My wife and I, we have Just Dance at home. I don’t play it, but she’s occasionally plays the game to work out or just to de-stress. I believe we have all of the releases since we started buying it for the Wii, even the two Just Dance Japans. We got it for the Wii, then for the PS3, then for the PS4. Something happened on 2018 however. The game, which to be honest, looked like it spent most of its budget on music licensing and often had poor production and didn’t spend too much money on the presentation and graphics, suddenly, it changed its UI. The makers of the game decided to incorporate a subscription service along with the main game. Now, when you load the game, not only do you see all of the games on the disc, you also see games from Just Dance Unlimited, a monthly gaming subscription service which allowed users to stream songs from past games.
Now, we didn’t have any reason to subscribe to this service. After all, I believe we already have all of the songs from previous releases. We just have to fire up the disc from other consoles and voila! But now we’re on a situation where we are constantly being sold a product we don’t need. And if anything, we are currently being reminded of other good songs in other games, with choreography my wife is more familiar with, instead of the new ones on the disc. It’s an awful, awful design. It’s like buying Super Mario 2 and constantly being reminded about how awesome Super Mario 1 is and how fun it would be to fire up that game again instead of slogging through the newer game.
But I think the biggest crime of the change in UI is that it treats the customer like a bystander instead of a customer. Now, I understand the concept of the “game as a service” model, but I think developers too often forget the “game” part in that phrase. I just bought a game, do I have to be reminded that I have to pay more to enjoy a fuller experience right from the start? And this is especially annoying to someone who already has the other games, a real loyal customer. “Thanks for your business, now re-buy all of the stuff again.”
So yeah, after 2018 came out, the 2019 and 2020 versions came out and were quite forgettable. They didn’t get much play. Or if they did, we ended up firing up the older CDs after being reminded of other songs in the Just Dance catalog. As for 2021, the game is already being sold on a massive discount after just being released last month. I’m not sure whether it’s because of poor sales or they are just banking on people paying for the monthly service after buying the disc. As for us, my wife is more into Beat Saber at the moment. This is another aspect where Just Dance dropped the ball. They didn’t even bother having the most popular band on their game. Beat Saber just released ten BTS songs on their platform last month. Just Dance won’t be missed.
So why am I writing about Just Dance right now? I’m not big into dance games, but the problem I saw with Just Dance permeates many aspects in business at the moment. People forget what they’re all about in the first place in their drive to push for more sales. And it’s not just with games. I wrote about Instagram last week. They’re turning into an advertising/shopping platform, forgetting that people are there mostly to share photos, grow their own following, and make their friends insanely jealous. This happens out in the real world, too. I remember going to a very popular Genghis Khan Japanese barbecued lamb restaurant a while ago. This place usually has a long line-up. But when we sat down and started eating, our server was in such a rush grilling meat and having us finish our meal in order to sit more people waiting in line. The dish is supposed to be slowly savored with drinks and conversation. It’s not fast food.
Anyway, I know businesses can’t help but try to make more money, but they should at least try to be more subtle about it. Make the “upgrade” icons less intrusive. Let customers enjoy themselves more before trying to milk them for more money. I just paid for a bottle of champagne for the table. Don’t ask me to fork over another $200 for a plate of cheese the minute the bottle arrives. At least flirt with me a little first and throw some lies at me. Call me handsome. There’s a delicate dance to these things, otherwise, customers will be turned off and leave. Don’t they teach this in business school?