Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scaming browser game and bad math, or just more scam?

There was a browser game recently that said it was going to have a real world economy. Ie, it's game tokens represented real life cents. I wont say the name because they hiked up the cash out requirement and then, a couple of months in after getting a whole bunch of players, removed the cash economy entirely.

Yeah yeah, some TOS clause that says we can change anything we like whenever? But then they send an e-mail around two months in saying the 'experiment' (ie, the main feature to set this apart from a million other browser games) was being removed.

Perhaps say it's an experiment at the start/sign up screen, that might be removed? Oh no, that might get you fewer players! It's more important to get the players than tell the truth on this.

I'm still wondering whether to report this to some authority, given the geological locations of myself and the game company. Also their upgrades page, which previously used game currency you could get by playing are now cash purchase only, making it a very different game to before.

But really what I wanted to get at is that I think the author is just shit at math. He had a cash out requirement of 10,000 points ($100) at level 20 (latter to change to 30, then cash out was removed).

It's just stupid - even if the player has somehow sunk say $1000 into the game, now he's at cash out he can just keep cashing out each time he gets enough - he will eventually drain more than he put in. And you've got a hundred players slowly getting toward this.

Or, I'm thinking right now, was he shit at math or did he just know this wouldn't work out?

I even made a post about this in the games forum, about putting a cash out limit on each player and it would rise as the appropriate amount of income came into the game. It was ignored.

And now I'm thinking it was just a scam. It wasn't an experiment that went wrong, it was just a scam.

I wanted to describe how it went wrong and if he'd just designed it better...but I'd look pretty stupid saying that if it was a scam that was intended not to work.

Oh and of course when I posted about the 20 to 30 level requirement rise, I got a bunch of evangelicised game fans jumping on me about questioning that. People will nastily defend things without even a thought in their head they are being scammed. Probably they get so defensive because the very thought of it would make them feel really stupid. So no, they defend all the harder to prove they aren't stupid!

Given this is the internet, I'll say it being a scam is my opinion. Hell, I haven't named the stupid game here anyway. Though I don't know how you can say something is a scam without hitting libel, even if it IS a (as yet, not trialed in court) scam.

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