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Reality Series Part 2: Game Registrations

By Rumpy

The Reality series will be a 3 part series focusing on things that affect our lives, either directly or indirectly into our gaming habits, or things that just plain tick us off! In Part two, we deal with Game Registrations and their usefulness..

So here we are. It's Part 2 and I'm going to be talking about Game Registrations. I've gotten lots of great feedback on them and I will talk about them and people's experiences with them. Are they useful? Maybe. Game Registrations are supposed to give the consumers the security of knowing they can get all the support needed from a certain game or products. They were very different just 10 years ago.

They often felt more personal in the aspect that if you registered a game, you'd get something in return like an unexpected benefit as one person named "Marian" claims whom I'll quote:

"It was very different 10 years ago or so; then, when there were fewer gamers out there and fewer computer owners, registration sometimes brought unexpected benefits. Lucasarts called me back in 1987 or so when they were working on the second Monkey Island and invited me to come down to their offices and beta test the game. They had looked on the registration cards for people who lived near them who would find this feasible."

So, what has changed since then? Game Registrations feel very impersonal these days. So much so that most of the people I have asked for feedback from have said that they don't bother to register their games. It often feels as though Game Registrations are used much more for marketing purposes alone far more than for technical support. They open the door to Tele-marketing calls as some have gotten them, instead of a call from the game company like "Marian" had. Here's another experience from her:

"I didn't use to feel that registration was just opening up the door to telemarketers. Apart from the Lucasarts phone call mentioned above, I can remember years ago getting a phone call from Legend as a follow-up to my having registered, just wanting to know what I did and didn't like about their games. It was a fun call actually; they were not trying to sell me anything. I used to mail in my Sierra registration card because you got a year's worth of free issues of Sierra Interaction magazine, and I thought that was a good incentive also. Now people don't seem to bother because nothing seems to come of it, primarily customer service, and isn't that what it is supposed to be for? Just as an example, me, and a friend and another friend of mine *all* bought Ultima 9 Ascension when it first came out and we all had registered the game. Later on, when EA announced that all registered owners would receive a new install CD, not one of us received one!"

So, you see, one has to wonder what incentive game companies are giving to make it worth registering. One important thing to think about is that companies use registrations to gauge how successful a certain game is. Isn't that What PC Data uses as data to calculate game sales? It's feedback to them and what do we get in return? A telemarketing call. Yuck! So, Adventure Game players might be in a difficult situation here. Not registering a game because they know there's no incentive, but at the same time they want to help and show their support for the genre. I can't blame them for not wanting to, but I can only wish that companies would go back to the olden days of game registrations.

One person has said that we would be very upset if we knew what those little legal mumbo jumbo forms where you "agree" were saying. Also, the Internet is one of the reasons for the impersonal attitude that companies have adopted. There's a bigger market on the Internet, and so they figure they don't have to be as nice to people anymore since they can gather more of a crowd with their Internet Registration Schemes. Boy, have times have changed! Also, another thing to think about is the aspect of Beta Testing. Does being registered for a certain company give you more of an advantage to become a beta tester for another game from that same company? That's what I thought at first and I don't think it's valid anymore, especially with the new Beta Testing Contests that have started lately. Also, there are some games and software that don't allow you to install without registering. Now there's a bad practice if I ever saw one. Big Brother seems to be watching.

Will we ever see the return of incentives for registering? Or will we have to not register any games for companies to get the message? Will Tech support ever change to acknowledge those who do? Maybe all of these will or won't, but the fact is, we're frankly tired of not getting any incentives and it sucks!

 

Stay Tuned for Part III coming soon!

Until Next Week - Happy Gaming!

Question of the Week: Do you Agree with this article? Did you think I was too harsh on companies and registrations? Post your comments in the forum or email me. Unique comments will be used in an upcoming 'Letters to H2H' section!