Games with In-App Purchases Can be Dangerous for Your Wallet

20 June, 2020 Gaming


If you have played any of the free to play mobile games for more than just the initial hours recently, then you probably know how the system works. These do not function like a video game should, but rather as sales funnels. What's worse is the fact that they rely on addiction to get in their sales, over and over again. To understand why in-game purchases are so dangerous for your wallet, and to what extent, read on.

Why Gambling is More Ethical than In-App Purchases

If you visit any online gambling platform, then you already know what you are getting into. You will make deposits, enjoy new player bonuses, play live dealer roulette, progressive jackpots, slot games and card games in exchange for real money. The chances of winning are not always high, which is why it's a gamble, but the chances are not absent either.

As long as you are playing at legal online casino sites which have the necessary authentications, you do stand a good chance at winning back your money and then some. There are also instances where players have hit the jackpot to become millionaires, although that does not happen on a regular basis. The point is that online casinos are gambling platforms and there is no pretense here. If a consenting adult wants to bet or gamble with his/her own money, that's their business, which is how it should be. Unfortunately, mobile games follow a business strategy which is based on deception to begin with.


Disguised as Something It's Not

Most of the apps disguise themselves as video games, while in truth they are just cycling sales funnels, which only take away your money, without even the slightest chance of you ever winning that money back. Furthermore, unlike how it is with online gambling sites, mobile games can pretend to be innocent, children's games with cute graphics and catchy animations. They target even young children with their shameless in-app purchases, so that the kids bug their parents for buying in game items for them.

There are plenty of instances where parents have lost hundreds of dollars on their credit cards, because their children had spent that money on in-app purchases without their consent. Even adults who would perhaps never gamble, readily spend real money on in-game items that have no real world value, and will lose its in-game value soon as well.

Why they are Not Really Video Games but Sales Funnels

If you are aware how the classic sales funnel works, then you know the basic idea is to slowly track and push the customer towards making a purchase. The in-app purchase models used by almost all modern mobile games are similar to a sales funnel, rather than being similar to a real video game.

A video game is one where skills are involved, and people with the best strategy, hand eye coordination, decision making, experience or reflexes win. This should hold true both for PvP matches as well for in-game content. However, mobile games use the in-app purchase model as a sales funnel via the following steps.

● The free-to-play moniker lures new players in, as they don't have to spend money in order to gain access

● Lots of new items, gems, coins, weapons, spells, gear, equipment etc. are given to new layers for free initially

● The first few stages, matches or battles are also made to be easy, so the player feels in control

● After the "honeymoon" period, all those free items, gear, powers, etc. begin to shrink in their availability

● At the same time, the game's difficulty level is increased to a height where winning or progressing is no longer easy

● Finally comes that stage when a player is left with the option to either purchase something or stop playing it.

● At this point, the app will suddenly present the player with a "one time bonus" offer for an "unbeatable price"

● After a while, everything that was included in that package will lose its value, and unless the player pays again, they will not be able to progress or win

● This cycles over and over, using the addiction of the game to make players pay on a continuous basis for things that will lose value in the very near future

● PvP battles become little more than pay-to-win matches, as people with the best paid gear will always win


As of now, there is no other legal business model in the world which is as greedy and as well-disguised as most modern mobile games and even some of the PC and console games are. They can reach out to children, have little to no restrictions on them and passively force children and adults alike towards spending real money on virtual things unendingly. Gaming as we know it might be coming to an end soon.



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