As many of you know, the founders of this site are in no way affiliated with the company that produces WWF. We are just grassroots enthusiasts like you. While some of us regard WWF as the best application for the iPhone, we are perplexed by its lack of stability over the past few weeks. Games are routinely interrupted by systems issues, and frustration spills over, sometimes to our mailbox.
We’re seeing the following types of emails on a regular basis now:
I am having lots of problems with the new words with friends app since I downloaded the most current upgrade.Â I have tried many things to improve performance with no avail.Â I removed the app and then reloaded it but I still cant play.Â Today, when I have been trying to play, it wont load.Â I play more word then it says “sending” but its like it freezes cause it just stays like that.Â Im starting to get irritated cause I love this game. –Mary
For whatever reason, the growth of WWF is straining its server technology. With a game that must be selling like hotcakes right now, one would think a significant chunk of revenue would be immediately invested into scaling the infrastructure. I have expressed these concerns with the good people over at NewToy, Inc, and they assure me that they’re doing everything possible to keep pace with the traffic increase.
On one hand, NewToy is a tiny upstart that would not have the infrastructure of a social networking giant or a search engine. With so many people using its platform for games and chats, their servers are getting bombarded, and I can appreciate that challenge. On the other hand, the NewToy founders are no strangers to mass market game success. They should have seen this coming and built something that could scale out more flexibly and rapidly.
So, what now? I have some ideas, which may or may not be feasible:
- Jack up the price another dollar to fund an overhaul of the server and database architecture (take out a loan or sell shares if needed to provide immediate capital). This will do two things: a) slow the growth in traffic since price will push down demand, and b) bring in increased revenue per user to fund the improvements. Return the price to equilibrium after the system is stable.
- Strike a partnership with an established Internet titan (Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, etc.) and have them manage the Internet traffic. Find some way to share revenues.
- Turn off the chat features for now. Let the games continue; after all, that’s what we really came for. Use the down time to address the capacity issues. Most users will understand.
Lastly, we should all realize that changes aren’t made on a dime at this scale. Whatever NewToy does, it will take time (weeks, if not months) to implement. I’m determined to be patient, because I still find that playing this game is well worth the occasional pain of system glitches. Moreover, I want NewToy to succeed. They had the vision, drive, and ingenuity to make WWF available to us, and I think they’ve got much more to offer. But they should realize that in consumer markets, loyalty has its limits.
What do you think?