Error 37? Eh, I’ve Got Your Customer Service Right Here!   9 comments

I was in the middle of working on a post about Symbiosis when I came across some information regarding Diablo III that was so awesome that I had to stop and share. While everyone in the world has been battling full servers, error 37 and a myriad of other Diablo III launch issues, I wanted to take a minute and highlight a truly amazing step that Blizzard has taken for their Australian clientele. I do not know if you are aware of the troubles that GAME Australia has recently faced, but they have recently (and rather untimely for Australia’s Diablo playerbase) entered into “Administration”. From what I can tell, this is relatively equivalent to Chapter 11 Bankruptcy here in the United States.

It seems that it’s an attempt by the company to enter into re-orginization, and in the process adjust (or erase) many of their debts, so that they can continue operations. What that means is that the company becomes protected from their creditors while an attempt is made to see if the company can be salvaged – or if they need to go into a full on bankruptcy (chapter 7 here in the US) and liquidate/cease to exist. It is not uncommon for a bankruptcy to be assigned a trustee (in this case administrator) to continue the business operations while a company is undergoing a bankruptcy. It is also not uncommon for unsecured creditors to basically have to kiss all or part of their investments, inventory or funds goodbye.

What is so unfortunate in this situation is that everyone who put down any amount of money for a pre-order of Diablo III, be it a reserve amount or a payment in full, fell into the category of an “unsecured creditor” in this circumstance – as the Administrator determined that GAME would not be receiving any copies of Diablo for sale (the reasoning for this makes a lot of sense – the cliff’s notes version is that likely the Administrator is preventing the purchase of any additional assets, or accrual of additional debt, to protect GAME’s current creditors). Unfortunately, what this meant for Australia’s GAME customers is that they were pretty much left in the cold, holding a claim for the funds that they paid, with nary a hope of ever receiving a nickel of it back.

But then Blizzard did something that I honestly cannot say I’ve seen any other third party company do in a Bankruptcy – they stepped up and protected their customers. Or, to put it another way, Blizzard stepped in and cleaned up a giant mess that GAME left for those who pre-ordered Blizzard’s intellectual property from GAME.

We’re aware that some Australian GAME customers have been left out in the cold on what should be the hottest night of the year — the launch of Diablo III. To help with this situation and get these players into the game as soon as possible, we’ve put the following process in place.Australian GAME customers with a valid preorder/prepurchase receipt dated before May 15, 2012 can do the following:1. Purchase the digital version of Diablo III from now or anytime before May 21, 2012.

2. Download and start playing when the servers go live!

3. Submit your GAME Australia preorder/prepurchase receipt to us before June 30, 2012.

4. Receive a credit from Blizzard, for the amount you paid in advance to GAME Australia for Diablo III. This credit will be applied to the payment method used for the digital purchase.

We’ll post further details here on how to submit your GAME Australia receipt to our customer service team as soon as possible. Stay tuned, and we look forward to seeing you in the Burning Hells!

Basically, what is happening here is that Blizzard is paying GAME’s unsecured creditors who own a claim for any part of the cost of Diablo III. Which means that Blizzard is going to absorb the loss of GAME’s poor business decisions, to ensure that Blizzard’s customer’s aren’t getting the short end of this particular stick. I haven’t done a ton of research on if other companies have taken similar steps in the past – so I cannot say that it is “unprecedented” – but I will say that this is extremely rare. And amazing. Really, really amazing.
So the next time you are really angry at Blizzard about something (like not having the smoothest of game launches or nerfing paladins), and you want to accuse them of not caring about their players, I implore you to remember this. Because I am going to straight up say that this is far more than “above and beyond” on Blizzard’s part. I take my hat off to you, Blizzard, and will say that you have gained an innumerable amount of esteem with me.

Posted May 15, 2012 by Beruthiel in Off-Topic

9 responses to “Error 37? Eh, I’ve Got Your Customer Service Right Here!

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  1. I’m so glad you wrote about this, Beru! So often we forget that Blizzard’s customer service really is quite good, especially when compared to equivalent companies. They absolutely didn’t have to do this, but if I was one of the people affected, this would guarantee me to be a loyal lifetime fan, that’s for sure. Much kudos to them here.

  2. Thanks for posting about this, it’s good news to get out there.

  3. Unbelievably, some people are trying to diminish the benevolent gesture here (see Wow Insider comments).

    • So goes the internet forum community. A dude could cure cancer and there would still be people pissing and moaning about it (Didn’t cure it fast enough, did not make enough cure to meet immediate demand).

    • Eh, a lot of people probably just don’t understand exactly what happened. And a lot of people also just like to complain about anything 🙂

      It is a shame, but I agree with Johnathan, people on the internet will be jerks about anything!

  4. It was a business-savvy move, done because they made some internal calculations and realized that they wouldn’t be losing an unacceptable amount of money on doing this. Why lose an assured number of Diablo 3 Expansion 1,2,3 customers now by NOT doing this move, when you can take a pocket-change loss of probably couple of million dollars and make it up through, as I said, future expansions as well as, NOW I REMEMBER, money made from RMAH transactions.

    At 22 million people, it’s not like Australia has offered hundreds of thousands of Blizzard gamers, so, lets just say 100k Australians ordered through GAME.
    If all 100K put down 50$, Blizzard’s loss is 5 million, which is something that Activision will have no problem spinning/explaining it to their investors in the quarter call.

    To put it another way, ANY gaming company will do something like this if it will make sense financially (I mean, would you do this if you KNEW that pulling such a move would bankrupt you?). So, small, acceptable loss now, guaranteed bigger reward later.

    • Blizzard did nothing wrong to make these people in their unfortunate situation. I imagine most of them would sigh and repurchase the game. This is amazing PR, but is not primarily a financial decision (unless you want to argue that good will over the next 10 years is more valuable than a few million dollars).

      • The amazing PR was the “hoped for” CONSEQUENCE of a financial decision, and this financial decision was made because they could afford to make it. As I said, no matter how good the PR could potentially be, they would not have done this if they could not afford it financially.

  5. Lol I’m such a mess emotionally today that this actually made my eyes tear up 😛

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