Scopely, Iugo and Skybound Entertainment: "Random" Algorithm Programmed to Steal Your Money
In August of 2015 three mobile entertainment companies join forces to create one of the best games since. The Walking Dead Road to Survival from Scopely, Iugo and Skybound Entertainment has been downloaded over 40 million times and they have an estimated daily revenue of just over $63,000. In June 2017 alone they had around 100,000 downloads and an estimated 2 million dollars in revenue.
It's probably safe to say the a large chunk of those downloads are people that play other games and were following a TapJoy ad and had to get to level 10 to get coins. Regardless, they have shown themselves to be a profitable company. But are they earning those profits legally or are they deceiving their customers to get there millions? Continue reading and cast your vote at the end of this article.
For the last 2 years Scopely has refused to give the pull odds for the 5 star epic characters in The Walking Dead Road to Survival. They have said countless times that their odds are not public knowledge and will remain a Scopely secret. Many people have worked out their own percentages through a series of testing which just how little the odds are but players are still petitioning support for the confirmed information.
Finally, after two years of demanding to know the odds, Scopely support is saying something other than "we do not disclose the odds". In fact, it was just last week that there were a few support responses floating around saying just that, but now they are saying something else all together.
Emmanuel had messaged Scopely support after spending money on the 2x and 3x chances for epic characters. He was angry that he not only didn't get the premiere character after spending on their promotion while taking advantage of the increased chances and inevitably walking away with the same repeat 3 star characters as most people. Emmanuel has been demanding to know the original odds so he can figure out what the increased chances are for future promotions. Scopely support answered his question, informing him that,
"there is no definite quantification of the increased chances since there is no ratio that can define randomness. Randomness is the basic algorithm of the game and dictates the entire gameplay. Altering the root protocol of the game can be a challenging task to execute."
Of course this answer is not what anyone wants to hear but it is very telling of this company's practice. By claiming that it is completely random, they are in turn saying that there is no way of actually multiplying the odds. If this is not possible, how are they advertising 2x and 3x the odds? They said it themselves,
"there is no definite quantification of increased chances"
So has Scopely just admitted to committing false advertising since the beginning of the game, and in all their other games? I spoke with "Bishop", who is a programmer for a casino games manufacturer. Bishop isn't fooled by their statement and says,
"What they are trying to avoid is stating that they are using an RNG so they call it a proprietary algorithm. If they call it an RNG, this can be manipulated to a desired outcome, to an absolute defined outcome. For example, I can manipulate a machine, whether wheel or screen, to automatically sequence to a desired combination. I can also sequence the machine to never pay out, or sequence a machine to pay out only certain combinations every X amount of times, with X being a percentage hold of the machine, it is tweaked from time to time to ensure optimal payouts. This is an algorithm, any mathematical computer algorithm can be manipulated to return a desired result."
By using random number generators they are trying to simulate the concept of drawing a random card or rolling a set of dice, but a computer does not have the ability to be random, unsystematic or unmethodical. Computer programs are made up of algorithms and every algorithm can be manipulated. The wheels eventually stop exactly where the algorithm dictated that it should when the wheel was activated. The software is unable to create true randomness, and is programmed in the interests of maximizing their owners' revenue. Maybe we should start asking who validates their algorithm, which independent lab was hired in accordance with gambling laws to ensure the consumer is protected against fraud by their company?
So which is it? Did Scopely finally conquer mathematical science to create a program that simulates true randomness and they have been deceiving players for two years by advertising 2 and 3 times odds? Or are they using a basic RNG that is programmed to have a set payback percentage that is set for maximizing profit that they occasionally raise for these promotions and they just refuse to give the odds because they are so disgraceful to the players?
If these programs are truly random and they have no control over the odds, they have been falsely advertising in Road to Survival for 2 years, and longer in other games they offer. Customers have the right to know exactly what their chances are when spending their hard earned money.
There have been lawsuits in the past against gaming companies pertaining to their low chances and refusal to release odds associated with their game. These lawsuits were unsuccessful for one reason. The customers knowingly spend their money buying in-game currency with with no monetary value and use that to purchase other items with no monetary value within the game.
But Scopely made one mistake, they put a monetary value on their characters for the sake of advertising. So either they are participating in more false advertising for the sake of gaining new players by claiming their characters actually have a set value, or they are actually placing a value on these character and by doing so are breaking gambling laws by not disclosing the odds of their wheels. By contacting multiple state gaming boards it has been determined that if there is a monetary value for items on the prize wheel they should be held to gambling laws.
At the very least, if a 3 star character is valued at $10, how much should a 5 star character be valued at? If it is determined from the averages of what players have had to spend in the past that value is probably in the high hundreds, if it is comparable to the values they have set for 3 star characters it should only be around $100 to a maximum of $200. Players would be more than happy to have a guaranteed epic character for only $200. So maybe Scopely should start putting a cap on it like players have been requesting since day one.
It seems as though Scopely support staff are starting to get fed up with the company and are throwing them under the bus. With more and more detailed explanations of the odds, or lack thereof. And comments like the following,
" I know that the compensation was just a piece of pacification, however, we are unable to get any further in this regards."
It's great to see them admit to the horrible compensation being a method of pacification rather than a company simply apologizing for their glitches. But, this makes you wonder if they have attempted to actually get a resolution and are being told that it is not going to happen. Why are they unable to get any further? Have they tried and execs are shutting them down? Have they not received any correspondence from the elusive "team" on the matter? Did they phrase it wrong due to their poor handle on the English language? Or have they even tried at all?
Regardless, it is obvious that Scopely needs to shut down for a day and call a very large team meeting including everyone from the bottom to the absolute top and get their stories straight. They need to gather all the information that they are willing to share, and figure out better excuses for the ones they are refusing to share because the customers are demanding answers and they will not stop until they get them.
They also need to set some very clear boundaries on what customers are expected to spend without any return. If they are not willing to simply give straight odds, than they need to set a cap in place that gives a five star character for a set amount spent and each time they spend that amount consistently. Even if they are giving out the worse epics for these milestones, customers would rather get a 5 star red Shane for every $100 or $200 spent rather than nothing at all. If not to make the odds better and more fair to the people that are lining their wallets, they should do it out of respect towards those people that spend hundreds and even a thousand dollars or more without ever pulling an epic character.
By doing it just to show respect and admiration for their customers they are ensuring that the customers will spend more, its just good business. People would rather spend money with a company that shows their appreciation than with a company that ignores them and gives no returns 90% of the time.
" I know that the compensation was just a piece of pacification, however, we are unable to get any further in this regards. " ~ Scopely Support
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- Kayla Hebert
Read More About Scopely
- Players of Scopely Games Seeking Refunds from Google Play for Deceptive Advertising
Many players of The Walking Dead Road to Survival have already been issued refunds in the last 24 hours after Scopely support admits there is no way to increase chances on in-game purchases.
- Players of Scopely Games Demanding Refunds from Apple for Deceptive Advertising
Many players of The Walking Dead Road to Survival have already been issued refunds in the last 48 hours after Scopely support admits there is no way to increase chances on in-game purchases.