Mobile games need to fix their ads.

I’m terribly addicted to stupid mobile games and I’ve downloaded things like Alto’s Odyssey, House Paint, Ballz. You name it, I’ve probably played it!

These games are annoyingly addictive, usually if I am on a long train journey I’ll sit and play them for over half of that journey. It passes the time, really well. Alto’s Odyssey is one of my favourites for its unique and simple design and calming music. I like that game because everything is designed to within an inch of its life.

Why don’t I like the other ones?

The others are all free to play, which means they come with adverts. That’s fine, I don’t have issues with adverts. Everyone has to make their money somehow.

But adverts have a place. Much like news websites who use their adverts to make their income, with the decline of physical papers. Games seem to have picked up on this and it’s going in completely the wrong direction.

Whilst playing House Paint for about 10 minutes. I was sorely disappointed by the number of adverts I got. Within that short space of time I had watched 4 video ads, I had a banner ad at the bottom of the screen during gameplay, and on the home screen. I saw an advert at least once every minute.

These ads annoy me because they ruin the experience.

A lot of my day job is ensuring that user experience on a website is one of the most important things. Making sure they can find things they need easily or do the things they want to do without issue. Personally, I take pride in this work and adverts fit into the experience, how and when they can.

When you play a game, you expect to be able to play that game without interruption and not be on the receiving end of data-sucking video adverts advertising more games. It’s the same expectation when you go onto a website, you want to be able to use it without issue.

The adverts on these free games ruin the user experience of the game because they force the user to do things they don’t want to do. When I’m playing a game on a train, the last thing I need is an advert for another game to pop up especially a video where I am required to wait at least 30 seconds!

We need guidance and standards

Google has been getting very strict with adverts, they even worked with their competitors to set up the Coalition for Better Ads. But that hasn’t done anything to help stem the flow of bad ads on mobile games.

The major app stores need to be stricter on adverts being used, making sure they don’t annoy or interrupt the game and are tasteful. This is another thing to police, yes, but the quality of the game will increase if it’s kept in check.

App developers need to be more aware too. Developers need to understand their users as much as web designers do, making sure their products are as satisfying as the best websites in the word.