Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MCF dilemma

I have a bit of a dilemma at the moment. Until recently, I used to regularly buy games from BFG – from the US-site (that’s important in this case). At the moment I’m preparing to leave the site and this is why.

As a customer from outside the US, I had set my pricing to USD (as the US dollar is weaker than the Euro and so I saved some money). I was used to the VAT being added to the game price – it’s the same on every US-site. But now, BFG doesn’t just add the VAT, they add more to the price to make it – and I’m quoting here – ‘visually pleasing.’ In other words: I pay more per game than just regular US price plus VAT – and they claim it’s to make the price look better. I’ve no problem with, for instance, $8.34 as the final price for a game – and to me it looks a lot more ‘pleasing’ than $8.99. So I’ve decided to quit my membership and stop buying games as soon as I’ve cashed my last credits there (as I’m not going to hand money already paid over to them for nothing).

But now it’s the day before Thanksgiving in the US and the new Mystery Case Files game, “The 13th Skull” is Tomorrow’s Game Today (meaning members get to buy the game one day before the rest of the customers). It’s the collector’s edition (more expensive, but with additional content) and normally I would have bought it outright. But this time … I’ve heard so many bad things about the game before (buggy, with real actors – still not good in games and the MCF always had a ‘lone wolf’ looking for clues). I’m not going to pay more than a US customer (aside from VAT, of course) for the game, either. ($13.99 plus VAT still is less than $17.99, the current ‘visually pleasing’ price for non-US customers.)

I’d like to have the new game – I’ve bought and played all the others before … heck, I’m currently running an informal MCF challenge over at the Pub. I’d also like to stay with BFG, because most of the time they did okay (apart from the Dracula 3 issue a couple of weeks ago). But they didn’t even explain it to us – us non-US customers buying from the US site at US prices (plus VAT). No email or other notification. Those who are no member of the Pub or read the forum at BFG will not even know why they’re suddenly charged more. Simple calculation (not by me, copying here): 50 % of the US site’s customers are non-US residents (according to an interview with the owner of BFG), only about 5 % of the customers (US or otherwise) read the forum entries. This means that 97.5 % of all non-US customers have no idea why the prices for them have just gotten up (50 % of 5 % are 2.5 %, 100 % minus 2.5 % are 97.5 %)

What to do? I guess the abysmal quality of the new release (release and first fixed release on the same day) and the bad reviews I’ve read over at the Pub are helping here: not buying.

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