Report: Mobile game players don't mind playable ads
Players in the booming mobile gaming market are warming to in-game video ads but are much more into interactive ads, according to a new report on the sector compiled by Data.ai.
Why it matters: Mobile gaming is setting the standard for how games operate, so what’s accepted or successful in it may shape gaming overall.
- Spending on mobile games will reach $136 billion worldwide this year, Data.ai estimates. That’s compared to about $40 billion each on consoles and computer gaming.
- The U.S. made up about a third of that mobile market in the first quarter of 2022.
State of play: The common model for mobile games is that you can download them for free and then buy in-game items to have a better time.
- That model is spreading in console and PC games, though in-game ads on those platforms are rare.
- In-game ads on mobile, however, are common. And they don't just happen between levels of a game, as if they were a TV commercial. Popular free-to-play games like Farmville 3 often include ads that pop up midgame or that players are invited to watch or interact with to unlock rewards in the game.
Details: Of nearly 4,000 global players surveyed by Data.ai, a majority are fine with in-game ads in some form.
- A fifth say they’re fine with accepting ads in exchange for game content and services.
- About a third were a little more reserved, saying it depends on the app.
- Just 6% said they would broadly rather just pay for the game and not see ads.
Video ads are contentious, but attitudes are moving.
- They’re still more loathed than liked (The survey option “I can’t stand them” beat “I like them” three to one). But Data.ai reports the divide narrowed between late 2020 and late 2021.
- More popular are playable in-game ads, which serve as short demos of other games in the Russian nesting doll that is mobile game advertising. Those get an “I can’t stand them” from about a quarter of mobile gamers, but more than half of players think they’re “OK” or even like them.
The bottom line: Mobile gaming is gaming’s laboratory for economic experiments.
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