How Mobile Games Gamify Ad Viewing
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Many mobile game companies monetize through ad revenue. The goal is to keep users engaged by the gameplay long enough to sit through the occasional ad. And if the game is super addicting, users will be willing to sit through it more than once. Or voluntarily watch an extended video ad for more points or more play.
The games by Japanese company Masukachi Inc. take a more passive approach to their games. For example, their games like 10B Wives and Kept Man Life do not have any enemies to fight or obstacles to jump over. Rather, the only actions players can do is tap the screen and buy things.
Traditionally, in free mobile games, the experience is usually disrupted by the occasional ad. In games that require you to jump, dodge, or fight it requires a degree of concentration that feels sudden even if it’s a simple banner ad.
In Kept Man Life, you play as an unemployed boyfriend who does a variety of chores from cleaning to cooking to earn allowance from your girlfriend.
As you do more chores, you earn enough allowance to buy things for your girlfriend, which ironically earns you more allowance and new activities to level up. Beware of her father, who will confiscate your money if you run into him.
This seems like a dull concept at first, but the cutesy art and the user satisfaction from buying a new house or clones of yourself has kept users hooked to the game. The game is more calmer and banner ads don’t jerk you away from the experience as strongly. This is because there is less pressure to rely on reflexes, but rather stack as many points as possible through tapping or buying.
Ads feel more like a side note rather than trying to be the center of the show by putting itself in front of your game, which ironically keeps people in the game longer and more likely to take some glances at the ad and gain a real impression from it. It’s reminiscent of the old Tamagotchi toys that tracked your steps except that this game counts your taps, which gets you more money to purchase more things.
New things like a perpetual energy generator.
A simple and more passive game style gives users incentive to stay in the app without needing to be conscious of the gameplay like they would in other games like Cube Man or Angry Birds.
Users can stay on the game which earns them more money per second than if the game was closed. If you wanted, you could just tap on the screen all day while enjoying your favorite show and when you earn enough points, you can purchase and level up and then go back to tapping away.
However, you need pay at a little attention when executing actions otherwise you might end up clicking on an ad (as seen above). An important thing to note is that these types of games touches on a niche market of users who appreciate games, but do not have the time or the attention span to be occupied by any traditional games.
Other mobile games gamify ad-viewing by providing different benefits for it. Fruit Nibbler, the Candy Crush clone from the people that brought you Angry Birds, provides the player with a bonus starter in exchange for viewing ads. You need all the help you can get to eliminate these enemy lizards. Unless you want to spend real money on power-ups, which game companies will have no problem accepting.
In Olympus Rising, you are avenging the ruin of Olympus while simultaneously restoring it to its former glory. The Gods are generous enough to provide a free treasure chest that could contain equipment, gold, or ambrosia (energy) for your soldiers in exchange for viewing ads made by mortals. This will help a lot in your quest towards conquering your enemies.
Passive games like Kept Man Life still gives the user that feeling of satisfaction any given time they’re on the app. This is because they are making progress towards something even if it’s just letting money add up rather than games that require the user to actively pass different stages before accessing more content. Other game genres from puzzle to adventure can also find ways to gamify ad viewing in exchange for power-ups that help you through the game.