Adam R. Wood (zotmeister) wrote,
Adam R. Wood

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No, really, seriously.

Why the fuck can't some companies respect their customers anymore?

I don't get it. At all. If a company can't have an iron-clad privacy policy - if it needs to exploit their customers in ways totally unrelated to their business for whatever profit they can scrape together for it - then what on Earth is it doing in business to begin with? Is their product or service not good enough? Why must they insist upon being outright evil?

I expect that sort of crap out of, say, Electronic Arts. They make no attempt to hide that they are evil to the core, and perhaps even flaunt it, despite clearly being in a financial position where they have no need to be that low whatsoever. Case in point: Burnout Revenge for the Xbox 360 actually presents the player with a bloody user agreement that (unlike every other Live-playable game I've ever seen) requires the player to agree to set up an account on a separate service called EA Online in order to play it over Live. It says, right there, that as part of this procedure, permission is granted by the player to have Microsoft hand over es personal information (from their Live account) to EA. And then, quite a ways below that - buried amongst the drivel - it also states that EA can then pass this personal information on to third parties. Pretty much whoever they want, whenever they want. Here it is, straight from the game:

"From time to time, we are approached by companies and organizations that provide products or services that we believe may be of interest to you, and we may provide your personal information to such third parties. We see this as a value-added service helping you to find useful products or services. We strive to limit use of the information you provide to those offers that we think you would appreciate receiving."

Although the next few sentences provide opt-out details now...

The subjectivity of that policy is reprehensible, and that's even if they do take the "we believe" angle seriously. If I didn't know that tablesaw doesn't have an Xbox 360, I'd suggest the reason e gets Scientology mail is that EA gave them es address.

The game has quite a few very easy achievements that require online play. Sorry, but I will not whore out my identity for Gamerscore. They can go fuck themselves.

"But surely," you may well wonder, "bitching about EA isn't enough for the Zotmeister to warrant a journal entry, is it?" Of course not - too pedestrian. I only told you about that to tell you about this: I'm here to bitch about SNK Playmore.

Yep, that's right: SNK Playmore. A company with a very focused customer base, consisting almost entirely of fans of the old NeoGeo fighting games. A company lauded as an underdog and praised for carrying the torch for their fans. In other words, the last company you'd expect to be evil.

What did they do? Well, at first they were dumbasses: they left a game-crashing, progress-killing bug in their initial release of Card Fighters DS. The bug has a 100% chance of manifesting. It's not subtle, or random, or avoidable - it's a guaranteed impasse. In other words, its something that not only the testers should have found with ease, but that the programmers should have seen coming to begin with. It takes a gross level of incompetency to overlook the likes of that, much less get it published and distributed.

It seemed, at first, that they were going to do the right thing, if by "do the right thing" I mean "make up for their error" rather than "not be dumbasses in the first place". They announced a recall, and are now ready to take back the flawed game cards in order to send out replacements next week. All you have to do is follow three easy steps...

...and the first step, which they insist is necessary, is to register the game. Which, of course, requires that not only do you have to give them your personal information, but that you have to give them permission to - well, here, read it yourself:

"From time to time, we are approached by third party companies and organizations that provide products or services that we believe may be of interest to you. To extend these products or services to you, we may use your personal information (e.g., email address) to send you notices on their behalf. We strive to limit these notices and communications to those that we think you would appreciate receiving."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? And nothing about opting out, either - you register, your information is theirs to do with as they please. There's a "Would you like us to share your information with other companies..." question on the registration form, but it certainly isn't binding. It isn't even phrased to look like asking for permission - it's as if it were a stupid poll or something. They can sell your information whether you like it or not!

It all looks like a kidnapping scheme: "If you want to see your game bugfixed, tell us what we want to know..."

I will not whore out my identity to get a game fixed that should have been working to begin with. I will not allow SNK Playmore to profit from their fuck-up, especially at my expense! They can slit their wrists, throw themselves off balconies, and then fuck themselves.

I'd love to read a privacy policy that goes like this:

"From time to time, we are approached by third party companies and organizations that provide products or services that we believe may be of interest to you. We tell them to fuck off and go build their own customer bases, thank you very much."

Now that is a policy I could stand for. That sounds very much like a company I'd like to support. Until earlier today, I'd have thought SNK Playmore would be such a company, but clearly I was wrong. I feel very much betrayed. I sincerely doubt there is anything they would do to make this right and make me feel comfortable buying anything they made or will ever make ever again.

Oh, and by the way: if you're under thirteen, you can't get a replacement even if you were willing to share your personal information with their whims, since you can't register. "Sorry, law says we can't exploit you that way, so you don't get a bugfix. You keep our faulty game and we'll keep your forty bucks - no law against that." - ZM
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