Greetings, fair readers!
I return from my voyages to the island nations of Taiwan and Japan replete with stories and treasure.
As you've all no doubt heard by now, Three Rings has a partnership with GungHo Online Entertainment Inc. to distribute our beloved pirate game in the land of the rising sun.
Things won't be changing from routine, though. We'll still be developing all of the features of Y!PP in-house here at Three Rings, and translating them to our new Eastern audience. If any of you fancy practicing your writing and reading skills of the Japanese language, this could be your chance!
Speaking of Japan, while I was over there, I noticed a lot of people's jobs seemed to consist of standing around. Staff often outnumbered customers in grocery stores, and walked around welcoming everybody. Once, I saw a fellow whose entire duty seemed to be standing outside a dirt lot greeting people and telling them not to enter the large construction site behind him.
Japan's is a service economy, and my me, the Japanese are really good at it. I stopped by the store once and bought a custard. It cost around $2 U.S., and the young lady asked me about how long it would be before I got home. Based on my answer, she selected an appropriately sized ice pack to package the custard with, put it in a cardboard box that had a separate area for the cold pack (heaven forbid that the two touch while my custard was being kept cold), added a wrapped spoon, taped it shut with a pink flowered bit of tape, placed it in a bag, tied the bag handles in a bow, and handed it to me, bowing, and with the most cheerful, chirpy thank you I'd ever experienced.
All of this was very interesting to me, and not just because the custard was delicious. Online games, especially MMOs that are updated regularly with new content and features, are also a service industry.
Different companies have very different approaches, of course. Some will listen to suggestions and complaints more than others. I am curious to see how much good service affects a game's success, and if Japan gets into the online games business, I really want to see how they'll blow the whole service thing out of the water and raise the bar.