Kabam, a Facebook game developer dedicated to providing hardcore titles, has had some mixed success these past few weeks -- they were accused by rival Kixeye of copycatting games, won a technology award, was written up by the Los Angeles Times as a Zynga contender, and was the first Facebook developer to put a game (i.e. Edgeworld) onto Google+ Games.
But last Friday, Kabam screwed up big time with their strategy title, Kingdoms of Camelot, when its engineers accidentally turned a bunch of premium virtual goods (the stuff you buy with real money) into free, giftable items. Opportunists quickly spent the entire night amassing "astronomical" amounts of these freebies, thus wrecking the power balance between the 2 million players of the game.
Kabam fixes this problem by creating a script that takes all the illicit freebies away from its players, but this unleashes havoc as 70,000 innocent players also have their premium virtual goods taken away. And then a separate problem emerged, when other players lost access to their inventory. Since these troubles started, angry players have quit playing Kingdoms of Camelot by the tens of thousands, while others have created forum threads and Facebook pages calling for a boycott of the game and Kabam.
In an attempt to reward loyal players and prevent more from quitting, Kabam offered "two huge gifts: A Divine Inspiration and an Obsidian Rune!" during that weekend. The sudden spike in daily traffic on August 8 is from players checking in to see if those gifts made it to their accounts that day.
An average Facebook gamer might spend 15 minutes per day on a game, but a Kingdoms of Camelot player would spend an average of 3 hours with a 90% log-in rate. They also open up their wallets for more premium items too. Kabam understands deeply, how much it's hurt a very dedicated and profitable player base. Hopefully, they can clean up this mess soon.
[Hat-tip: The Register]
[Source: Kabam Official forums]