Do you remember the days when people thought that mobile phone video games were going to destroy the console market? Pepperidge farm remembers. Though console and mobile games are completely different beasts with their own demographics to market to and gameplay styles, mobile phone games were seen as the next big thing because nearly everyone had a mobile phone, which couldn’t be said for consoles. This narrative that mobile phone games were going to dominate the gaming marketplace eventually died down and those games have settled into their own corner of the greater gaming landscape. But, mobile phone games have begun to have a problem that is ruining the experience for those interested in them. That problem is forced adverts.
I recently purchased an iPhone X, a decision I am slowly regretting considering the monthly cost of my phone bill. After I installed all of the essential applications onto my phone, I decided to move onto the gaming side of the store. University has completely taken up most of my free time, so I haven’t had the chance to invest in any console games. So, to scratch my gaming itch, I decided to try out some mobile phone games. I downloaded titles such as Fallout Shelter, Sonic Boom and Marvel Strike Force, the latter being a game that I have sunk too many hours into. Though these games suffer from the constant need to wait around for a timer to countdown before you can continue playing, that is unless you drop some real-world cash, I have had a fun time with them. It wasn’t until I decided to try some other free games that I ran into the advert problem.
Can I play the game already?
Nearly every game I downloaded forced me to watch adverts on a regular basis. Did you fail a level and want to retry? You have to watch an advert first. Did you finish a level and want to head back to the home screen? You have to watch an advert first. Some adverts for video games even force you to play some of the game before you can close the advert. That’s right. You need to play a game you don’t want to play before you can play the game you want to play.
The saddest thing about this is that, from what I have played and the reviews I have read, these games that are plagued with adverts tend to be very good. Most of the reviews praise the game but give them low scores because it forces you to sit through advert after advert. The developers know how annoying this is because they have options for gamers sick of seeing the Final Fantasy advert playing for the hundredth time. If you drop some money, you can completely remove advertisements and enjoy the game as intended. I don’t like the waiting mechanic found in many mobile games, but I don’t find it anywhere near as annoying as forced advertisements. I can’t recall how many games I have uninstalled because of this.
Look, I understand.
Now, I know why free games are littered with adverts. Since the game is free, developers need to make money somehow. But, these games also have microtransactions, a common occurrence through mobile and now, console games. So, if I were to pay for the removal of the adverts, which is similar to purchasing the game, why does it also include microtransactions? You can’t have it both ways. Honestly, I prefer microtransactions over the forced adverts. If something can make me long for the days of microtransactions dominating the mobile gaming market, you know the developers have done goofed.
Mobile games have the user base that consoles and PC’s could only dream of. Nearly everyone has a phone and when they are waiting on the train, or in a line, or pooping, they may want to play a quick video game to pass the time. That is the beauty of mobile phone games and many console creators have tried entering the portable sphere to take advantage of that market. But, if mobile phone games keep up with the trend of forcing players to watch dozens upon dozens of advertisements before they can play the game, I imagine that it will result in players looking for another gaming avenue to pass the time. I’d rather play Mario Kart: 8 Deluxe while I’m pooping than watch an advert for the next Candy Crush rip off. Winning that gold trophy sure helps my bowels.