Thread: RE: Atari Sale
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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2078
03-03-2010, 09:18 PM
This is a recap of the promotion and the resulting firestorm for those who don't want to read 206+ pages. Please note I'm trying to be objective. Let me know if I missed a major "event".

Friday, February 26th
  • Atari/Cryptic offers a $10 discount on all ST:O boxes sold only by Atari until March 3rd. This promotion also comes with an additional 60 free days on top of the included 30 free days, for a total of 90 days of free playtime. This promotion comes less than a month after ST:O "officially" goes live.
  • Some existing subscribers, many of them who have been with the game since Closed Beta, feel slighted by the timing of this promotion (and specifically the 60 additional free days) and begin to express their displeasure on the official forums.
  • Numerous threads appear on the official forums over the weekend expressing outrage at the promotion, which is viewed by many as a blatant "money-grab". Some posts, by both protesters and supporters of the promotion, are contentious.
Sunday, February 28th
  • GM_IndigoFyre, the administrator for the official ST:O forums, stickied the primary protest thread, stating "it wont leave the top of the page until the question gets answered." (See here)
Monday, March 1st
  • The thread GM_IndigoFyre stickied is unstickied and closed, along with any other thread relating to subscribers protesting the Atari/Cryptic promotion. All of the closed threads are redirected to a new thread created by Community Rep Phoxe titled "Re: Atari Sale".
  • Rumors begin to appear on the forums that Atari/Cryptic are no longer giving refunds on lifetime subscriptions, whereas on Friday Feb. 28th they still were. While the sales agreement at the time of purchase stated clearly that lifetime subscriptions were non-refundable, Atari/Cryptic had been refunding them anyway. Now it seemed that instead of counting the 30-day window for return from when the registration key was entered Atari/Cryptic were now counting from when the purchase was actually made. Since many had purchased early, this change eliminated them from refund consideration. This change in return policy does not occur until the beginning of the workday, US Pacific Time (mid-afternoon UK time).
  • Some subscribers, many of whom were very vocal in protesting the Friday promotion, begin to be banned from the official forums. Many of those protesting the Feb. 28th promotion view this as blatant censorship. Some of those who were banned take their protests to other industry-related forums. News of the negative reaction to the promotion spreads to those websites and beyond. (See here)
  • The promotion that started it all is altered to remove the 60 free days. The $10 price reduction is left intact.
  • Cryptic customer service representatives claim that at no point were 60 free days offered in the promotion, despite an email being sent out to many ST:O players stating otherwise.
  • At 3:38pm PST Director of Customer Service GM_Marauder makes an official statement regarding the promotion and the backlash surrounding it. (See here)
  • Rumors begin circulating that CSR's have refused to honor the terms of the promotion, specifically the 60 free days. Community Rep Phoxe states unequivocally that the terms of the promotion would be honored. (See here)
Wednesday, March 3rd
  • Community Rep Phoxe creates a stickied (and locked) thread titled "I Quit" Threads, and states that they will immediately close any "I Quit" thread due to the negativity surrounding them. (See here)
  • General consensus regarding the Feb. 26th promotion is impossible. Opinions range from "a botched marketing plan" to "criminal bait-and-switch". The promotion, which was timed to coincide with the ending of the 30 free days that came with every purchase of ST:O, generated significant negative press for Atari/Cryptic generally, and ST:O specifically. The lasting effect of the promotion and its backlash, if any, remain to be seen.


Thanks where thanks is due: .Spartan for the url list, HeathenStorm for LTS return change timezone note.

Edit: Fixed Tribblefied link. Added "I Quit" Threads link. Added LTS return change timezone note.