This interesting GamesBeat report details a bit of controversy and an exodus related to the Facebook game Mystery Manor. Fans of the hidden object game (the Facebook game had 20 million registered users, according to the report) are apparently pretty upset with Game Insight over a recent change it made to the iPad version of the game, and they are taking the fight anywhere the company can read their angry replies. Game Insight launched the game on Facebook in early 2011 and an iPad version of the game called Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure, in December of 2011.
Things went south when the developer changed the iPad game so that players had to spend actual money in order to finish it for $3.99 or more. The change, the company claims, was the result of Apple's restrictions on what its App Store developers are allowed to do when offering promotions to users. Game Insight said that it had no choice in making these changes because it has to comply with Apple’s policies.
From Apple’s 1.11 guideline for developers:
"Apps that unlock or enable additional features or functionality with mechanisms other than the App Store will be rejected."
Game Insight is removing those types of functions from its iOS games and thousands of fans are raging over it. They have complained on the game's Facebook fan page, but the company deleted many of those messages. Game Insight claimed that it did this because many of those message were "inflammatory" and "abusive," but has since stopped doing so.
Some of the players have gone so far as to organize a boycott of the game. The boycott kicked into high gear on August 4, and has managed to gain traction thanks to strong grass roots efforts. The bad publicity and organization of players has caused the game’s rating and usage stats to drop considerably on Apple's App Store.
The company issued a statement to GamesBeat about the whole ordeal, which can be read here.
Ultimately, they apologized to its players for the changes and promised to work with them as they deal with the bad situation. Still their lengthy statement said nothing about refunds or the way they handled the situation.