How To Enjoy Mobile Gaming While Avoiding All of the Predatory Tactics

Let’s be real for a moment here–mobile gaming is full of predatory sales strategies. From offering massive one-time discounts and having time limits on big sale items, it seems like almost every mobile game these days (at least, the free ones) is trying to squeeze as much money from you as possible.

And who can really blame these companies? More and more developers are starting to target whale players who make up a small percentage of the total player base, but make up a huge percentage of the overall revenue. In other words, these games are almost designed for the sake of this small percentage of players, encouraging them to spend thousands every week.

Those strategies tend to trickle down and affect us regular players too. You might start a game and buy a sale item for just $1, but then the game will starve you of dopamine until you decide to pay another $5, $10, and more down the line. Sooner or later, you’ll have spent hundreds on digital pixels that don’t amount to much.

But if you’re smart about the games you play and are willing to implement some rules against overspending, it’s pretty easy to enjoy these games and have fun while avoiding predatory marketing tactics. Here are a couple of tips to help you achieve just that.


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Buy Games Instead

Mobile games are known for being free to play–at least most of them. There are still plenty of paid premium games that you can get as well. There are lots of great titles to pick from such as older Final Fantasy games and the GTA remaster, and you can easily search them on the App Store or Google Play store. Just look for the paid games and pick something that looks fun for you.

One of the great things about these paid games is that you can refund them if it’s been less than 48 hours since you made the purchase. You can even refund apps or content that you’ve bought from the App Store. It’s a great way to protect your money in case you buy a game that turns out to be boring or not for you.

If you want to try lots of games out for a fairly low price, then you can consider Apple Arcade as well. These games are a part of Apple’s subscription service that you pay a few bucks per month to access. It lets you play a whole range of titles, but you do lose access to them after the subscription ends. However, it’s a relatively small price to pay and you get to pick from lots of full titles.


Playing Web Games

Don’t overlook how fun and simple web games can be! There are simple games such as solitaire which you can play in a browser wherever you are, and slightly more challenging ones such as Wordle. If you’re looking for something a bit more long-term, then there are online role-playing games such as Runescape which you can play for free on your phone as well.

Web games tend to be overlooked for being really simple and not requiring any download. That means they have a reputation for being less engaging, but that’s really not the case. From brain-teasing puzzles to traditional board games, there are lots of games to play directly in your smartphone’s browser.

Combating Predatory Tactics

Let’s face it, some of the games with predatory marketing tactics are actually kind of fun, but it’s easy for people to overspend on those games even if they try to control their spending. But here are some tips to help you out:

  • Set a budget for yourself. Try to stick with it and make sure it’s within your monthly budget limits. Don’t overspend if you can’t afford it.
  • Become a free player. There are lots of people who play mobile games entirely for free to see how far they can get. Lots of games reward patience and long-term play.
  • Remember that it’s not a race. Perhaps the biggest tip is to remember that it’s not a race to the finish. You don’t have to compare yourself to others or try to compete with people who are spending hundreds every day!

Remember to enjoy yourself when playing these kinds of games. You don’t need to compare yourself to others and you don’t have to spend money satisfying that fear of missing out. Play the game at your own pace and don’t be sucked into these predatory marketing strategies.