A week and a half after Diablo III and its two local launches (one being an official launch, the other obviously isn’t), RGB sits down with Qisahn to get their take on what happened.
“I’d like to thank them for playing their part,” said Soon Qishan, owner of local gamestore Qisahn, of customers who had purchased the game from him. He told us how the store’s collection went smoothly because of gamers who had pre-ordered checking their instructional emails and responding. Approximately 20,000 gamers placed orders for Diablo III with Qisahn, following an announcement that they would be selling the hotly-anticipated game some twenty dollars below Singapore’s suggested retail price (as set by Asiasoft – official distributor of Blizzard’s titles in South-east Asia). Some 90% of them replied emails instructing them on how to make payment and how collection would be conducted.
However, that was not to say Qisahn’s Diablo III ‘launch’ went spectacularly. Unsanctioned by the official distributor, Asiasoft, Qisahn began distribution of the game on May 14th – a full day before the game was officially launched. It was not a move that worked to their credit.
An early start with the ‘launch’ also meant a kickstart on customer complaints. A total of 200 to 300 orders ‘went bad’, with 18 parcels that were supposed to be sent by courier being left by the store. These packages were labeled with ‘unregistered’ tracking numbers, but were fortunately discovered to have been left behind instead of lost, by virtue of looking just like any other game packed to be sent via courier.
Digital deliveries of CD keys were also a last minute obstacle, with the keys coming in poorly scanned sheets from Qisahn’s supplier.
“We had to cut out keys individually,” Soon told us, adding that the scans had multiple keys on one page, and were of such poor quality that OCR did not work. The manual process took a much longer time than expected, resulting in digital deliveries arriving late in customers’ inboxes. The poor quality scans were also the main cause of CD keys not working – similar alphabets and numbers, like B and 8, were easily mixed up.
Moreover, while Qisahn is usually known for good customer service, they were overwhelmed and understaffed on their Diablo III launch day. The store usually operates with just eight staff in its Singapore office. Though twenty people were pulled in to help when the eager crowd started pouring in, Qisahn was shorthanded even then. Angry consumers were seen spamming the site’s Cbox, with requests that the support team look into their filed tickets.
To Qisahn’s credit, many customers who followed email instructions to a T, or who simply walked in to grab an unreserved copy of the game, left extremely satisfied. Comments on their page are testament to this.
“Despite the negative posts, decided to try my luck at Qisahn… in and out of the shop within three minutes with two copies of D3 (I did not even pre-order)!” wrote one Derrick Teh on May 16th, on Qisahn’s Facebook page.
“Took me less than three minutes for my D3 collection at 12 pm,” noted Kelvin Tan a week ago on the same Facebook page.
Though less than ten refunds had been filed for as of Friday, 18th May 2012, owner Soon acknowledges that the Diablo III fiasco will definitely hurt his shop. “Some [customers] will be more wary,” he said. Nonetheless, life goes on for this intrepid retailer, who is already thinking of ways to improve large scale game collections in the future.
He’s already decided that Qisahn will be changing their courier collection method. RGB understood that some customers were tardy in verifying their addresses, resulting in their requested courier packages not getting sent out. “We’ll be a bit stricter on such customers,” Soon told us, “and capture [information] correctly right from the beginning for future preorders.”
But on a whole, Soon feels that Qisahn has been “very successful” with its Diablo III preorder.
“There were a lot of customers who went home happy,” he said, adding that though the store has been making mistakes recently, a lower overall expectation of it from customers will empower them to perform much better in the next round.
On our part, we’d like to see what this intriguing videogame retailer has to offer for future launches.
Read about what happened at the Asiasoft launch here.
(Photo from Qisahn’s Facebook page)