Semi-App Review: Asphalt 6 HD (or how NOT to do customer service)

Not quite an app review, but it annoyed me enough to write a blog post about it anyway.

Last week, I took the plunge and bought a Samsung Galaxy Nexus (and I must say I’m very pleased with it) and I’ve been playing around with all the games that ran like a pig on my HTC Desire.

Yesterday, Google launched a 10 days of 10p apps promotion, one of which was Gameloft’s Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD. “Brilliant”, I thought. I’d always wanted a decent looking car game to play on my Android. So I went to install it via market.android.com:

All signs seemed good, so I bought the app.

After 20 minutes of downloading 500MB of extra data for the game (fair enough I thought, it is a high end game) imagine my dismay when I’m treated to this message:

At first, I assumed it was something relatively straightforward like the game’s licensing servers were down due to the influx of people downloading all these apps/games for 10p/10¢ (another reason I thought against using proprietary DRM in your software).

20 minutes went past and still no joy, so I sent Gameloft a pretty small email just asking if they’d had any problems with this. After about 4 hours, I got back an email telling me I hadn’t read the description properly and it was entirely my fault that the game didn’t work with my (flagship) phone. This is the blurb they gave me:

When you buy a game from Android Market Place you can check if the game is available for your phone model by clicking MORE on the game description page before you pay for it.

Gameloft assumes no liability for purchaser error, trial versions, software purchased for the wrong telephone, device or platform for any reason (“Purchaser Errors”).

We accept NO RETURNS on software downloads. Please read the system requirements very carefully before making any purchases.

Fair enough usually, I personally can’t stand it when someone doesn’t read the requirements prior to buying something. However, the game’s description made absolutely NO mention of it being compatible with a select amount of phones. I won’t bother posting all their promotional blurb here, but I’ve taken a screenshot here.

I still don’t want a refund, I want to play the game on my phone, but personally feel very vilified from the way they’ve made me out to be some kind of idiot.

Sort it out Gameloft.

Overview

Application Name:
Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD

Price:
10p at time of writing

Official Site:
http://www.gameloft.co.uk/smartphone/asphalt_6_adrenaline_hd/

App information link:
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.gameloft.android.ANMP.GloftA6HP

Rating

Functionality:
☆☆☆☆☆ 

Interface:
☆☆☆☆☆ 

Ease of use:
☆☆☆☆☆ 

Value for money:
★☆☆☆☆ 

Overall:
¼☆☆☆☆ 

(and it only got that 1 because it was 10p)

Bye bye, Spotify!


UPDATE (19/03/2013): Spotify have finally removed the 5 play limit. I applaud this decision, and it’s certainly a step in the right direction, but a 2.5 hour a week limit is still too draconian.


As most of you have probably heard, Spotify last week implemented their new restrictions as detailed back in April cutting both Free and Open users down to 10 hours of listening per month, coupled with a 5 play limit (forever?) on individual tracks.

As a previous Spotify Premium user, having sent precisely £100.89 Spotify’s way, you’d expect me to applaud these changes. Well I don’t. And I’m gonna tell you for why…

First off, let me get one thing off my chest…

The ridiculous 5 play limit

Seriously? If this was a limit per week or even per month I could understand that, but after hitting this limit 2 days after finding a new song that I absolutely love and now never allowed to listen to it on Spotify without coughing up for Unlimited or buying the track it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. The part of this that really gets my back up is that Spotify’s blog post seems to suggest that people that hit this limit aren’t using the service correctly:

“the average user won’t reach the limit on plays for 7 out of 10 tracks, after a year of using Spotify.”

Interestingly, Spotify quite conveniently links with Last.fm, and as I don’t have regular MP3s scrobbled, let’s have a look at my top 20 most played tracks in the past year…

# Track Play Count
1 Pendulum – The Island – Pt. II 43
2 Rusko – Woo Boost 28
3 Far East Movement – Like A G6 26
4 Swedish House Mafia – One (Your Name) [feat. Pharrell] {Radio Edit} 25
5 Vika Jigulina – Stereo Love – UK Radio Edit 24
6 Professor Green – Just Be Good To Green (feat. Lily Allen) 23
7 Martin Solveig – Hello 22
8 All Time Low – Lost In Stereo 21
9 Pendulum – The Island – Pt. I 20
10 The Pogues – Fairytale of New York 19
11 Stromae – Alors on danse 19
12 The Isley Brothers – Summer Breeze 18
13 Yolanda Be Cool – We No Speak Americano 18
14 Afrojack – Take Over Control 18
15 Wiz Khalifa – Black and Yellow 18
16 Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight 16
17 Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas 16
18 Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next 16
19 Genesis – Living Forever 16
20 Pendulum – Witchcraft 16

You actually have to keep going to my 168th most played song before you can find one that has been played less than 5 times, so if this had been applied last year, my top 167 songs would simply be unavailable on Spotify.

While I will concur that some of my listening habits are not quite “regular” (I’m not sure how I managed to listen to The Island Pt. II 43 times!) I know of plenty of people who will listen to the same songs quite often, sometimes twice or three times in a row if it’s a new song they love, and with Spotify’s playlist function, it becomes very easy to listen to the same song multiple times.

10 hour listening limit

It’s not enough. Seriously, 10 hours can be gobbled up pretty damn quick, I used to use Spotify at work, so in one day I could have potentially used up 80% of my montly listening quote. While I’m not asking for 200 hours a month to get me through work, I think they could have offered more than they are.

Pricing

Please don’t instantly shoot me down with “pay up or shut up” comments, as I did, for nearly a year. Why did I cancel? Simple: I didn’t think I got my money’s worth. £10 a month is a lot in this age of cost cutting and recessions, so when I actually analysed my usage of Spotify originally, I found that I just didn’t use the Premium services enough to justify the £10 a month cost. I would however consider Premium if it was at the current Unlimited price point of £5.

So what am I going to do without Spotify?

Use Grooveshark. I paid $30 for a year of Anywhere before the prices went up, but even with the prices at $9 a month it’s still nearly half the price of Spotify. Sure, the interface isn’t as slick, some tracks have a lower bitrate and the mobile app still needs a bit of work but it’s got a much more realistic price.

In closing

The door is always open Spotify, so if you decide to make your Premium service more competitive, I’ll be willing to re-join, but at the moment, as one of the early adopters, I feel a bit betrayed.

“Everyone Loves Music”. So long as you only want to listen to it 5 times.

Dirty Microbe Update

It seems someone with a slightly closer involvement with the company has finally stepped into the limelight. Here’s a copy of what “Manny” had to say on HideYourArms:

“Although I was never officially affiliated with or worked at Dirty Microbe, I’m a personal friend of the founders.

After receiving a MySpace message from someone trying to track down Christian about an order, I did a Google search and found lists of complaints on blogs and forums, including this one.

Dirty Microbe has been going though severe financial trouble for a few months and has recently gone out of business and filed for bankruptcy. The founders are scrambling to liquidate the company’s assets to repay creditors, including outstanding orders. I’d advise anyone who is missing an order to do a chargeback as soon as possible.

Dirty Microbe was a very small company and unique in that they printed all shirts in house, by hand. I mean, so small that it was rare that more than two people were working at any given time in there. You can imagine the workload. Lack of manpower was one major reason they went under and I suspect the main reason for the silence now. It’s hard to imagine how much time it takes to go through the legalese for bankruptcy plus all the other stuff that has arisen from the situation. The owners have pretty much been slammed doing that, and they were already way backed up on orders and support requests.

Tens of thousands of dollars were invested in printing equipment, web store design, signing artists, affiliates, advertising, etc… and subsequently lost. There was no scam — believe it or not, order volume was relatively low and the value of all unshipped orders tiny compared to the investment. Many recall that Dirty Microbe shipped a lot of shirts before they went down.

I feel for anyone been burned by this, I’ve been shafted by buying stuff online before and I know it sucks. I’ve tried to advise the owners to make some sort of announcement so those looking for answers have some idea what happened, but they’ve been tough to get a hold of. I’m sure they’re just trying to get past what has been the most difficult time of their lives.

I’m going to cross-post this on a few of the other blogs in hopes of getting some word out to do a chargeback ASAP, as there is a time limit on those.”

So there you have it, probably the closest we’re going to get to an official repsonse to this.

There are now posts on tcritic, HideYourArms and T-Shirts Around the Internet.

Spread the word to the blogs people! And digg the article!

Dirty Microbe

UPDATE (1st August):
One affected customer has posted a digg article regarding Dirty Microbe, please go forth and Digg it up so more people are made aware of the scam that are Dirty Microbe:
http://digg.com/offbeat_news/Scam_warning_Dirty_Microbe…

UPDATE 2 (2nd August):
It seems people are having a slight amount of success contacting the owner, Christian von Kleist, on Facebook. I have sent him a message and I will update you with what he says.

Well, you know how they say good news travels fast but bad news travels faster? In that case, this should travel at about warp 9.

This Gordon Ramsay esque sentence should sum up the rest of my post:
Order T-shirt. Wait a month. Enquire. Hear nothing. Wait another month. Enquire again. STILL nothing. Pissed off.

Now, to go over that in more detail, back in May of this year (the 19th to be exact), I ordered a t-shirt from Dirty Microbe, as I found the shirt quite amusing (which I still do).

Now, their site said they were receiving an unusually large amount of orders, so would take a bit longer to ship (I was given a date of 9th June). Fair enough I thought.

What I didn’t expect was the fact it’s now 2 months tomorrow that I ordered the shirt and I STILL have nothing from them except from an order confirmation and automated repsonses from their “support ninjas” that they will reply to my query within 2 business days.

Put quite simply, this is NOT acceptable conduct for a business, and it seems I am not the only one experiencing this problem.

So until I hear otherwise, I offer you my advice:

Do not buy from Dirty Microbe. Do not buy from Dirty Microbe. Do not buy from Dirty Microbe.

Done.

Layzells Entry Policies…

…Suck the big one!!!!

Sorry but I just thought i’d post about my anger at how Layzells decide who’s allowed in. They refused entry to me and Ollie tonight saying its “been over 25s for a long time now” but I have it on good authority that they let in a 17 year old in about 30 mins after we were refused. It’s so harsh.

Tip for the future: arrive before 11pm, It’s only over 25s after 11, according to their advert in the Sheerness Times Guardian anyway.

James.