YoYo Games April Fool’s Prank Angers Indie Game Community

An April Fool’s Day prank has caused a slight PR mishap for YoYo Games today, with indie developers both on the official forums and on social networks like Twitter taking to criticize the company.

In a thread made out to have been placed in the wrong place so that it was viewable to the public, YoYo Games forum administrators and moderators made out as if the company and its famous program Game Maker was being sold to Valve, with many negative implications of this sale bringing brought down upon its users.

However, the April Fool’s prank thread was moved too early, with most forum members seeing it many hours before April Fool’s Day hit. Its elaborate creation — including time-stamped posts dating last month and three pages full of posts with fake member accounts with high post counts to cover the ruse — and wrongful timing meant that very few doubted its plausibility, taking to indie communities, Twitter, Facebook and other online sites to spread the news to other indie game developers and Game Maker users.

With the situation remaining unclear for a while after the thread was deleted (especially as new threads asking what was happening were being removed) and people even writing to Valve to complain about bad business practice, the prank has angered a lot of users both on and off of the forums — even perhaps deterring some from using their products at all.

At the end of the day it was just a poorly thought-out move and there’s no harm done; PR problems happen, but companies participating in April Fool’s Day need to keep one golden rule in mind as not to cause issues: a prank should always be fun and not upset your userbase.


About Ryan Brown

Commonly going by the alias 'Toadsanime' online, Ryan Brown acts as Coin Arcade's editor and primary writer. With an avid interest in various aspects of gaming -- including general gaming, indie gaming, retro gaming and merchandise collecting -- he aspires to build a career in the video game journalism industry. He also writes his own descriptions as if talking about somebody else, apparently.

2 comments on “YoYo Games April Fool’s Prank Angers Indie Game Community

  1. 1) There was no fake account used. The improv discussion involved moderators and admins and a seed topic from Mike (though each post could be edited my anyone)
    2) The time stamp was not fake, we added new content daily for 3 weeks, rated peoples replies acted as if it was true.
    3) The topic was moved, as part of the plan on the public area on April 1st, though 1 hour earlier than planned (or some of use confused the time and long on too late. I was coming back from Easter supper, expecting to log in at 10 PM My Time), long on at 9:40 but it was too late)
    4) The topic remained open to the public for about 30 minutes.
    5) The topic was deleted by sandy who somehow forgot that this was the April Fools topic, but I think it was more to do with the unexpected repercussion (I guess he never did a forum April fools joke before).
    6) Most moderators did not have a chance to chime in the topic once live to run the joke through it’s normal course.
    7) The deletion had a bigger effect than expected. People saw it, then they saw it gone, and that raised a lot more questions and put even more validity in the fake content (not planned)

    In any case, the end result was a big success as far as April Fools Jokes go.

  2. Sorry about all the typos. I don’t know what’s going on lately… My fingers have a mind of their own.

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