12 Dec 2011

Indie Advice: Be Nice

Being a dick does get you coverage. I can‘t recall the names of the obnoxious idiots who made a big fuss in the XBLIG scene, but it certainly worked for them. Similarly I‘ve had more press when I‘ve complained about stuff. After all, “MAN IS PERFECTLY SATISFIED“ isn‘t really news.

A cat. Smiling.

I‘m not talking about that though. Be nice. You‘re trying to get a foothold in a fairly small and incestuous industry. Your reputation may well outlive what you‘re currently working on. Being a cock isn‘t going to win you many fans, unless your target audience is cretins.

If a journalist promises to review your game, takes a free copy, and then doesn‘t, it probably wasn‘t out of spite. They were probably too busy, and had genuinely meant to. Sending venomous emails to them demanding an explanation is neither going to get your review written, nor make them want to ever cover you again.

People in forums and comments threads are fully entitled to think your games is fucking shit, and they‘re fully entitled to say so. Arguing with them is not going to change their minds, and it‘s going to make you look like a prima donna.

When some Joystiq readers were discussing how much they hated my game, I dropped into the discussion to say that not everyone will like it, it has its flaws, but hey - have a free copy and see if you change your mind. I‘d done all I could to convince them, I‘d been humble by acknowledging faults, and won over some new fans by being nice.

In customer serving industries there‘s an acronym used when dealing with complaints: BLAST:
  • Believe
  • Listen
  • Accept
  • Satisfy
  • Thank 

Notice that none of those involve getting into a protracted argument, questioning the mental faculties of the complainer, or making comparisons to Hitler.

Every critic is an ally waiting to be turned.