Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Does Mob Wars Use Forced Invites?

I know I promised a How to Make a Successful Game post today, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow, because...

Forced Invites Are Back!

So in my regular perusal of the most active apps on Facebook, I noticed some quiz apps with over a million monthly users.

The one with the most users is called the Their/They're/There Quiz. It's a simple quiz with 20 questions testing your grammar knowledge. Nothing special.

Except of course, they require you to invite 12 friends before they allow you to see the results of your quiz.

That's pretty much the behavior that caused the whole forced invites policy to be enacted on Facebook.

And yet, this company Quiz Monster has released a bunch of forced invite quizzes acquiring millions of users and thousands of dollars without Facebook having done anything about it.

The fact is, Facebook sucks at policing its platform.

Of course, the real question (and the one that's in the headline) is:

Does Mob Wars (and its Clones) Have A Forced Invite System?

If you don't know about Mob Wars, you've probably never read my blog before. Mob Wars is an incredibly successful mob-oriented role-playing game on Facebook that by some estimates earns 22,000 dollars a day.

As you progress through Mob Wars, you reach a point where you can no longer complete game tasks unless you invite friends to join your mob.

So to clarify, you can't proceed unless you invite friends. Sounds suspiciously similar to a forced invite quiz. However, in a quiz, the forced invite roadblock only appears once. In Mob Wars, the roadblocks appears throughout the game, each time demanding you invite more friends to proceed. All told, to progress through the game, you're required to invite ~20+ friends.

It strikes me that this behavior isn't any different than the roadblock asking people to invite friends before seeing the results of a quiz. And possibly worse.

Sure, in Mob Wars, you're not required to progress further in the game, you can just quit, or start over. But then again, the same thing applies to quizzes. I mean, you're not obligated to get the quiz results.

The key difference is that it take a bit longer to hit that roadblock in Mob Wars, than in a quiz.

So if these behaviors are the same, shouldn't Facebook ban games like Mob Wars? Or if they aren't going to ban games like Mob Wars, then should they allow "roadblock" quizzes?

The fact is the key viral driver in Mob Wars is a forced invite system and have no delusions, it is the key to Mob Wars amazing growth.

So should Facebook do something about it? Let us know in the comments.