ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  Login Using Facebook

Circular Advertising

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 04/08/17 at 04:18 PM CT

Last weekend during our regular Sunday brunch, my mother, who has gotten a lot of enjoyment out of my Xbox Live account and Microsoft’s casual games on Windows 10, asked me, “Do your tablet games show you a lot more ads lately?” Being the fan of “Microsoft Mahjong” and “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” that she is, Mom has been playing the daily challenges with the same dedication as a typical hardcore MMO player. Commonly, these casual Microsoft games stream a video advertisement between daily challenges (or between attempts, since these typically take more than one try).

My reply was that the so-called “tablet” games (really, she meant “mobile,” but isn’t tech savvy at all at age 68) I play don’t typically show me ads unless I ask them to. However, I did play (and somehow manage to FINISH!) “Bad Piggies,” which was an ad-supported “free” game that would randomly show me videos between stages, and also show me videos when I would choose to watch them as part of the daily mission system that was added last year. I have discussed the only other two mobile games I play with any regularity before. “Final Fantasy Record Keeper” doesn’t have any ads, while “Star Trek Timelines” has voluntary ads that provide the player with a small reward for sitting through them.

“Well, I’m getting more, and they’re all for a bunch of damned games!” Mom huffed.

That statement stuck in my mind. When I was playing “Bad Piggies,” and early on when “Star Trek Timelines” introduced incentivized ad-watching, the video ads I saw were for a variety of real world goods. Because I don’t let Google use my personal information to serve ads, it pretends to know nothing about me (*tinfoil hat* Google knows everything!), so it would serve me video ads for tampons, cat food, Swiffers, Febreeze, cars, and whatnot. For about 6 months, though, give-or-take, I haven’t seen an ad for anything like that. Instead, the ads I’ve been seeing in mobile games are all for… other mobile games!

What is going on here? How do providers of ad-supported “free” mobile games afford to run ads in other ad-supported “free” mobile games? Where does the injection of outside revenue enter the picture?

Obviously, micromacrotransactions are behind this. Most of these “free” ad-supported games macrotransaction engines allow for some injection of cold, hard cash. Even Microsoft’s casual games, while not nearly as predatory as a gacha machine or Pay2Win whale net, allow players to pay money for a “premium” version that doesn’t have ads. But games that employ the dichotomy of an ad-supported “free” version and an ad-free “premium” version are the minority, it seems, and even some games like “Bad Piggies,” for which I did buy the “premium” upgrade, still show ads after the player has coughed-up cash.

Back in 2015, a fairly detailed article on mobile game revenue revealed that roughly 10% of ad-supported apps made more than $10,000 per month. Video ads run at a rate of somewhere between $2 and $3 per impression (according to Chart Boost), plus whatever it cost to put together the video itself, which can be pricy, and we can’t forget that Google/Apple/Microsoft need to take their cut for building the ad system in the first place. All of these ads add-up to more outlay that a mobile macrotransaction engine developer needs to recoup to break even.

All of those apps making less than $10K/month are simply digging themselves a deeper hole after paying the programmers, artists, and other folks involved in making the actual end “product.” Back when mobile was the new hotness, venture capitalists were willing to throw money at apps right and left, much in the same way they threw money at “web sites” in order to build-up the DotCom bubble… and we all remember what happened to that. Things are clearly heading in the same direction in the mobile ecosystem, as app makers find themselves dependent on advertising their apps in other apps made by people dependent on advertising their apps in other apps, and so on and so forth ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   



Previous Blog Posts


All Posts

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Log In
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroe... game review by Megadrive
Driver 2 game review by Megadrive
Metro 2033 game review by Chris Kavan
South Park: The Fractured ... game review by Chris Kavan
Burokku Girls game review by Nelson Schneider
Finding Paradise game review by Nelson Schneider
To the Moon game review by Nelson Schneider
Sundered game review by Chris Kavan

New Game Lists

Games I Own: Switch by dbarry_22
Backlog (Multi-Player) by Nelson Schneider
My Backlog by Chris Kavan
Ranking the James Bond Video ... by SIngli6
Backlog by Matt
Top GameCube Games by Batgirl1979
Top PlayStation 3 Games by Megadrive
Top Nintendo (NES) Games by Nick




Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us


About us



Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use


Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?