Be warned.. this is a looooong post.
In one of the most public and recent issues that the local games community had to face, Datablitz was recently raided by CIDG operatives last monday after X-play issued a complaint against the local game reseller giant ofÂ unfair competition.
Now I won’t go into the details about the conspiracies people have concocted about the whole mess. We already have Reimarufiles with his analysis of all that’s happened. We also have Gerard interviewing people from DB themselves and issuing his own thoughts on the matter. And if you’re looking into a blow by blow account of what happened. I for one made it easier by making a running timeline/update of the whole thing (in my pov as the info came in at least).
Names have been called, sides have been taken- and basically in typical pinoy fashion, we went out to the cyber streets and aired our voices/opinions through the various channels that are available to us. However, amidst the voices of the masses crying for blood and the various hate messages being spread through the net because of this. The lines of subjectivity and objectivity have been blurred specially since we gamers are the passionate kind.
Being passionate is good, but sometimes we need to have a cool head and look into what happened with a critical eye.
So as things have somewhat settled down- I decided to take a look back and see what really happened and hopefully we can at least shed some light on some of the things we ignored.
I’ll be trying my best to not include of the conspiracy theories that we have concocted as the issue happened. The analysis would try it’s best to be based on the facts that I have (and on some occasions, some personal experience, relevant to the whole situation). And as much as I can, try and take things with a grain of salt.
So here goes:
I must say that DB played this one just right. Being the aggravated party, they were able to garner the support of their very diverse fanbase (haters and loyalists alike) and be their defenders and spokesperson. They also did well in releasing a statement that not only solidified their position as the bullied ones, they were able to appeal to the customers and indirectly marketed themselves as a company that truly cares for it’s customers.
I applaud DB for handling this issue beautifully. Not only were they able to gain a considerable number of supporters- they were able to position themselves better in the exchange between X-play.
Also, I noticed that Datablitz only released two statements on the whole issue. They didn’t need to cite proof unlike what X-play did or even call a sudden meeting for the media to explain their side. The community gobbledÂ everything up and took everything that Datablitz said with a grain of salt. Why? Because of two things:
- Datablitz already has a track record of providing legit copies of games and that it never ever tolerated piracy in any form or way
- Datablitz offered a cheaper option to the consumers and that’s the most important thing
Think about it, Datablitz in it’s 17 years of operation actually knew what the people want. And that is, cheaper games. While their after service and pre-ordering issues has caused problems for buyers in general, they almost always sold cheaper games compared to the other resellers (and in this case, X-Play).
As for the validity of the copies DB have, it’s only the courts to decide since X-Play claims they have strong legal proof for labeling the DB copies to be unauthorized.
If this were a court case, DB knew that it was about the jury (us, customers) and appealing to us is THE end game .
X-play in all it’s hopes to be “right” in the whole fiasco, not only ruined their name. They indirectly strengthened Datablitz’ position in the market. They got the shorter end of the stick in this whole mess. I must say however, that we should understand that the company is, well, a company. All of us who are working should know that interdepartmental communication (ideally) should be open and free flowing. But in reality it doesn’t work that way. And this whole mess is probably a clear example for that.
Hence my analysis for X-play would be two-fold. And you’ll see why.
I’d like to start with X-Play’s legal counsel. I don’t know if they went for an outside source on this or they have their own legal department. But the mistakes they did here was obvious and if I may say, fatal. In their “quest” to do their client good, they forgot that there’s another underlying factor at play here. The customers, and how their client’s image would look after all this has happened.
If the legal counsel of X-play even thought of that I don’t think they would’ve taken the actions that they did. I’m not saying that in a perfect world they should’ve ignored the wrongs DB did against them (based on what they said). But what I’m saying is that they should’ve considered what the customers would think before going in. They should’ve thought that even if they have “legal” papers giving them the right to do what they did. They should’ve at least released a statement to the public that there’s this problem that’s happening between them and Datablitz. Instead, the only time we heard of this “problem” was when the raid happened.
Also, the legal department should’ve kept the operations updated with what was happening- because as seen by the fallout of what their actions did, the operations team (or so I like to call them) were blindsided with the questions and now they are being called liars for being “ignorant” of what has happened.
Next would be the products/operations team. After seeing the papers chronicling what really happened and heard of what your plans were, I’d say that you guys have fallen into the same mistake people in their positions make. The average NBA fan,Â would not care less for having a more “enriched” NBA experience. What they want is a cheaper game and that’s that.
I have seen this oversight by product managers in the line of work I’m in. Yes, in paper the “gimmicks” would seem good, but they never did once consider what the customers wanted. People who would want a “better” experience would’ve already paid for that, and in this case people would’ve lined up for theÂ “NBA 2k13 Dynasty Ed.”. People do not want to spend more than they should and if they would, it better be something worthwhile let’s say, anyone who got the X-play ver. of NBA 2k13 can stand a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to an NBA all-star game (I mean NBA fans dig that right?).
The lack of X-play’s consideration to the end game (ie. customers, or rather to what they really wanted) led to the mess that may have ruined X-play’s name for years to come.
Now this side of the whole fiasco, was actually given light to by sir Jing Garcia (InterAksyon) during the emergency meeting of X-play. He mentioned the similarities of the Datablitz report and a Fake Knorr report that was posted on the CIDG website.
After I inspected the two reports, I also noticed the same similarities. If you’d noticed, the way the reports were written had similarities such as, the way some paragraphs were started and written. It would seem that they just changed the names of the people in charge and the “case” that was presented to them.
Also, I’d also like to express the lack of the use of the term “alleged” when Datablitz was accused of smuggling the games into the country. The lack of thoughtful consideration on how the report was made not only insulted Datablitz, but it also insulted the patrons of the store, and indirectly saying “so, the store you’ve been buying original games from? they’re smuggled”.
Also, I have no idea if “detaining” the staff was part of the SOP of the CIDG for such matters, it complicated things more since the people see them as the innocent once. And making them suffer through the overnight stay in jail just plainly cried out foul for the people.
Of course, in the end- they don’t really care about the customers really as long as they did their “job”.
Now this would be the last focus of the analysis. In fact, it was because of the first news report (that GMA news changed without even apologizing or clarifying the change) that came out that triggered this whole mess. The haphazard use of the word piracy into the raid not only seemed lazy, but it also insulted the intelligence of the patrons of the store who practically knew better.
I’m glad at least that Bombo Radyo retained their earlier report but the way GMA News removed and even changed the whole post without so much as a sorry reeked of a cover up. Since the company had ties to X-Play through IPVG, it should’ve been expected that people would jump the gun and think that GMA was trying to cover it’s bases to come out squeaky clean.
Plus the only proof we have of the earlier GMA post is at Yahoo news.
I sympathize to the person who did the report, he/she’s probably be one of those writers who are forced to work with the PRs released by agencies and are unable to get out of the office to verify the info. I mean, that happened to me when I was OJT-ing for a wire agency, and I experienced first hand how the Police handle “newbies” or the less hardened journalists.
But of course, there’s no excuse for bad reporting.
I personally think that this would’ve been avoided if X-Play issued an official statement first and went to legal matters next. At least, the ramifications wouldn’t be as severe. But that as the saying goes is that.
Majority of the local game community has formed an alliance against X-Play, (at least the very vocal ones). In as much as I’d like to say that we are the forgiving kind, reality is, we’re not- and we remember. In the end of this whole mess, it’s now the courts to decide. But in the community’s mind though, the case is already a closed one.
And in the end, (specially with December and bonuses coming in) that’s going to be the deciding factor.