Online Gaming - 7cs of Customer Interface

The following sample essay on Online Gaming 7cs of Customer Interface Part A Online gaming has become a culture in its own, there is an entire industry for online gaming that incorporates itself in console gaming, gambling and the pc gaming. Almost every game you buy in shopping centres will have an online gaming option whether it is a console game or a pc game. Online entertainment has become a form of human communication and is taking the internet industry by storm.

World of war craft has hit the online gaming demographic with huge success and therefore is the best example of this ever growing industry.

For my half of the website audit I investigated the online gaming craze as a whole industry and did not limit myself to a specific company or topic, I looked at children’s online gaming sites, manufacturer sites for the online the gaming option on consol game units, aggregate sites for free online games and a manufacturer site for the largest online game, world of war craft.

The 7Cs of Customer interface Context In investigating the context of these websites navigation, ecommerce and promotion seemed to be the priority and general purpose of both aggregate and manufacturer websites.

The manufacturer websites like,  where very product based in the aesthetical side of the website, all of the images and themes for these website appealed to the larger demographic that uses this kind of entertainment. The aggregate sites are basically used as portals for the online games and are centred around ease of navigation and feedback on the services available.

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Content Apart from the popup advertising there was not much video or animation involved in any of the homepages for these websites.

The home page seemed to be the centre unit for navigation and was essentially made up of still imaging and text. The only website that offered any kind of detailed background on the company was the wiggles website which had an about us option in the navigation toolbar. All of these websites are high stimulating and, depending on the end users, appealing to the consumer. It seems that online gaming websites are highly individual and highly interactive with the consumer and promotes pull advertising as opposed to push promotion.

Each website offered a product in a different stage in its product lifecycle, blizzard offered a product well into its commitment stage where as xboxworld. com offered a new and innovative product that has yet to be explored. The wiggles websites is more into the exploration stage of its product lifecycle and therefore promoted easy navigation for easy exploration and as the targeted demographic for this site are children under the age of 10 it needs to be easy to use which they have accommodated for. Community Some of these websites offered user forums for members of the site to voice their opinions on the products and services available.

Whereas others offered a rating system that foregrounds the previous users opinions of the services available Customization All of these sites have membership options for frequent visitors to the sites. Being a member allows the user to view in more detail the ratings for games and the popularity of the games available. Communication Mostly forums on the products and five star ratings are the only forms of cross user communicate. Connection Apart from blizzards slow connection time in the opening of the website most of the other sites seemed to be pretty efficient when it came to the riginal opening of the site. The two aggregate sites had navigation points and links to other sites containing the games available which meant a short wait before playing the games as the site had to connect with other websites. Commerce All these sites have membership options. Manufacturer sites offered discounted online purchasing for their products like xboxworld. com offered discount on games and the consols where as to become a member of blizzard you have to register with world of war craft game which cost money to set up your blizzard account.

Webqual Evaluation There are four categories to the Webqual website audit; ease of use, usefulness, entertainment and complementary relationship. In applying this style of audit to these websites no individual website stood out conclusively. All seemed to excel in different areas. Shock wave was easy to use in that it was easy to read and navigate through the programs. Xbox world was the most useful as it catered for the consumer looking for info on available products and discounts instead of jumping straight into the online gaming. The wiggles and the blizzard website provided good form of entertainment in that it was innovative and had appropriate visual appeal for the demographic they were designed to attract. And all of them foregrounded the same kind of image the company behind them strives to achieve. Online Marketing Tool Out of the possible e-commerce option available to the users of these sites, the five star rating seemed to be the best form of ecommerce and consumer behaviour evaluation.

This option allowed a user to give a game or a service a rating out of five. This allowed for user to administration communication and user to user communication. The administrators of the sites are able to see which services or games are most popular and which are not worth keeping on the site, this is a good way of understanding the consumer behaviour of a site majority target market between online and offline services and products. Online Gaming Part B The five websites that I evaluated were all aggregate sites of the online game known as ‘World of Warcraft’. I chose to do this in order to compare all five aggregate sites which provide similar types of service to assess which of them excels from the rest. The 7Cs of Customer interface Context

Context is defined as the look-and-feel of a screen-to-face customer interface. The sites are all designed to focus on the navigational aspects rather than the use of excessive graphics or animations. All five sites feature a nice simple layout with minimal graphics and contrasting colours however thottbot. com is the only site that makes use of a clear white background which creates a sense of calm and draws the eye to the products. The information being provided by all the sites are all nicely categorized and broken down into smaller segments for a more organized presentation.

The search tab is one of the most useful tools when gathering information as it enables fast and easy access to information which allakhazam. com, thottbot. com and wowguru. com makes use of. Content Since the primary role of the sites is to provide users with information, the main mediums used were primarily text and images via the offering mix however wowguru. com takes it one step further by adding audio and video aspects to its contents where users can actually view movies that others have posted on the site for additional information purposes.

Most of the sites use promotions on their front page to advertise their content on the other hand worldofwar. net takes advantage of the appeal mix creating emotional reactions to promote their site. Thottbot. com is the only site that struggles in this category not because it lacks content but due to the fact that the information it provides is inaccurate or out of date. Community Forums are the most used type of medium for user-to-user, user-to-admin and admin-to-user communications. Most of the sites aside from thottbot. om and worldofwconline. com makes use of forums and breaks them down to simple categories for more convenient communications. Additional features were provided by allakhazam. com where IRC chat was used for instant communication between users and admin.

Customization All the sites that has access to forums enables personalization by creating login registrations primarily used so that users can post on forums and also to receive personalized e-mails through the site however further personalization are offered by allakhazam. com and worldofwar. et through upgrading of membership which means that users that upgrade their normal membership to premium membership for a small amount of fee have access to more additional features and customization. Communication Hybrid communication makes use of both broadcast which is a one-way information exchange from organization to user and interactive communication which is a two-way communication between the organization and the user. All the sites use this form of communication aside from worldofwconline. com which only uses broadcast communication.

The main medium for hybrid communication is via the forums or IRC chat option through allakhazam. com. Connection Load times of the sites are fairly quick depending on the internet connection speed of the users however thottbot. com always loads the fastest due to its simple layout and design which consist mainly of a search tab located in the middle of the page. All the sites have links and affiliates to major online stores and other online gaming sites as well increasing traffic and user base. Commerce Worldofwar. net and allakhazam. om are the only two website where registration, security and credit card approvals are utilized via paypal. This is mainly due to the users wanting to upgrade their regular memberships to premium membership for additional features and more customization.

Webqual Evaluation Most of the sites featured a very nicely designed layout with navigational options arranged and categorized neatly having said that the site that excels the most is allakhazam. com due to the consistent balance of both text and graphics. On the other hand worldofwconline. om uses too much text with small fonts making it hard to read and understand. Users would find sites that use the search tab to be more convenient to operate and navigate. The most useful site would probably be allakhazam. com as it provides all the relevant information accurately in a secure environment. The response time however varies in all the sites as post in the forums would only be answered when members log in. Wowguru. com dominates the entertainment category as it is the only medium that features audio and video aside from the text and graphics that all the rest of the other sites posses.

All the sites have a good complementary relationship as there is good synergy between the internet and the company images. Online marketing tool The online marketing tool that is chosen to evaluate the sites is the forums as it is the best form of ecommerce and consumer behaviour evaluation criteria for these sites. The number of posts and user profile accounts were the main determinants in determining which website was the best. With over 1,358,243 user profile accounts and still growing allakhazam. com clearly dominates this field as the closest rival to it which is worldofwar. et only has 172,873 user profiles. The Comparisons Part C A combined effort SWOT Strengths Most sites are compatible with a large amount of other websites and software. Well organized forums and ecommerce options Visually appealing  A large amount of loyal consumers A good depth in user customization Weaknesses Majority of sites lack audio and video capabilities Differentiation is difficult as almost all of the services are available through other companies.

Hard to establish steady cash flow  Must keep up with technology and updates. Opportunities Possible target market for services are ever growing Innovative games and services are easier to promote due to a larger demographic learning to use the internet, innovation in online games is not hard to create awareness for Threats Increasing of competing companies providing similar services It is easy for a company to become obsolete in this industry as technology is always advancing. It is easier for companies to commit reverse engineering on a service or product and provide generic copies. Porters’ Five forces 1 Competition between rival companies is a constant issue for the online gaming industry.

It is hard for any one business to get a competitive advantage over their competitors. A lot of companies are even teaming up in order to cope better with the increasing amount of competition. This will always be a negative force on a online gaming site. This force cannot be avoided as competition is evident in ever industry. The best that can be done is to offer competitive prices and incentives for consumers to continue to use the company’s services or products. 2 The threat of new entrants and innovation with both the technology and reativity of the products available will make it increasingly hard even for a well established company to stay on their feet. The online gaming industry is not a safe industry to penetrate and will never be. The best way to avoid this force from effective the possible success of any one company is to use people’s creativity and continue with good e-commerce and market research that way a company can stay on top of possible incoming trends and fads.

Reverse engineering is a constant problem in the electronic world and the online gaming industry is no exception. The threat of the competition copying your services or products and offering generic products to consumers that could have created cash flow for the original creators is a constant issue. The best way to deal with this negative force is to use the government and protect your company’s ideas and innovations with copyright. Suppliers are always looking to charge more for their products whereas consumers are always looking to get a cheaper price; it is a loose, loose situation for any one company and can only be tackled by either sacrificing the customer satisfaction or risk loosing your supplier and having to find another.

A balance between the two is the most opportune way to handle this dilemma. The rules of supply and demand come into particular focus here. Proper market research and preparation work can help to avoid this issue. 5. As was discussed in the previous issue; consumers are always after a lower price, and ounce again the best way to handle this situation is to conduct decent consumer behaviour research and market research to avoid missing the next big opportunity in the market.

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Online Gaming - 7cs of Customer Interface
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