UK games studios and basic business failures

Recently I had reason to contact a bunch of UK games studios. I thought the hard bit would be to find the names of all those out there. Actually, the hardest part was navigating their websites to do the outrageous thing of daring to send them an email…

Here’s a question for anyone lamenting the unlucky business lives of games companies: If your business cannot be easily contacted, how many opportunities do you miss before you even get a chance at them?

Plenty of failures, but some particularly amusing(ly bad) examples I’ve cherry-picked:

e.g.: http://www.freestylegames.com/contact.php

You can *phone* them on a pay-per-minute number (nice!), but you cannot email them. Brings new meaning to the phrase “(their) time is (your) money”.

e.g. http://firebrandgames.com/contact.htm#

The contact page shows up as the “games” page.

Wow. Great QA on your website there, guys. Did *no-one* check it before going live? Do you visit it yourselves?

(and the only things you’re allowed to talk about are jobs and PR. What does this tell you about their priorities, I wonder?)

e.g. http://www.fireflyworlds.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=330&Itemid=314

You can download PHOTOS OF THEIR OFFICES 11!!!!!!1111 (featured not just once, but twice, on that page) … but you cannot speak to them.

e.g.: http://darkenergydigital.net/contact.php

Apparently, the only two possible reasons anyone would contact them is because there’s a bug in their games (support@), or they want a job (jobs@). Hmm. Again: does this reflect studio priorities?

e.g. http://www.hanakogames.com/about.shtml

No contact address, link, or form anywhere. Nice!

e.g. http://www.full-fat.com/

When you click the “contact” button, you get this monstrosity:

javascript:location=’mailto:\u0068\u0065\u006c\u006c\u006f\u0040\u0066\u0075\u006c\u006c\u002d\u0066\u0061\u0074\u002e\u0063\u006f\u006d’;void%200

(hackers trying to cross-site-script attack your browser? Or just a deeply incompetent web-designer? I’ll let you decide…)

HINT to Full Fat: webmail. Yeah. Think about it. Over 1 billion people use webmail as their primary mail client these days. Hmm.

e.g. http://www.nitrome.com/contact/

Their email is a Flash app.

A FLASH APP. To display 40 characters of text. Ya, Rlly.

Also: it doesn’t work. When you run it, it displays the text, but won’t allow you to copy it. Huh? I have to manually transcribe the letters. Why? Why, for the love of all that is good?

(and if your spam-protection is really so outdated (and FAIL: you really don’t understand where spam comes from, do you, guys?), then why didn’t you just put a static image in there instead?)

3 thoughts on “UK games studios and basic business failures

  1. Hanako

    There IS an email address listed on the site, it’s just not on that page. For a reason.

    I *really hate* blind business contacts. Despite not having an obvious mail link on that page, I still get plenty of people spamming me, asking for work or offering me services I have zero interest in. Anyone who is thinking of me as a “games company” rather than knowing me specifically and what I do is almost certainly going to offer me something wildly inappropriate. And no, I don’t want a contract to make games for people. :)

    It is possible that I’m overly paranoid, yes. My attitude to easy access comes from having come out of a community filled with very young boys who responded rather ridiculously to a female developer in their midst. So I eventually picked up the habit of “If you can’t figure out how to contact me, you don’t need to.” There are a zillion easy ways to reach me if someone actually wants to talk to ME enough to spend a minute or two looking.

  2. adam Post author

    @hanako

    Yes, it’s very much up to you whether and how you allow yourself to be contacted easily. If it were a couple of isolated incidences, I’d have said nothing.

    But it quickly became obvious as a strong general trend: companies self-identified – or publicly identified e.g. On Wikipedia or e.g. On trade associations – as “game studios” were practically passive-aggressive in how difficult they made it to do basic communication with them.

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