Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mobile Gaming is Busted!

10:48 AM By Barry Smyth No comments

I am sure that many people will remember the advent of the smartphone with the iPhones launch in 2007, and with it shortly afterwards it came the introduction of mobile gaming. Cute simple games that you could play on your mobile phone, many of them free, some costing a few dollars to purchase.

14 years later and how much things have changed. Mobile gaming has become a HUGE industry with reported revenues of $81 billion in 2020 (LINK) alone. And of course as smartphones evolved and became more powerful, so too have the games. And as games become more complex, rich in graphics and sound and gameplay, the cost of mobile games have spiraled out of control.

Even worse, many games have simply become advert black holes, with game play totally and utterly destroyed by so many of them. And while it's true there are games that allow you to pay to remove adverts, many rely on in-app purchases for you to progress beyond a certain point, or rely on the addictive nature of their games to get you to spend more and more. Indeed in-app purchases range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars at a time. And #google and #apple are doing nothing about it. There are no limitation on adverts, there are no limitations on in-app purchases. When the cost of a single in-app purchase costs more than a full game for playstation or xbox, people should be asking questions.

Of course people can argue you don't have to buy the in-app purchases, it's a choice and no-one is forcing you. And yes, that's true to a point but doesn't address the fundamental issue of how the pricing for those in-app purchases are costed and "who" controls the cost of such purchases to ensure they are reasonable and even justified? The answer of course is no-one, not even #google or #apple especially since they have skin in the game themselves. And did I mention the "addictive" nature of mobile gaming? Indeed many games rely on this human condition to fuel purchases.

So where is it going to end? Are people going to end up taking out a second mortgage in 14 years because they are playing a mobile game? When are we going to get an industry watchdog around mobile gaming so that controls can be put in place to protect people from themselves? Indeed the question should be asked if in-app purchases have destroyed the mobile gaming industry (LINK)

When are we going to get back to buying a game outright on a mobile platform? Probably never is the answer because as long as the likes of #google and #apple don't care then no-one else is going to care either.

Of course the simply answer is to delete them all from your phone. And that works for some. But as successive younger generations grow up in a more technology capable society, advances in technology and peer pressure will continue to fuel the add-filled, in-app purchase quagmire of an industry that mobile gaming has become while #google and #apple simply sit back and do ..... nothing.

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