So who is responsible when real money is spent on microtransactions in a game that then becomes unplayable, though no fault of the player?
According to Kixeye’s official support forum, the answer is nobody!
A major security flaw has been exposed in Backyard Monsters, a browser based MMO. A malicious player can take control of another player’s yard, which not only allows unscrupulous users to cheat their way through the game for free, but makes the game completely unplayable for the original owner of that yard. The player Gyan1010 has claimed responsibility, explaining on a Kongregate hacking forum how his takeover method also prevents his victim being able to continue to play the game.
Security issues in multiplayer games are nothing new, but Kongregate players are complaining that support for their version of the game is non-existant. There is no Kixeye representative on the Kongregate subforum for the game, and players posting at Kixeye.com find their threads locked with the response that “only the Facebook version of the game is supported here.” Support emails simply receive an automated reply.
In fact, Facebook seems to be Kixeye’s only priority right now, as the app on that platform has received many exclusive updates, including Alliances, fortifications, and an Invasion event. Kixeye has noted that the Facebook platform is much more profitable than any other, and says it deserved the extra work on that basis, but Kongregate players justifiably find this unfair.
One player, under the name of Dragonalx, pointed out to us that Kixeye’s motto is “We don’t make games to make money, we make money to make games”, and said he felt Kixeye wasn’t following this policy by only updating the game on its most profitable platform.
A Kongregate admin said they would “try to get in contact with KIXEYE as soon as possible to see to it that a fix is in the works.” Hopefully this will at least resolve the issue of hijacked yards – but it’s something the developer should already have been working on without pressure from major gaming portals.