A Survey request from EA/Bioware

I know a lot of people hate EA. I am in the small minority who have really enjoyed their products, and haven’t been dissappointed when purchasing their games. Of course I do a lot of research before buying games, and never buy a game by who it is from – but rather on the merits of the game itself.  I received an online survey request from them through Massive Effect, so figured I would oblige. Survey after the break!

What is your age

I am older. I told EA the truth, but won’t bore you with the details.

Do you own Mass Effect? PC or 360 Version?

Yes I do. And the game is full of win.

On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you?


Do you plan on purchasing Mass Effect 2?

I definitely do.

We would like to ask you some questions about another upcoming Bioware game

ooh, getting more interesting now! SWTOR? Tell me it’s SWTOR!

Are you aware of Dragons Age: Origins?

(Damn, it’s not SWTOR). Yes I am.

Do you intend to purchase it?

Weird here – it has a yes, a yes and preorder, or a no. No ‘maybe’, which is what my real answer is. Since it’s Bioware, and I love their single player RPG’s, I’ll just say yes. (Although I would prefer a maybe).

If Dragon Age: Origins contained an exclusive Mass Effect 2 piece of armor with unique design and stats…

Oh no. You did NOT just go there! I am one of your last defenders EA! Why do this to me!

chose option “I would be no more likely to purchase Dragon Age: Origins than before”

Thank you for completing our survey. We greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts and opinions. Now go play more games!

I will, thank you.

It then took me to the Dragon Age: Origins web page automatically. Of course, my inquisitive nature, I wanted to see what other options were available in the survey if I redid it. It actually LET me take it again. This time, I say I don’t know about Dragon Age:Origins.

Dragon Age: Origins is a new RPG game from BioWare the makers of Mass Effect and Baldur’s Gate. Dragon Age is an epic tale of violence, lust and betrayal. The survival of humanity rests in the hands of those chosen by fate. You are a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians who have defended the lands throughout the centuries. Betrayed by a trusted general in a critical battle, you must hunt down the traitor and bring him to justice. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being Not at all Likely and 10 being Very Likely, how likely are you to purchase Dragon Age: Origins?

That didn’t really WoW me we marketing speak or anything. No pictures of the lust OR betrayal as laid out on their website. Based on the laclustre sales pitch, I pick 5.

If Dragon Age: Origins contained an exclusive Mass Effect 2 demo…

It wouldn’t make a difference. I already told you I own ME1, and will be buying ME2.

And they thank me again and go tell me to play more games.

Who writes these things? How useful is that knowledge they can glean from those kind of questions? Are they that worried about the release of ME2, or just digging to see if they could sell more copies of Dragon Age: Origins? Are preorder sales for DAO crap or something?

I dislike the cross promotion idea. Give me something for being an ME1 purchaser – sure – but don’t push me to another title to get some fancy little widget. Don’t punish me if I am unwilling to drop $60 on a sword and board title I may not interested in. Just seems kind of silly, if you ask me. I don’t like where they are going with that idea one bit, and I hope it doesn’t become commonplace in the industry.

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. That was an entertaining read.

    Do you really expect EA to not pull stunts like this? They are a corporation first and foremost these days, which means an organization the sole purpose of which is to make profits. If they can do it better and faster by buying out all the best independent studios, shady cross promotions, or setting cute little baby harp seals on fire using puppies as kindling they certainly will.

    I’m just happy they are sticking to doing it in games of the same genre. How assenine would it be if we all had to run out and buy Madden to get stuff in Mass Effect?

    As an aside, hot damn was Mass Effect a good game. Only got around to playing it a few weeks ago.

  2. I really do expect EA to not pull stunts like that – and I KNOW I am in the minority on that thought.

    It is a slippery slope once they go down it – especially if they have some success with it. Buy Madden and get a glowing sword of death may NOT be too far off.

    My main gripe, as always with new inducement promotions, is that they don’t reward existing customers. I use my CC for business a lot and get a lot of airmiles (enough for 2 family trips a year) – and I just saw on TV that if you sign up for a new card with my company you get 1 free flight worth of points. I have supported them for 6 years! Throw some love my way for a long time customer.

    In relation to these terms, I bought and played ME1 a lot (I went through the campaign, oh, 7-8 times to try different things and different characters, including all side quests, etc.). While I don’t mind inducements per se – make sure whoever registered a copy of ME1 gets the same thing for being a loyal, longstanding customer.

  3. There’s another reason for this kind of thing as well and that’s that EA, with its consumption of so many studios, has created a kind of internal competition. I wonder if tethering different IPs with similar genres together is an attempt to diffuse some of the attrition.

    What happens to WAR when SWTOR releases? A SWTOR beta code inside a WAR expansion pack perhaps?

  4. @Liam: It isn’t much of a surprise for a publically traded company to leverage it’s assets at all. Look at Activision and WoW. With a few major studios doing most of the buying and selling, I agree that we are going to see all sorts of interesting marketing and business moves from the conglomorates. Whether they pan out, or just frustrate the end user, remains to be seen.

  5. My issues with EA are related to how much they invest in marketing. Not just monetary investment, but their entire decision-making process is driven by it.

    When something doesn’t fly, the axes chop right into game development, never their over-sized marketing department. The end result is churning out the safe bets and relying on fresh acquisitions, but few of those seem to survive this market grinding process for long. Bullfrog, Origin, Mythic, Blackbox, etc., etc.. Maxis is about the only exception, so apparently you need to make the biggest game of all time to stay healthy at EA.

    Call it interesting if you like.

  6. @Rog: “Interesting” is a nice word for it for sure. I just wish companies took a customer loyalty metric when rewarding customers, instead of a “what have you done for me lately” stance. My EA dollars spent number in the thousands over the past 10 years – yet they would prefer to reward someone with a fancy in game item over me if they buy DA as their first title, and ME2 as their second? It just seems so backwards.

    @Yeebo: Damnitall. EA recently garnered some respect in the community with their non Sims 3 DRM stance, this is just going to set them back yet again. Of course, it will probably work out for them proving once again that there is no such thing as bad “press”.

  7. @Chris F: I’d really like to see the bigger game publishers show a bit more love for their customers. You’re right on the “what have you done for me lately” vibes, or worse, being treated like numbers on a chart.

    That’s the thing, they’ve probably done a bit of research that told them they already have X-type customers locked in, but they could have more Y-type customers. So they put in a push for the Y and ignore the X. They’re so busy looking at their graphs and projections, nobody puts the common sense together to realize they’re essentially punishing the fans of one series to cater to another.

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