APY kindly published this little prank over at Planet Elder Scrolls on 1st April 2007.
The company behind the best-selling games Oblivion and Morrowind has announced a new customer care package aimed at strengthening ties with its vast community. The popular games have attracted a sizeable community of devoted fans and modders, the latter of which have extended the shelf-life of the PC version of the games by creating high-quality modifications such as Wizards’ Islands, Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul and various graphic enhancers. It was this comparatively small but near-fanatical sector who prompted the change in policy, following accusations that Bethesda had “distanced themselves” from their customers and were unsupportive of their market.
“I spent months perfecting my mod,” said disgruntled modder Reginald “ImLeet” Hawkthorn, “And then when I went to download one of the DLC official mods, it wouldn’t install properly and I had to wait three weeks and spend 90 minutes on the telephone fighting for a refund. We brought Reginald’s case to the attention of BethSoft marketing boss Pete Hines, who suggested that the modder would be the first target of their new approach to fan liaison.
“Fortunately for us, he had included his name, address and telephone number with his emails to us, so he was pretty easy to track down,” explains Pete. “We phoned ahead and spoke to his mother, who confirmed what time he would be in, and then went and knocked on his door right when he was watching Buffy.”
“It was an episode I’d seen before,” continues Reginald, “So I didn’t mind the interruption. I went to the door and there was Pete Hines standing right there. He asked me to confirm my name, which I did, and then he hugged me.”
“Studies show that hugging is an excellent way to make someone feel appreciated,” explains Hines. “We plan to extend the hugging strategy – which we have termed Enhanced Consumer Interaction – to all regions in a program we will be rolling out over the next six months. We have recruited eight new Senior Enhanced Consumer Interactors, who will each have teams of ECIs under them in mobile units.
Due to the vast geographical area we have to cover, it will take us some time to hug each member of the modding community. There are several hundred thousand people who will require this service, and we have outsourced international ECI services to our partner organisations across the globe. We will also be extending this service to players of our other games, and feel that this level of personal interaction will give us a competitive lead in an increasingly hard-to-please market. However, it will take time to have this unique new ECI system fully functional, so please be patient whilst we do so. You may have to wait some months before your local ECI representative knocks at your door, but don’t worry – no member will go unhugged.”
Bethesda Softworks is a subsidiary of Zenimax Media. The new Bethesda expansion for Oblivion, Shivering Isles, is on sale now from all major retailers.