The Cost of Free Software

I saw a post in an online game last week that made me pause and think about our industry. Unless you have been living under a rock you have seen a Game of War commercial with Kate Upton or Mariah Carey. They are on TV, in online games, in web banners, and magazines, both electronic and in print. We all know that free-to-play games are not “free”. I was not expecting this announcement on theGame of War blog early on September 24th:

70 Customer Service representatives? For a free game? And that is not enough? So I did a little research and found these tidbits:

Now, they’ve taken mobile games advertising to an entirely new level, allocating a massive $40M budget for not only the ads you’ve already seen, but toward making supermodel Kate Upton the face (and body) of the game.(Forbes Magazine– Nov 2014)

…the coveted DAU estimate (for daily active users who log in and actually put some time into the game) hovers around 2.4 million... (Cinema Blend – Mar 2015)

It is still estimated that over 2 million people actively play Game of War every day with almost 40,000 new installs a day! I can see where 70 people would stay busy supporting that audience. When I went back to the GoW blog I found this update, later the same day.

The lesson is that Customer Service is king. Decreasing response time from 92 hours to 22 hours is quite an accomplishment, made possible because there was a business reason to change CRM tool. On top of that, to plan quadrupling the workforce over the next year represents a significant investment in the customer experience. The multi-million dollar, high profile talent bombarding the public is bringing people into this “free” game and it bears remembering that this “free” game (according to ThinkGaming.com) is currently the #1 top grossing game with a daily revenue estimate of about $1.4M per day!

Customer Experience is a business differentiator every time. What is customer experience worth to your business?

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