YoVille, one of the largest virtual worlds on Facebook, recently experienced a relatively large protest against a major change yesterday which modified the way users can earn virtual currency. Previously, users entered a widget factory from where they could earn coins. While users can still earn coins there is a new process in which users must spend money to make money (as is typical in the real world). A number of users are furious and in the past few hours I’ve received numerous users frustrated with the change.
The position of the users was that less money was being generated per user per hour. Most likely Zynga implemented this new place as a way to stave off inflation but sudden changes that are intended to impact the money supply can result in user backlash. Whatever the rationale behind the protests is, it appears that they are most likely much ado about nothing. So far one site which is collecting signatures for a protest has only 67 signatures.
With over 16 million monthly active users, 67 signatures will hardly suffice at driving change. With many users investing countless hours into the game however, one can understand their frustration with a change that would require them to invest more time. Zynga claims that the new model doesn’t have any impact on the potential revenue being generated though. They have stated that “If you manage your bakery well then every day you will earn just as many, or even MORE, coins than you did at the old factory”.
So are these new protesters just unintelligent? Possibly, although a more rational explanation is that the users are simply against change. So to all of those users who dislike the YoVille sweets factory: deal with it … it’s just a game. If Zynga really wanted to manipulate the economy more aggressively, there would most definitely be a much more aggressive backlash among the more than 16 million users.
Many commenters have pointed out that this article is inaccurate. The petition I was referencing is here and is now up to 85 signatures. The majority of the comments here have been driven from Zynga forums where users are indeed frustrated with the change. I personally logged in to the app however to talk to people and saw no live demonstrations taking place which means that is now a forum driven issue. Thousands of people will always complain when change happens to an application with millions of users. To those people that were offended by my intelligence comment, it was an attempt to fuel the fire which is clearly taking place on the comments.
View our latest post about how the protests were unsuccessful.