3 and owns Gog. Your organisation could literally not be closer to the responsibility for the price hike.
I am saying to you that Australians do not want a "fair price package", they just want a fair price. The same price as everyone else. It was a decision made by CD Projekt RED to enter a distribution arrangement that included regional pricing. Perhaps this was the only mechanism available to them to get the publishing they needed in the region, but that doesn't make it fair, and it doesn't make it acceptable.
If people like me don't speak up, this kind of thing will not stop happening. I am saying I am tired of getting ripped off for games merely because I live in the sea when it's the very same chunks of binary being spread from the very same server farms around the world.
I am stating, for the record, that I want Gog to do better. I expect better. Gog had set the standard for DRM-free gaming distribution, and it previously set the standard for pricing fairness. This is unfortunately no longer the case.
I want to see the return of the good old Gog.
So there you have it. Don’t take ripoffs lying down. Complain about it, talk about it, publish blog posts about it. Ensure this discussion doesn’t go away until this archaic, shitful business model does.