Backyard Monsters - I think this constitutes fraud

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Greetings.

I’m an avid gamer – over the last year or so, I’ve spent probably $5,000 on kongregate for various games; either buying packs, upgrades, in-game content, or donating to developers for games that I like. The free kongregate+ membership is appreciated.

Backyard Monsters is a facebook game ported to kongregate. It has an in-game currency called “shinies” that you can purchase for kreds. When I started playing it, I enjoyed it immensely, and dropped a couple hundred bucks to pick up a bunch of shinies.

The problem with the game (as you can see from the game forums) is that while the developer (Kixeye) controls cheating, cheat engines, and hacking on facebook, they offer no support here on kongregate. Script kiddies and hackers run rampant in the game – taking your stuff; literally stealing your money. My neighbors on the world map are gone, their BYM account hacked so that they can’t access their in-game account anymore, glitches preventing players from clicking on other peoples’ bases because of the hacking…when I spend $200 to buy some in-game currency to build a base that gets leveled by an exploiter not even in my world map…

I’d consider that fraud. Kixeye is receiving money without the ability to guarantee delivery of goods. I’m not asking for a refund, and realize that kongregate itself can’t control developer actions.

What you can do though, is prevent future fraud. Investigate the issue, and when you come to the obvious results due to the plethora of evidence available, disallow Kixeye and Backyard Monsters from receiving kongregate kredits. Don’t let players pay for it. Or, affix a warning label to anyone wishing to spend kredits in BYM that the sale is high-risk and the expenditure of their in-game purchases may be stolen by hackers.

 
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Someone pointed out to me something I should make clear…

While asking for something like this may be a drastic measure, keep in mind that the entire point of people being able to buy kreds is the underlying idea that they will receive kreds for their money, and spend those kreds on kongregate games. If games are allowed to bypass this chain of value-custody….taking money while allowing third parties to steal the goods to be provided in return, the underpinning revenue that makes kongregate solvent takes a hit with the loss of customer confidence.

 
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I assume you contacted the game developers already. As with all games it is outside of Kong’s “reach” so they can’t really help you in that matter.
Also keep in mind that most multiplayer games here have an interesting terms of service which pretty much says that by paying you do not buy anything just an ability to unlock certain features. So in other words, even if something goes wrong, there is a great chance that you won’t be refunded in any way – I always encourage everyone to read the ToS for this reason.
All you can do about this is trying to contact the developer, ask for a refund and hope for the best. Or just stop playing the game. (Or both)
As a last resort if you are unhappy with a game you can “mass- downvote” the game as well.

 
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This is something that has been going on for a long time with that particular game.

It’s always a leap of fate if you decide to invest real money in a virtual environment, there is no way to be certain anything will go as expected and no feasible way to gain retribution if it doesn’t because most of these developers are located abroad.

If I were Kong I’d place a big red disclaimer on all these mmo’s front-pages: “Invest kreds at your own risk!”. Of course, that might prevent some people from actually doing just that and thus reduce kong’s income from these games as well, so that’s not gonna happen. Whether that disclaimer is there or not, it still applies though, people just aren’t as aware of it.

Most of the time it probably goes well, but here and there something goes wrong sometimes. The particular game you mention is one of the very big fails. That money is gone though and so is your user experience. All I could recommend is leave the game and don’t look back!

The only time I can recall Kong banishing a game like that was when the game in question was under copyright attack and Kong was a potential target for facilitating copyright infringement. Since Kong is completely covered this time around, they’re not going to do anything except give the devs a slap on the wrist maybe and if that doesn’t help sit back, sigh and say: “oh well…” and move on. Yes, when real income is concerned I have very little faith in companies, not even if the people that work for them may be good at heart.

 
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People have been complaining about Backyard Monsters for as long as I’ve been active on the forums. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the administration has said they were “working with” the developer to correct these “issues”. Clearly that’s not working, it’s only been getting worse. I wonder why Kongregate doesn’t remove the game. That was a legitimate wondering, but I just realized that Kongregate makes a fortune off of kreds sales. So…

 
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Backyard Monsters still has various game braking flaws. Some people still have base 0 error and can’t play, the recent outpost takeover, other cheats and what not. The developer Kixeye has zero interest in providing any support for the Kongregate version of their game. If you contact them, you get “We only support the facebook version” as answer.

Kongregate is aware of the problems, but instead of disallowing Kixeye to use Kongregate’s payment system (Kreds) if they can’t make sure that the customer loses all the benefits that he bought due to cheats, bugs or hacks, they look away and say “We’re trying to contact Kixeye about it blabla”. Apparently that doesn’t work.

I posted something about the base 0 problems and suggested Kixeye losing the right to use Kreds back then in March, this post and Zshadow’s answer directly below might be worth reading. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since then…

Personally, I have 1500 Kreds on my account, I wanted to spend some of them on BYM, but I’d be braindead to spend a dime on a game that isn’t supported in any way.

The lesson I learned from all this is, I won’t spend any money on Kongregate or any of its games again. If a game breaking bug occurs, or the game is hacked to death, I’m not in the mood to wait a year till Kongregate reaches the developer…

 
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I am pretty sure Kongregate can stop paying Kixeye for their Shiny until something is resolved, and they show some interest in supporting their product. That way, Kongregate can still sell Kreds, and maybe Kixeye will take notice. What is the worst they can do, stop supporting the game? I guess they can shut it off, but that would also solve the problems for Kongregate in my opinion.

As a side note, why wouldn’t the site developers (this site) add Kongregate and Kreds to the spelling dictionary? Just a thought.

 
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I hate to tell ya’ll, but they’re not any more helpful from the Facebook side of things either. I just lost over 20 outposts to two hack exploit users in less than two days. Forwarded video guides as to how these jerks are doing it from youtube and the whole nine. So far jack shit as been done and I bought over 10 bucks worth of shiny that I ended up wasting trying to fight these dudes. I’m currently searching for a more direct route to contact Kixeye by and worst case I’m gonna take a vacation from BYM and start up a negative PR campaign against Kixeye with the help of other screwed over users that I’ve met.

 
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i guess it’s too late to say here that theirs is a mere marketing technique that forces u to struggle to create a virtual empire that gives no benefits in your real life but still calls u up everyday to see how it goes. i guess investing some money its fine and fair but hey you also know the algorythm of the game. if it brings u to such emotional stages just give up and pick another game. or invest money in smth real!