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General : "The Customer” Is Not Always Right


In this week's column, Sanya Weathers addresses issues raised in a colleague's column earlier in the week, stating that both "the customer" and "the developer" are misnomers.

"The Customer" is not always right, and neither is "The Developer."

The reason for this is simple. There's no such thing as "the customer" or "the developer" in the MMO world.

Speaking of an MMO customer as a single entity is madness. Even a small MMO has tens of thousands of customers. The only thing they are all certain to have in common is that they need to breathe air. The age span will run from toddler to senior citizen. The intelligence level will vary from illiterate cretin to Asperger-iffic engineer. There are a few incredibly good looking people, and there are a few, er, Morlocks.

Most players are right in the middle of every possible bell curve. In fact, the divergence amongst the typical MMO playerbase is mostly found in their opinions about the game. If you've got ten thousand customers, and you ask them all for their opinions, you will have ten thousand different ideas on what the game really needs. There will be broad areas of agreement, of course, but everyone will have their own spin based on their wildly divergent play styles, the amount of time they prefer to spend on gaming, their class, their preferred visual style, how well they read, to what degree they prefer immersion, how fast they type, how much time they spend on consoles, their reflexes, their personalities, their past experiences with MMOs, and their socioeconomic niche. Probably their marital status, too.


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