Nintendo’s Biggest…. Oh God, generic Nintendoomed Article Title incoming.

I want to talk about Social Media, OK!

So it’s 14 months in and Nintendo have recently addressed shareholders of their slashing of Wii U sales projections and profits.

All four corners of the internet have colluded to have four different epiphanies of which all explain assuredly, the reason why Wii U has so far failed to make – at the very least – a profitable income; and all prodigal individuals involved await Nintendo head hunters appoint them CEO.

But there is no single reason, and there is no single panacea (‘make a more powerful machine’, they scream incessantly from the north western quadrant; ‘that’ll fix it’.)

The truth is that there’s a catalogue of errors – avoidable or that born of an evil star – which have led Nintendo and the Wii U down this road, thusly. Endeavour not, so say I, as this very can of worms procures the right of its own, very.. very lengthy post!

But whilst the usual witless fanboy flame wars have kicked on, I’d like to think I’ve taken a backseat for some months and nurtured an unaffected perspective, which barely, if ever, have I seen discussed in any detail.

If you take the catalogue of error from Wii U’s launch to current day, and divvy that up in to the, let’s say, ‘Pie Chart of Remiss’, it is, in my opinion, that one of the largest slices might be labelled “Social Media Failings”; on the flip-side I would follow that up by suggesting the biggest slice of Microsoft and Sonys’ ‘Pie Chart of Launch Triumph’, would be labelled “Social Media Success (A++)”.

Now that I’ve brought this to your attention – and if you’re someone who follows gaming and gaming community news – I perhaps wouldn’t need to expand on this notion any more at this point. But let’s – just a little.

MS & Sony both have their online social media standard-bearers, respectively, in Major Nelson (twitter.com/majornelson‎) and Shuhei Yoshida (twitter.com/yosp). Between them, these two infamous characters in the gaming scene have used Twitter and Facebook as the ultimate free advertising platform; a hype production-line on overdrive; and the online social media version of a student labour driven Foxconn-of-rebuttal-and-spin on overtime.

And what of Nintendo?

… … … … … Yep… … nadda! Nintendo have handled social media like feckless meek parents in charge of a gaggle of children they can’t control, and let get away with bloody murder. The internet at large (AKA – the gaggle of children) have taken great advantage of this situation and allowed free reign to run rampant with rumour, convenient legend, and most importantly, the good old… anonymous sources – uhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Where Sony or Microsoft would have stepped in with clarification or down-right spin, Nintendo have just rolled over like a cold glassy eyed fish on the fresh counter in ASDA (read: Walmart).

The Wii U isn’t a bad console, and it has enough quality games to justify its current averaging price – with more on the way this year. But what it has suffered from GREATLY, is a positive image on the internet. The Internet is God. And Nintendo are sceptical agnostics at best. Social media and the internet is the first port of call for any new product launch. Get it wrong and you compromise all other efforts. So who could be Nintendo’s social media standard-bearer? Ummmmm… who could it be??? Well, I haven’t got the foggiest </sarcasm>. But it is sad that Hideki Kamiya of Platinum Games (P*) has so far offered more of a social media backbone on Nintendo’s behalf than the whole collective personnel at Nintendo put together!

All I can say is: come on Nintendo,

Play.The.Game.

Do Video Games Make You Angry?

~first draft~

So here I am, back again for my second attempt at blogging. Let’s hope it’s better than my last.

Do they.. Well, do they? I suppose I’ll start by giving a brief history of my hazy, lazy, brain drain-y gaming ‘career’. I burst onto the gaming scene when I was around 10 years of age (1990) with the Commodore 64. I owned many, many games; all the classics: Green Beret, Double Dragon, Barbarian, Chase HQ.. I mean, the list, spongy memory permitting, is potentially endless. Without heading down a road brightly lit by nostalgia I remember them to be pretty good days on a whole.

I haven’t got any memory of being particularly affected in any way negative or otherwise, probably because it was all some time ago now, regrettably! Anyway, I think my next major gaming platform was a Sega Megadrive with a Nintendo Game Boy in between there somewhere. I don’t remember owning many games for the Megadrive, they were too expensive for a child from a working class background to afford, so whenever I could afford it I used to rent games out from the local corner shop.

Was I angry in this time — not that I can remember — but yes, the N64 and its games had an ability to play with my emotional states in other ways.

Next up was what I see as the pinnacle of my gaming life, never to be bettered; the ere of the N64. The system and its games landed in Earth’s timeline perfectly for true gamers of the day. Everything about it was pure 100% gaming perfection. The controller to this day (slight niggles aside) is my favourite gaming pad of all time. The other kids had Playstations but in my opinion despite having some big and very worthy games, was a system for gamers who found the N64 too difficult to play.

After the N64, bar a couple of handfuls of titles on the GameCube, my gaming hobby was on a steady decline. Thankfully the N64 wasn’t that long ago that I can’t still remember what emotions it evoked and stirred within me. I used to sweat, grind my teeth, competitive matches on F-Zero X even often gave me heart palpitations. I once stayed up all through the night playing Turok with my best friend of the time. Once I did finally close my eyes the now crude looking 3D polygons of a time past were burnt in to the backs of my retinas like a sick eyeball tattoo that proved my hardcore devotion to gaming.

Was I angry in this time — not that I can remember — but yes, the N64 and its games had an ability to play with my emotional states in other ways.

After the GameCube, the next Nintendo home console release was the Wii. As previously mentioned my interested in video computer games was in decline but I just had to get the Wii out of a sense of loyalty to Nintendo, I still had much respect for their creative work which everyone else in the industry measures their own by, and still to this days hasn’t matched or exceeded.

At the time of writing this the Wii is coming to the end of its lifespan with the so called ‘Wii U’ readied on the sidelines to take its place. I played all the AAA titles for Wii, Metroid, the Mario games, etc, and I loved them as works of art, but no where near as much as I would have done a few years previous… I guess sometimes you just grow out of things.

but there was a side effect, at times, I would get very, very angry.

Now with some time on my hands and a lack of any AAA Nintendo titles to play, I though I would give Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) on the Wii a go. Not ever owning an Xbox360 or PS3, these FPS games have by and large pasted me by. I think there are too many of them and I think there is nothing big or cleaver about them. I kicked off with the single player mode. I could only bare the first three or four levels: it was dull, boring, and linear; is this what all the kids are playing these days?

There was no way I could play that dross and what pleasure anyone gets some such poor game mechanics boggles me. I moved onto the online multiplayer. Now, this is different I thought. Online gaming was and still is quite new to me so there was a sense of the exotic about the experience. I soon found myself hooked, reaching out to real people around the globe and battling to see who has the best gaming skill. I found myself joining a ‘clan’, which is just a group of players who all meet up and play against other clans to fight for bragging rights.

I began to get better and better and am now able to give some of the best players in the MW3 Wii’isphere a run for their money, but there was a side effect; at times, I would get very, very angry. What I can say is I feel the anger has nothing to do with the theme of the game, warfare, but more to do with that which online FPS gaming entails. The online factor is the only new introduction into the equation.

With online FPS gaming comes many annoyances which have the ability to get right under your skin. On much too many an occasion, you can find yourself in impossible situations, being shot simultaneously from three different directions, and countless other situations which seem to purposefully taunt you like you are having the absolute worst luck of your life and are powerless to do anything about it. Powerless, because most of the time you are reliant on the other players on your team to work with you for the team, which more often than not, they don’t.

Then there are poor network connections which can see you shoot someone fair and square, only for you to realise their network connection is better than yours and they shot and killed you a split second earlier

Compounding on all the above is the single most annoyance of all.. hackers. Hackers who impose themselves on to others are the absolute scum of the gaming world, and it seems MW3 Wii players are at their mercy. They cheat with infinite ammo hacks, 1-shot-kill pokes and aim-bot mods. They can and often do, alter your profile and statistics — as if cheating their way through a match wasn’t bad enough!

The scary thing is, anger is addictive, and I can’t help but feel that the people who make these games induce that emotion along with other Jedi mind tricks tricks to keep people coming back for more torment. It would also explain why there is now a massive FPS market to cater for. These types of gamers are nothing more than people looking for a fix for their emotional peptide addiction.

So the answer to the question is a big fat yes, video games can make you angry, but not all games.

I know that it would be easy to give into the seemingly harmless addiction and continue playing the game, but I know the wise choice would be to just get rid of it and never look back before the anger and irritability seeps through into other areas of my life any more than it already has.

Incompetent Customer Service Received From Dell Computers UK.

This is a summation of the incompetent customer service I received from Dell Computers, UK.

*UPDATE

Dell got back and apologised most sincerely about them not caring and sincerely wished they did. They also wished very much that I just rolled over didn’t care either. Lovely company. It most certainly wasn’t a pleasure doing business with you, but that won’t be a problem again. I have pasted their email reply in at the bottom of this post.

Short Version

I realise the original ‘rant’ version is rather long-winded and perhaps quite boring to read, so much so I now know what tl;dr means! I suppose it was written at the hight of my annoyance and also felt I wanted to go into fine detail just to get it out there. I’m no writer, but I do hope my writing skills improve over time since I’m now officially a blogger!

So, basically: Dell failed to cancel an order I had asked be stopped. The consumer has a legal right to cancel an order for any reason. I called and was issued a’ Cancellation Number’ and told that it will take 12-24 hours. 48 hours later I received an email informing me my order has now been shipped, and credit card, charged. SO, after a lot of phone, email and twitter contact, Dell finally realised I wasn’t going to have the laptop pushed onto me and  intercepted the parcel from the logistics matrix. The card only gets charged when the item is shipped, so because Dell didn’t cancel the order when they were supposed to I then had the major inconvenience of waiting 7 days to be refunded. That might not sound like a big deal to some people, but hey, I suggest you keep that opinion to yourself. Dell did the wrong thing here, plain and simple.

Detailed ‘rant’ Version

Background and situation:

  • I ordered a refurbished laptop from @DellOutletUK on the 15th of January, 2012 at around 4pm, UK time.
  • Sometime later the same evening, I noticed a better value deal for a different model refurbished Dell  laptop on the @DixonsOnline (dixons.co.uk) website.
  • The Dixons laptop had a newer, 2nd generation i3 processor, 1GIG more RAM, a better webcam, and, a better screen over the one I had just ordered through Dell. Not only this, but with the working discount code, this laptop would have worked out £20 cheaper than the @DellOutletUK Dell laptop.
  • As per my basic consumer & human rights, I wished to cancel the order with @DellOutletUK. Surprisingly, Dell Customer Service phone lines operate between 9am-6pm, weekdays, only. So I called first thing the next morning, the day of 16th January, at 9am.
  • Curiously, and baring in mind Dell is (supposed to be) a leading IT company, simple tasks like cancelling orders are turned into complex, convoluted  and drawn out procedures. Shouldn’t they have the most efficient systems in the world? You would think so, right? Wrong.
  • I was issued a Cancellation Number code and told they would ‘confirm’ the cancellation by the afternoon of the same day (their official terms are 12/24 hours.) To add to this, you can only cancel an order if the order status is not flagged as ‘Shipped’, which mine was not. I believe there are also added complications if you wish to cancel a custom built machine, which, again, this wasn’t, it was an off-the-shelve laptop.
  • I graciously recorded the Cancellation Number and thought ‘no big deal.’ I can wait until tomorrow to purchase the better value laptop, it will probably still be there by then. Little did I know my trusting nature was about to be taken for granted.
  • By mid-afternoon the next day, 17th of Jan, I had  had absolutely no contact from anyone at @DellUK, so it was left to me to contact them. I sent a number of emails and received one back confirming it was in process and should be confirmed soon. This was now well over the 24 hours response time as per their terms.
  • By this point I felt powerless to do anything more. I had done all the right things: called and requested the cancellation; backed the call up with emails; I had been polite, courteous, trusting and patient.
  • Fast-forward to 6pm UK, 17th Jan; TWO WHOLE WORKING DAYS after asking for my order to be cancelled,  I received an email with a parcel tracking number and confirmation my laptop had now been shipped. To my absolute dismay.
  • What do I do now? Remember that their phone lines close at 6pm, and there would be little point in sending emails at this point. So, I tried the Dell Live Chat system to try and get some answers (this system closes at 8pm UK time.)
  • The assistant assigned to me could only tell me the Dell Live Chat system acts to help with people who want to make orders, so I asked to speak to his supervisor, to which he promptly did. The supervisor seemed to have little to no experience in how to deal with and treat customers and proceeded to fob me off in a rather patronising tone with vague promises that all is well and I should ignore the ‘Item Shipped’ notice. His advice was proven to be totally wrong and wreckless.
  • Sometime during in this whole debacle, the deal on the better value laptop I wanted to buy had now expired. Thanks to Dell’s incompetence, I had now missed out.
  • By this point I felt extremely upset and let down; lied to and cheated. Dell had cost me money, time, stress and a number of actual, physical, migraines.

  • I turned to twitter and publicly shared my miss-treatment story. One of their ‘social media’ agents, @StephenJatDell, a seemingly nice fellow, was quick to respond and act; picked up my tweet and offered to investigate. This was late in the evening of the 17th of Jan.
  • The next day, 18th Jan, I received 2 phone calls from a very nice sounding Indian gent who informed me he was calling from the aforementioned social media team and queried me over my issue.

By this point, Dell had stressed me out so much that I spoke to this very nice man in a raised tone of voice; my frustration was overflowing and the poor guy was the unfortunate receiver of this release. I didn’t abuse him or anything too bad, but I am not proud of speaking to him with an angry energy which was only due to the ludicrous service I had so far received via Dell’s internal infrastructure and policies.

  • 19th Jan, I received a phone call at the last of the day at 6pm, only to be informed that my laptop had now, somehow, been physically tracked down in the postal system, and apprehended!!!!! AMAZING.

Am I now a happy Dell customer? … What do you think?

Perhaps Dell considered this a result! But only by the letter of the law!

I am a first time Dell customer. Dell had the opportunity to embrace me as a new customer, perhaps a new customer for life. And now? I am an ex, never-to-be-again customer who will never recommend them to anyone. Not only that, but one who is taking the time to write a lengthy and detailed account of my experience on twitter to make aware what other potential new Dell customers will be letting themselves in for. This will be syndicated in as many blogs and Internet platforms as I can get it on to.

I don’t know about you, dear fellow consumer, but I thought customer service was all about making customers happy, earning their trust and in turn, a lengthy relationship. Not to Dell. Instead of giving me the option of a discount or other ‘sweetener’ by way of  apology for their incompetence, they choose to just haul the laptop out of the postal system and throw my money and any future custom back in my face. That is not amazing customer care and relation, it’s not even great… or good… it’s absolute borderline legal bare minimum. That’s disgustingly, fundamentally WRONG.

My bank account will now be refunded in 5 working days… so that’s yet another 5 days + the weekend, meaning 7 days in total, in which I have to wait before ordering any new laptop.

Thanks Dell, thanks for absolutely nothing but stress and disappointment. You should be ashamed of your faceless, soulless, totally unsociable, barely human, amoral attitude to building personable customer relationships. I can only hope that some good comes of this account and all the above points are addressed, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Thank you.

Here is a list of some of the official Dell twitter account users and contacts. This article has been sent to all of them. I will add any replies when and as I get them:

@DellUK
@DellOutletUK
@KerryatDell
@StephenJatDell – (1) I’d like to see if I can help here, can you DM me with details? @DellUK @KerryatDell
(2) I’ll also follow up with them too. ~ that was the last I heard from Stephen! Lovely.
@Dell
@DellOutlet
@DellEnterprise – Just wanted to let you know about @DellCares. Reach out to them for 24×7 customer support via Twitter.
@DellProSupport
@DellCares – Hi Matthew, Please DM Email Address & Order # for assistance. We will forward for UK Support. Thanks, LM
@DellHomeUS
@Direct2Dell
@MichaelDell
@DellDigitalLife – (1) Sorry to hear you have had problems. Have you tried reaching out to @DellCares ?
(1Reply) Yes, but I fear that ship has sailed. I am raising awareness of my abhorrent experience. Thanks anyway
(2) Understandable.. I’ll forward internally for review. Again, I apologize for the unpleasant experience.
@DellSMBnews – I’m saddened to hear we’ve lost you as a customer. At this point, is there anything I could do to assist? ^LPT cc: @DellCares
@DellSmbUS
@DellTechCenter
@DellEDU
@Dell_Mexico
@DellHealth
@DellChannel – Sorry you’re having an issue, @dellcares may be able to help.
@dellhomeuk
@DellHomeSalesCA
@DellHomeSalesAU
@IdeaStorm – (1) sorry to hear you had a bad experience. have you reached out to @DellCares ?
(1Reply) Yes, thanks. I don’t think they read the tweet, just asked for cust & order #, so I don’t really think they care too much :-(
(2) I know you are frustrated but try to be patient, because they really do care. good luck.
@DellIreland
@Dell_Colombia
@Biz_Dell_AU
@DellnoBrasil
@TeamDell
@DellintheClouds
@DellShares
@DellYourBlog
@DellServices
@DellUniversity
@StefanieAtDell
@DellDomicileCA
@DellHomeSalesNZ
@KarenDellCMO
@Dell4Good – Matthew, sorry to hear about ur experience. Have u tried reaching out to @dellcares? They can assist right away.
@Dell_IN
@RichardatDELL – I [sic] have you reached out to @dellcares?
@SusanatDell
@BillatDell
@MartyAtDell
@AnneatDELL
@RobertPatDell
@KaraatDELL
@JJDavisatDell
@KerryatDell
@RishiAtDell – I am very sorry to hear about your experience. Our@dellcares team can address your issue right away.
@ManishatDell
@billjohnston – very sorry to hear about your experience – another great option for resolution is @dellcares
@Kris10Dell
@DellChannelEM
@Lee4Del – I saw multiple threads about this issue between u and many of my colleagues. Were you able to get any resolution 2 your issue?
@LoganatDell – I am sorry to hear this. If you let @DellCares know about the issue they will assist. Thanks, Logan
@HPCatDell
@ReportDellScams
@MattMcGinnis – if you have a service problem, please contact@DellCares. They should be able to assist

———————–
EMAIL FROM DELL CUSTOMER CARE.

Please accept our sincerest apology if we were not able to meet your expectation. And we appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

I honestly do not know what else I can say to win back your confidence in us at this point, surely we will be in constant improvement until we see your business with us again soon, and we will make sure to not allow you to go through the same inconvenience if given the chance.

Your query is being handled by one of my colleague here in Customer Care, Her name is Jasmin. You can reach her through her email at ******

As I have checked the status of your order, this was already been taking care of and the refund was already submitted to our Finance department. Your query was logged under service request # ********.

I will forward this email to her and rest assured that your concern is not being neglected.

Kind regards,

Olga de Leon

Dell UKI Customer Care

UK Customer Services + 0844 444 3792

Ireland Customer Services +1 2044014

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