Editorial

How misleading mobile game ads are hurting the industry

A thought to ponder!

Advertisements, where the tech would be without them? Promotional and sponsored advertisements play a crucial role in any business strategy aimed at broadening one’s reach beyond the existing customer base. The majority of game studios, be it mobile or other platforms, utilize these advertisements across various platforms to enhance game engagement, which is a legitimate and effective approach to capturing one’s eye. However, amidst this widespread practice, there is a growing concern about misleading false ads that deceive players into believing that a mobile game is something entirely different from what is portrayed in the ads shown.

While promotional advertisements serve as a means to attract players and generate interest, deceptive practices in advertising can lead to a serious lack of trust in the developer, however good their products might be. Sadly, there is an increasing number of such ads derailing the purpose of advertisements, and plenty of players falling for the trap and repenting for it too.

Mobile game ads and their frequency of it

Well, we might be familiar with the mobile game ads served down our throats aplenty on almost, every platform. These advertisements serve a crucial purpose in enticing potential players by offering a concise yet enticing overview of the game’s content and gameplay, making it easier for them to understand what the game is all about.

Mobile game ads
Image via Tinuiti

Additionally, due to their ability to provide quick glimpses into the game’s features and mechanics, these ads play a pivotal role in rapidly attracting a large audience. As the gaming industry continues to grow exponentially, developers and publishers recognize the significance of crafting compelling ads that can make a lasting impression on their players.

Game developers often rely on ads as an additional source of income, integrating them into the game as a means to recharge or obtain in-game resources, which is okay, but when an ad gets in between your gameplay experience, say every interval of a football game or a game of chess, it becomes highly frustrating for players. It just takes out the essence of the game, but what’s worse is that they are not presenting what’s supposed to be factual.

The recent ads with deceptive videos have spiraled out of control

In recent times, an increasing number of mobile games have integrated ads with deceptive videos, misleading players about the actual gameplay experience. These ads often showcase content that is unrelated to the game’s real mechanics, graphics, or features, leading to false expectations among potential players.

To begin our exploration of their weird ads, let’s delve into some examples, starting with the game called Days of Empire. It is a strategic build and battle type of game which is pretty huge, with over 5 million downloads under its name. There are no complaints about the gameplay, but the ads are miserable, even involving stuff that is NSFW.

Days of Empire gameplay differences from ads
Image via ONEMT

There are so badly distributed that some guy on YouTube has made a compilation of the ads that have been presented over time, give it a watch, and you’ll get to know how fake they are. Their official Facebook page has enough of this content filled as well, which is an extremely disappointing approach to showcasing their game as it truly is. Homescapes is yet another example, where they have been popularly sharing fake ads of their games, which were previously banned for misleading content.

Well, there might be an argument that this game isn’t popular, so let us take out the big guns. Supercell’s popular title Clash of Clans is a clean experience in-game without ads, however, they have caught community heat for a woeful-looking sponsored gameplay video that is truly misleading if you are a new player. The players voiced strong opinions in criticizing the video, but that didn’t stop them from churning out a few more of such content.

Not only the fake ads but there are instances of escalating misogynistic content that has been observed from various small-scale developers, who resort to using such filth to attract an audience in a standard not appreciable. This approach is not only offensive but also reflects poorly on the gaming industry’s standards and values.

The industry is suffering due to misleading ads, and here’s how

Good ads are a savior for many games, but ads like those mentioned above are a dark patch on an industry that is rapidly expanding. With ads, you are looking forward to keeping the experience clean and engaging the community into offering a product you present. However, if misleading content is employed, you are breaking the trust of consumers.

Honest and transparent advertising is vital to foster trust and build a strong and loyal consumer base. User retention is something that is valued a lot in the industry. A good brand of ads followed by the promised quality of games is a must, is essential to keep players engaged and coming back for more. A distrust is easy to earn more than a good opinion.

Image via Unsplash

This not only affects the developers sharing such ads but also the legitimate and honest creators in the industry. If there’s a great-looking game matching the visuals of the advert they have released, they might be labeled a false advertiser too, if the user hasn’t played it. Negative reviews and word-of-mouth publicity can be a huge factor to consider and are damaging in many instances.

Because of the misleading content shared, a lot of players aren’t looking forward to trying out new games. This kills out the potential developers trying to create something new. As consumers, we get caught in a loop where we have to put in extra effort to find trustworthy games amidst the sea of fraudulent ads peddlers.

The community needs to avoid false ads, and the developers should too

As a community, what we can follow up is action by voicing our opinions against these ads. The most effective step we can take is to report any misleading or unsafe ads whenever we come across them. By doing our part and following up on such reports, we can collectively contribute to creating a safer and more honest gaming environment for everyone.

Developers, on the other hand, should refrain from going beyond the game’s context in their ads. Their advertisements should not only avoid catering to specific groups of people but also strive to represent the gaming community as a whole. Overall, they should look forward to having a clean experience on the platforms we share apart from the ones they represent. It might take time to cleanse the existing mess, but the measures can be a major plus.

Do you feel that misleading mobile game ads are hurting the industry? Do you have any suggestions on how to get rid of these misleading game ads on mobile? Let us know your opinions in the comments below!

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