A growing trend with mobile game producers, in an effort to generate revenue, is in-game-ads, and in-game-purchasing.
In regards to in-game-purchasing, the game is free to install and play, and one can purchase gold coins, or jewels i.e., some form of game currency which you then use to purchase upgrades, new levels, new characters etc. Typically one can also play to unlock these features, but paying is much faster.
From a family safe perspective in-game-purchasing is an acceptable form of generating revenue. A few popular examples:
In regards to in-game-ads, the game is free to install and play, but one must watch randomly placed ads to continue playing the game, and/or unlock new features. Sometimes these are full page ads that open in a browser, and in many cases play a video. Most in-game-ads give you the option to skip or close the ad, but not before you’ve basically seen the gist of the ad, and closing it isn’t always easy, especially for kids.
So what’s wrong with in-game-ads? As recently noted in the Independent.co.uk:
Examples of games with pop-up ads one must watch to play:
- My Talking Tom Tom
- On their appstore page, they state the are PRIVO certified to protect your childs privacy and personal information. Apparently this doesn’t include protection against adult content.
- Star Wars Rebel Alliance
Are some games with in-game-ads better than others? Not really because the developer(s) creating the game use third party companies to generate the ads, and there are only a few companies that create the ads, like AdMob.
App developers are looking to get paid for their work, and their options for generating revenue are:
- Sell the game outright with no ads
- Give the game away for free, but generate revenue by selling in-game-currency / items
- Give the game away for free, and place ads through out the game
- The ads are outsourced to third party companies like AdMob
So all in-game-ads are actually controlled by a few companies, much like the Mainstream Media we deal with today. I.E., if one game is showing objectionable content ads, then they are all suspect.