Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Side Effects

Posted by Stropp on October 8, 2011

If you read Tobold’s blog you would have seen a post a few days ago where he lamented the loss of his Facebook account. It’s in Facebook’s terms of service that the name you use must be ‘real.’ And by real, I guess that means the one on your birth certificate.

(I wonder when Stephen King will have his account banned.)

Today, Tobold posts about one of the consequences of that banning. He used Facebook Connect to add some social functionality to Castle Empires Online (aka The Settlers Online.) This linked the game to his Facebook account via an app, and now he cannot access that game until he removes the app. Of course he cannot remove the app because he can’t log in to that Facebook account.

No Castle Empires Online for you. Catch 22. That’s some catch, that Catch 22. It’s the best there is.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently noticed a number of blogs sporting a comment section that is basically a Facebook widget that requires a guest to login to their Facebook account in order to comment.

Aside from the questionable practice of forcing someone who may not want to have a FB account to have one to comment, or to have every comment they make replicated in their FB feed, the bigger issue to me is the loss of control the blog owner is giving to Facebook. No longer does the blog own the comments, they are now Facebook property. And if Facebook decides for one reason or another to ban that blog, well, what happens to all those comments?

This Tobold Facebook banning has brought another issue to mind.

Blizzard now has a policy of linking their various games together in the same account. Your World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, and soon Diablo 3 games will all be linked together, if you use the same Battlenet account.

Now what happens if in one of those games you do something against the terms of service and get yourself an account ban. Do you lose access to every Blizzard game linked to that account?

And hey, it might not even be you doing the dirty deed. Account hacks are not unknown, and folks have been banned temporarily on that basis. So your WoW account is hacked, and Blizzard shuts you down for two weeks while it investigates. And during this time you don’t have access to SG2, or D3 to fill the gaming gap. Nice.

That’s why it’s been my policy for some time to not do things like use Facebook Connect. If a game offers an update service such as tweeting achievements, fine. You can turn those off in game. But a game should never be disabled by the failure of an optional third party service. That is unacceptable.

This is also why I create a separate Battlenet account for each of my Blizzard games. I have used different emails for both WoW and SC2, and I’ll be creating a new email address for Diablo 3 when I buy that.

The world is rushing headlong towards a completely connected state where everything is linked. Don’t get me wrong, this can be very useful and save time by simplifying online life, but the problem here is if one link fails, does it bring down the rest?

Is anyone considering the side effects, or building in redundancy?

Is There An Expectation Of Privacy In Social Games?

Posted by Stropp on October 20, 2010

Sometimes I just have to shake my head.

Players of Facebook games appear to have had their trust violated by Zynga and some other social gaming providers. It turns out that Facebook has a flaw that allowed these companies to collect personal information on players of games like Farmville. Zynga then allegedly sold this data to a third party market research company which then ‘accidentally’ released that data to other companies. Hmmm.

I recently gave some of the social games on Facebook a bit of a go, but found them very lacking. There were three I tried out, City of Wonders, Farmville, and a space empire 4X style game. Of all three, only the 4X game (can’t remember the name off hand, sorry) kept my interest for any time. Both City of Wonders and Farmville insist on inviting Facebook friends in order to progress. While some players obviously don’t mind that, if your friends don’t respond to game requests (noone responded to my CoW requests… awwww) then there is no way to progress. So not my cup of tea.

Anyway, it now bothers me that since I spent some time playing these games, there is a likelihood that my personally identifiable data is now in the hands of some marketing dude because an unscrupulous company broke the rules. And it’s not just the Facebook users who have lost here. Facebook itself has taken great pains to improve it’s handling of user data. Zynga screwed Facebook over here.

Should Facebook users have an expectation of privacy when playing social games on the Facebook network?

Should Facebook ban Zynga?

Stropp on Facebook

Posted by Stropp on July 16, 2010

I had forgotten that I set up a Facebook account for this blog a while back, in fact it was quite a long time ago that I did set it up. I think at the time I had seen how a Facebook profile could provide a better rounded experience for blog readers. Instead I ended up focussing on Twitter for the whole social networking thing.

But just recently I’ve received a few eMails from Facebook telling me that I have a few friend requests pending. So I hopped in a little while ago and approved the requests.

Of course nothing is ever as simple as that, and I spent a little while setting things up properly, for instance adding the profile picture, likes, and some info about me (my gaming persona) and the blog. I also have an unpublished fan page for Stropp’s World, but I need to work on that a little more before I do publish it.

I was even lucky enough to get the vanity URL, which I expected to be taken. If you’d like to friend me on Facebook, that’s the link to click on as it will take you straight to my profile. I’ll try and accept your requests as soon as I can.