Stardock recently released the game Elemental. Unfortunately, when the game launched, it was not nearly as bug-free as many customers expected, and player feedback suggested that it needed a lot of additional tweaking to be a better game.
Not-quite-ready games are an unfortunate reality, but Stardock's response was rather unusual: The software company is working extremely transparently to let customers know exactly what problems they are working on, why the issues are being addressed in the order that they are, and so on. While Stardock is hardly the only company I've seen act with this level of transparency, it is interesting to see a company do it in so much detail, or have the CEO be the "face" of the efforts.
I think this transparency is great, because it shows a potential buyer that problems will be fixed and that the company takes these issues seriously. At the same time, it can also turn away potential customers who see the product's problems. In this instance, I fall into both camps: I am waiting until a few more bugs are resolved before buying the game.
Few companies take it to the extreme that Stardock has done with Elemental. How do you feel about companies exposing their roadmaps to customers?
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.