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We continue to examine the story of Alganon and the company behind it, Quest Online. In part two, we looked at some of the strengths and resources that the development team relied on during production. Today, we dig deeper into the inner workings of QOL and analyze some of the decisions that led Alganon to its demise.
Considering the market in which QOL chose to operate, it lacked several core advantages that would allow it to be more effective. This resulted from a situation where the management deemed certain factors as less important in the firm’s corporate strategy and chose to focus on the technological aspect of innovation rather than gameplay. Thus, failing to realize that without appropriate competencies in other areas, success becomes unmanageable and less certain.
An objective report needs to assess the company against a rigid framework that is both transparent and accountable. Professor Bala Bhaskaran’s ‘Future Capability Model’ is a relevant concept that looks at organizations at three structural levels and can be used in our analysis.
The first level is concerned with physical and technological aspects of running a firm that may influence its immediate future. Factors such as availability of relevant resources are considered, as well as the relative importance of technology and facilities. QOL seems to be at an advantage in this dimension due to the technological proficiency it has acquired as well as the availability of additional funds. The firm has developed the necessary competencies required to succeed in this space and there is a need to preserve and nurture them for the future of the organization.
The second level concentrates on the external factors surrounding a company and the way these factors affect its operations. This is where the interaction with the firm’s environment plays a key role. QOL has shown a lack of competence in engaging potential consumers and there is a clear need to develop better communication strategies.
As has been stated earlier, two-way feedback plays a vital part in the development of an online game and serves as a platform for the company to really connect and engage their target market. Simply creating an image of open communication while not adhering to its principles may have a devastating impact on QOL’s image so these strategies need to be treated as a real change in the way QOL treats players.
The third and final level of the model examines the strategic as well as organizational capabilities of a firm. The company has repeatedly shown that it lacks managerial competency and as a result, deadlines were routinely missed and the budgeted figures turned out to be substantially different from the real ones, forcing investors to increase the funding for Alganon several times. David Allan as a leader was certainly a visionary, able to inspire and encourage the team during his work. However, he did not have enough experience of directing a development studio and the company lacked stringent methods of control and performance assessment. This had a big impact on the company’s performance as resources were not used as effectively as they could have been.
QOL has addressed this issue by removing David Allan from his post and replacing him with another leader who has the relevant experience in developing and shipping an online product, as well as familiarity with the administrative side of running a company. However, there is still a need to improve coordination of the overall strategy and to ensure the trust of all interested parties that play a key role in the development process of an MMO game.
Join us soon for the final part of the report where I will attempt to figure out Alganon’s future direction and the best strategy for the game in its current incarnation.