At that point I uninstall even though the game is fun. It's not like I can just pay a 1 time fee to get rid of all ads with the type of game I am talking about. I have paid to get rid of ads for a few bucks in the past, but these games will still pester you with in game pop-ups for "diamond memberships" (outrageous recurring subscription fee for nominal and significant bonuses) and "best value" gem packs (also sold at outrageous prices going up to $100 for the biggest pack).
No ads, no permissions beyond file storage, no issues working offline.
But you can't buy that anymore; now the only option is a 'free' version which has ads that you cannot pay away.
Fortunately I can still download the old version from the app store; now it is called 'zzSUNSET <game>' in the list of purchased apps. But I'm amazed at how consumer-hostile game companies have gotten; I guess the ads must pay out the wazoo. It makes me really hesitant to try any new mobile game, especially since I don't really have much time for them these days. I'm not going to spend 30 seconds out of every 1-5 minute diversion watching an ad, that's ridiculous.
It's unfortunate how bad the state of mobile gaming is, considering how powerful today's phones are.
Ive just taken to replaying old JRPGs from my childhood, they're very compatible with that playstyle. Sure, a battle may take 2-4 days to complete, but it's much more entertaining.
I think this is a huge reason a game like Clash of Clans has done so well. I could never get into it, but my brother has been playing steadily for 4 years. He likely only spends 10-15/year, but the devs haven't annoyed him enough to quit. It's the worst sort of pay-to-avoid waiting game, which is why I couldn't stand it, but somehow still less exploitative than most of the competing mobile games.
I'm just so disappointed that I'm carrying around a far more powerful device than even a PC from my childhood, and some of the best gaming experiences are old console games.
My theory of the awfulness of phone games is that it's more about the fact that phones don't have any input devices. So you see things like endless runners where the only possible command is "jump", which works well with the hardware where the only input you can provide is "I touched the screen". If the game had two commands, it wouldn't work on a phone.
I put ScummVM on my phones. It works fine; the only input an adventure game needs is mouse clicks with no time pressure. Interestingly, the current version is a huge step backwards in usability from the much older version available through f-droid -- the older version takes a screen tap to mean "click in the location of the cursor", and you move the cursor by dragging your finger around the screen. But the current version takes a screen tap to mean "click under where I tapped the screen", making clicking almost impossible.
My theory of the awfulness of phone games is that awful, cookie cutter games on phones can make lots of money, so lots of firms are happy to churn them out on an assembly line, knowing that a certain percentage will succeed.
There's enough not-awful phone games to establish that the platform doesn't inherently mandate awfulness, so it's about the market not the inherent platform features.
> If the game had two commands, it wouldn't work on a phone.
There's plenty of games with multiple commands on phones (one or two virtual directional sticks plus a handful, often contextually switched so the total number is greater than is onscreen at any one time, virtual buttons is not uncommon.
They can only do this in the absence of competition from non-awful games. You claim that those games exist, but you don't support that claim in any way. Why do you think they haven't displaced the awful games?
There's an infinite number of terrible games being constantly turned out for the PC too; the difference is that the PC also has good games.
Saying there are no good games on mobile is just ridiculous. Not just because quite a few decent PC games were closely ported to mobile, usually without predatory bullshit. But everything with a price sticker has to compete with "free". Saying the market will sort things out in favor of good games is just as ridiculous. Predatory tactics seem to work quite effectively, seem to make money for the industry and as such wont disappear anytime soon. Maybe if they go overboard and we consequently get some decent regulation.
There are a number of good reasons PC gaming is still a lot different from mobile, like how it started in a widely different position and still has quite different target audiences. But there is no indication it will stay that way, at least in terms of awful business practices.
No, they can only do this because there's actually a solid market for what I (and I assume you) see as awful games for extremely portable handheld devices; essentially, I think they are pretty much digital fidget spinners.
Pretty simple reason. There's enough games that charge $0 up front that products asking for even $1 up front, get negligible downloads. Consequently, everybody has to charge $0 up front which immediately constrains you to advertising or mostly coercive business models. And this business model then ends up meshing into the game itself. It's not easy to have a game when you have this constraint of having to coerce the user into paying. It invariably lends itself to a sort of addiction + satiation pattern. And oddly what's most addictive is not necessarily the most fun; in many cases it's not really any fun at all.
Arguably it's the same reason console gaming is dying. Increasingly often now a days you're not buying a game for $60, you're buying a starter pack which is then filled out a la carte with DLC and various microtransactions. And once again this model directly impacts the game experience itself. It's stripped down to the bare bones to attempt to coerce purchase of the 'whole' game. But to further 'incentivize' people to buy the 'whole' game, the stripped out content is often not only necessary for a complete experience but also grossly imbalanced in the player's favor. It's a very myopic business model. Fortunately PC gaming is full of independent developers who've yet to grasp the sophisticated business strategy of MBAing yourself to death, and then blaming everything except your own actions for your deteriorating longterm results.
Not just with consoles. This sort of thing is what made me stop buying AAA games altogether, and largely to stop gaming generally. Now when I occasionally want to play a game, I pretty much stick with the ones I bought a decade or more ago, or ones that I find on GOG.
"Prostitute" has negative historical connotations. For example, we will say that Mitch McConnell has prostituted himself to billionaires, but we would never call him a sex worker.
I don't think that's technically true.
But I would say at the very least "sex work" covers dominatrices, pre-recorded and live-streaming porn performances, strip club and lap dance performances, as well as escorts. So "sex worker" isn't precisely equal to "prostitute"
This is demonstrably untrue.
I agree with your second sentiment (although I wouldn't generalize to "scumbags"), but there are a lot of people out there doing jobs that are extremely unpleasant, for far less money than prostitution can make.
If you don't have to fear your customer because the legal system has your back (making you independent of pimps and the like), prostitution is a possible way to make a significant amount of money - on your own conditions, in your own time, without the fear of being fired and all the other stuff a normal workplace imposes.
Noped out of that and started getting a lot more critical when it comes to where I work with regard to ethics.
Neither is good, but the latter is worse.
If someone has ADHD, adderall slows them down so they can concentrate. It reduces mind-fog from too much stimulus.
If you don't have ADHD, its like a super cup of coffee, but in pill form.
My doctor was trying to figure out my cognitive issue. And for a time, I was on adderall. It was pretty easy to tell that I didn't have ADHD, since I started getting upper'd. Felt nice, don't get me wrong. But I'll stick with coffee.
That is nothing like a good point at all. It sounds more like rationalizing questionable activity.
It boggles my mind that internet is not a revokable permission. Anywhere. I'd be happy to give X access to e.g. contacts, as long as it cannot upload that info, but until I ran a local VPN that hasn't been an option at all.
Why are (stock) mobile permissions so user-hostile?
Most of these companies make all of their money from "whales," people who play around the clock and spend a significant amount of money per month on in-app purchases and/or subscriptions.
They have optimized their experience for finding and landing whales, and at the end of the day, you are probably an irritant to them, walking around complaining about the game while contributing so little to the developer's revenues.
This, by the way, is why I don't play very many mobile games.
(1) very "casual" players who don't spend that much time, and just want to roll, or to use money as a substitute for game time;
(2) very dedicated players who want to be at the top of some ranking.
from my own observations (2 pre-teen kids) they are infinently patient in sitting through ad after in order to keep playing.
I used to freely install any highly rated free-to-play educational game. Now I only install paid stuff, as those don't have these pathological ads.
I'm not any advertising, but the only good ad is an ad I asked to see, as when I'm using a web-search-engine for a product.
He also learned through trial and error not to accidentally tap on the ads.
>Among the AAP recommendations:
>For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
>For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
Heck I bet shipping your child off to daycare every day hinders them more than 90 minutes of tablet time. Particularly in a household of two full time stay at home parents and every conceivable monetary and educational advantage they could want for. But I doubt the AAP goes telling everyone that they're doing it wrong if they pay others to raise their kids each day.
Sorry... I'm ranting. I just don't like highly distilled parental advice from organizations. One size fits all culture we have here in the west, I think, is very harmful.
We send our kids 3 days a week and would probably do it even if we weren’t both working.
Room for a variety of opinions here, agree one size does not fit all.
Wow, no surprise there. I'm sure you recognize how privileged you and your children are to be able to grow up this way.
One size fits all advice is necessary because it is not economically feasible to provide individual expert advice to every single person. Many people unfortunately use a phone/tablet as a cheaper form of child care ignoring the child as long as they are quite and entertained.
But yes, you are right that it is a great privilege to have a lot of parent time available.
The sadder one to me is the folks who don’t take advantage of their available time. I know quite a few parents who are either not working or wealthy enough to not work for several years with no significant financial/career impact but who still hire someone else to take care of their kids full time, because they think of childcare as an annoying hassle.
My 2.5 year old doesn’t get too much screen time (occasional movies or Mr Rogers episodes), but more because I haven’t spent any time investigating the possibilities than because we have a strong philosophical objection to it.
I’m not too sold on the terrifying stories though.
edit: Here's an article from nature which compiles some research on the topic. https://www.nature.com/news/the-myopia-boom-1.17120
There’s no reason to believe that screens are inherently worse for vision than books, knitting, legos, or any other close work. Which is to say, any of these are only a problem to the extent they are crowding out outdoor time.
If you’re worried about it, get your kids out to the playground or walking around the neighborhood or hiking in the woods for a few hours every day.
It's handicapped in a lot of other ways. To name a few, you can't disable auto-play, if you want to disable recommendations the only way to do so is by selecting some channels that you would like your kid to have access to, and that will disable search AND casting. There's an un-skippable startup animation, and a whole lot of other animations that make the app feel slow. And the android tv version of it won't allow you to type in search queries with a keyboard (which the other youtube does allow).
In other words, it's better than the standard YT app in a lot of ways but it's an extremely frustrating UI for both the kids and adults.
This is on my Macbook and all three major browsers Safari, Chrome and Firefox.
... AAAAAAND watch as this gets fixed (I'm an idiot).
most of the time i try to use the web-view instead of the app. i see way less (or maybe zero?) ads there.
It takes some trial and error, but eventually (in 1-2 minutes) you will be able to have blocked out all the ads by simply not allowing connection to download the 'ad content'.
Yes, the developer made free game and expects to be paid (via ads)
No, the developer and his/her/their ad partners don't have the right to violate your privacy when you (or your kid) play a game.
I don't play many phone games but DNS66 has completely removed every ad from my phone with no hassle (no root required), assuming it reliably works on games it sound simpler than having to approve individual requests.
I'd agree that it is unethical to avoid things that try and stop the game from working while you run an adblocker. I signed no contract and there is no social contract that says I have to look at the ads or let all your network requests go through. To create that social contract developers need to communicate it clearly (the easiest way being to attempt to block people using adblockers from playing the game). It's not like the existence of adblockers is a secret or something.
They may prefer that those web requests succeed and generate ad revenue, but that’s literally just a mere hope that the user will choose to allow that to happen.
Another example could be creating a little robot that floats above my shoulder and uses a computer vision system to place some construction paper in my field of vision dynamically to block the photons of light coming from ad pixels from reaching my eyeball.
I’ll just miniaturize that idea and place it into my phone either as a browser/app ad blocking program, or a root level web request blocker, etc.
If I was doing business with one of my friends, I'd strive to use their services in ways we agreed were fair, not just ways I thought were fair and they disagreed. My friends are reasonable and honest people, so if we disagreed I could be wrong as easily as they could.
Of course, the ad industry isn't much of an ethical beacon and an industry isn't capable of being anyone's friend, so I run an ad blocker. But the angle other people are coming from is pretty easy to understand.
What? Of what relevance is the random thought of the content producer when it comes to my personal property.
That’s like saying using my leaf blower to blow leaves is unethical because someone somewhere else in the world thinks I should use my leaf blower as a golf club.
Some person made a game or a streaming service or whatever. They hope people will allow ads to be displayed with it on the peoples’ personal property. But that creator person, who has no connection whatsoever to my personal property, does not influence any concept of ethics about the way I use my property.
I installed it at some point, but then I wasn't sure how it was any different from the data usage settings in the app
properties? There are options to disable Wi-Fi and data there too.
If there was a well-curated newsletter that had a weekly review of new apps (mostly games, but maybe also other categories), I'd even pay for the newsletter ($10/20 a year?) for giving me a better experience than the Play Store. So if there's anyone out there looking for a side gig idea that doesn't really involve programming, and this sounds like your cup of tea, please let me know.
I agree. Stardew Valley is one of the rare modern games that is actually wonderful and a joy in pretty much every respect.
Not one for dark patterns, I'm happy to say don't use the Chinese HSK app by Around Pixels.
I just don't get why this behavior is becoming so common. I don't understand why advertisers would support it either. If someone is clicking on your app only because they did it by accident (like this app frequently caused me to do), that's going to make the user also frustrated with your product. Supporting this behavior is actually harmful to your product.
That was the day that I deleted my favorite iOS game and never looked back. I was very disappointed in what had happened, but I am just that fed up with pervasive full screen advertisements.
Seems that other users are as well. A quick web search will show you a lot of altered .apk versions available for download.
That said; there are a lot of ads that violate the rules and hide buttons or even crash in such a way as to make closing the app the only option other than installing the advertised game/app.
* play the game in an airplane mode
* switch to another activity and turn on the internet
* game prefetches an ad or even several while in the background
So next time you launch the game you'd have to see those cached ads. It's definitely better than having the game fetch and shove them in your face all the time, but still it isn't a complete solution in this case.
The idea is that companies don't advertise at first to take advantage of the exponential growth and user retention when they start getting hot, and once they have market share they start to target profit rather than growth.
If you have existing other revenue sources, then you definitely have to factor that into the equation.
The 10% that click are likely spit somewhere around 50-50 between the least valuable eyeballs (suckers who click ads) and people that actually are interested, depending upon the ad type (Search more valuable, banners less so).
I've noticed more and more dark patterns to trick users into accidentally clicking on an ad. Showing an "x" in the top corner before the ad is allowed to be closed/skipped, for example. I'm not sure whether it's game developers or advertising agencies who are responsible but it's definitely frustrating.
Is there a better response, you think, that would possibly decrease the number of ads I see?
And in the end, I don't really see much variety in the ads I see. Decent variety in account/company, but very little variety in product/market type.
There are tools that come with using ads that allow for insights into better SEO though - e.g. Adwords keyword planner.
Isn't this exactly what Google does? Paid placements put you above organic results in the SERPs, presumably other search sites do that too.
And over the years they've added more ads on top of the organic results (instead of the sidebar) and made them less distinguishable.
If a game does offer it, but doesn't let me play for long enough to decide whether I like the game before it starts serving up unskippable ads, I uninstall it.
Most games simply don't give enough time to decide if you even like it before they start throwing ads at you. That seems like a terrible policy in general, regardless of whether you have a "skip ads" IAP or not. You want to wait until the player has made up their mind about your game before you start degrading the experience. This seems like such an obvious thing I don't know why so many games are so bad about it.
I've never been on the other side, so I don't know how well that converts. But as a customer, I love the idea. "Euclidea" does this for example: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hil_hk.euc... They also have IAP for dark mode.
This is why I loved the old Peggle games from PopCap but hate the new mobile one.
-Very few games provide demos.
-Steam allows refunds under certain conditions, but also reserves the right to ban accounts that abuse that system, and declines to define abuse. Therefore it's generally advisable to avoid using refunds to try games, and save them for when there is a issue.
So there is definitely a gap where demos would serve well.
Paid upfront model is dead on iOS, unless you are some big shot company that will have their application featured on day 1.
I think level packs are pretty much a match made in heaven for puzzle type games, as are selling credits for hints.
Be sure to include at one or a few hours of gameplay for free, that seems like a nice balance. Updating with new level packs every now and then (both paid and free) is a good way to keep people excited and get additional income from people who really enjoy the game.
Selling additional color/texture themes might also be a way to increase sales.
I don't know why people even consider ads for games.
If a game/application has the "have ads" under the install button, i don't even install it to check it out. Because I know that even if i am not seeing ads, the framework is underneath the game, collecting data just the same.
It definitely will not generate as much revenue as an aggressively ad-monetized one, but hopefully it's still profitable.
App pricing is somewhat tricky, since most people hesitate to even pay $0.99. I personally wouldn’t just buy something without knowing if I’d like it or not. Descriptions and reviews may not always help in knowing that. Actually playing it certainly would.
Also consider keeping some exciting or challenging parts in the free set so that users can know what more to expect if they pay.
But lure me in. Show me your game is fun. With a puzzle based game you can have the first couple levels be free then make a popup about continue with ads or upgrade. I'd respect that a lot.
That is the best "user friendly, but viable" option I've seen in the wild.
There is such a thing as non-targeted advertising. An app developer can solicit money from sponsors to have their ads included in the app and displayed at particular times without sending any data back to either the developer or the advertiser. This is how advertising worked back before every app started demanding a continuous Internet connection even for basic non-network functions.
Almost all app developers who include advertising are using third party libraries to do the ads, after all.
Gentle house ads to upgrade to the paid version for more fun.
I was thinking about showing ads after every other match w/ the option to pay out and now I think I'll only show them past a certain rank, or just put up a pay wall.
You're more lenient than I am. I uninstall any application the instant I see an ad.
(I think this was a throwaway idea in Snow Crash)
Sure you can say something about willpower whatever, but constantly being bombarded by them is horrible.
I’m pretty happy with what I have, I don’t need all this stuff. But advertising makes me want stuff I don’t need.
I don’t feel bad about blocking advertising to improve my quality of life.
I cannot for the life of me find it - does it ring any bells with anyone?
One thing I've noticed is that ads seem like an afterthought in most apps. The New York Times iPhone app displays ads, even if you pay for it, and occasionally the entire app will freeze while it's waiting for ads to download. (The app works offline, but if it gets a hint of network availability, it will stop the world to try and download them. Usually as your train is leaving the subway station with a 4G signal entering the tunnel without.) The Wall Street Journal app is similar, except instead of freezing completely, scrolling starts to run at about 5Hz instead of the expected 60Hz. Obviously, the developers of the apps develop it with ads turned off (or with sample images loaded from servers they control with no DNS lookup latency, etc.), so probably aren't even aware of these issues. That is going to reduce subscriptions, even if the images weren't ads.
I paid for this game, a kids game I thought, why can't I just enjoy it with my son?
Many games now offer micro-transactions, casino style loot crates where you can open them by buying keys to have a chance of wining something. Even I bought a few things in games. However, many others young or old drop massive amount of cash on some games. My uncle drops thousands of dollar in world of tanks(or whatever it is called) to have the best tank. Plus, those game can create gambling addiction in kids, I think it is quite sad.
Speaking of training kids to gamble, I'm gonna thread jack with a public service announcement, please avoid letting your kids see any "Surprise Egg" videos all costs. I downloaded "you-tube kids", their supposedly safe curated experience, and almost half of the recommended videos on a completely clean user install was this moronic kiddy click bait that turns youngsters into drooling dopamine rinsed zombies, primed for our loot-box overlords.
Un-install, go play outside.
The difference between the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Go with all of the in app purchases is stark.
Old-fashioned console and PC gaming is still a thing, though mobile inspired microtransactions are starting to creep into the market.
When I play Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the in-game experience is mostly ad-free, but there is a side quest on my quest log that appears to be a cross-promotion with some non-Nintendo game.
It's really frustrating that Nintendo is also doing this bullshit now, even if in moderation.
 Representative example: http://www.bearingnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/IMG_49...
I don't, if the ad is on a device or program that I've paid cash money for.
Honestly the thing that kills mobile games for me more then ads is waiting. I like tycoon style games, a genre destroyed on mobile by timers.
Two additional questions I have are:
1) Which 10% of users churn because of ads? Are these just average p50% actives or are they power users who evangalize your product?
2) What's the effect on annual growth rate?
But probably depends on volume and/or type of ads?
[EDIT] Clarified re: traffic
I think you mention later in the Twitter thread that Patreon has given you much more recurring revenue than ads? I wish operators would spend the time to look at the effectiveness of ad alternatives as you've done.
From the Pandora paper, (which showed that as more ads were played during pandora sessions, subscriptions were boosted but free users left) it sounds like there's an "optimal advertisement" rate for revenue. Enough to not push away users, but not too much to deter users altogether.
It followed the same pattern as I've seen for years.
> Enough to not push away users, but not too much to deter users altogether.
That could be. I might've had a goldilocks amount.
Removing advertising doesn't have the same kind of immediate effect because the "audience" for it is people who haven't even heard of your app yet, and have no idea whether you're ad-free or not. (Here I'm discounting the possibility that there's a bunch of people waiting, hoping you eliminate ads so they can finally join.)
So the effects of removing ads probably have a much longer lag-time, governed to a significant degree by the usual mechanisms and rates of user acquisition.
Edit: you can also argue that the pre-existing users of an ad-free app have to some degree self-selected based on a hatred of ads, and that in a more general sample, the proportion for whom ads are a deal-breaker might be lower than 1 in 10.
Possible the 10% were using adblockers, and so didn't notice the change.
Edit: As an ethical workaround, I find myself increasingly opening a site in broser A without blocker and then copying the URL to another browser B with blocking, because I can't concentrate on the content anymore, or maybe switching to reader mode to consume the content. But, does presenting the ads to me make any sense at all? Most interestingly, this would result in inflated user statitistics. Maybe, we're seeing a combination of both?
Back in the ancient history before Google and search engines, a web site I built was submitted for inclusion in DMOZ. At the time, all web sites were hand-approved by an editor who also wrote a description of the site.
The site was included, but the description noted that it was "covered with too many ads" or something similar.
The site had one 468x60 static image banner ad, and one 236x60 static image ad.
My how our standards have changed.
It would be different if the typical ad experience were a related, useful product. But it's always unrelated hot garbage - distracting and annoying at any pixel size.
Reasonable ads don't bother me.
I don't long for the day when I can install an ad blocker in my car's windshield so I don't see billboards or the names of car dealerships on the backs of the other cars.
Then again, when I drive someplace where there's too many billboards I find it annoying.
I wouldn't say that your old site, with its two image ads, was "covered with too many ads", but I would still expect an ad blocker to remove them.
That's not to say that it wouldn't change now, but just throwing out there that it didn't make a difference then.
From the tweet itself, this is 10% of activity, not users. Kind of suspect that someone misinterpreted their own data so significantly.
It's possible for any of those activity metrics to go down 10% without losing any active users.
That leads to an interesting thought. Ads are definitely one of the more egalitarian ways of getting payment from people, as they sap time and attention somewhat equally (or randomized along a fairly predictable spectrum not affected by most differentiators, I would think), and in proportion to how much you use something.
Also, the ones problematic form a privacy perspective likely screw people over equally as well.
Any attempt to rule out confounding parameters - on the web ads increase pageload a heap.