Pop-up advertisements in Mobile Games
Warning! This article is NSFW!
This article may contain content unsuitable for readers under eighteen years or older.
Many mobile game developers profit off of microtransactions, but they also profit off of advertising. Mobile games are usually plagued with advertisements for other games. While some are decent, others are just awful. They appear if you're connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data.
Disclaimer: We're not saying that all of these games/companies/developers listed below are bad. We're just discussing how horrible, cheesy, laughable and repetitive these ads play whenever you see them around the internet.
- Lords Mobile - Well-known for its copy-paste "let's play" footage.
- Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire
- Lineage 2: Revolution
- Episode - Choose Your Story (or any games like it)
- Last Empire - War Z - One of the most notable offenders, well-known for tons of fake gameplay and depicting the game as various genres such as FPS, TPS, racing, survival horror, action, or even fighting. While the actual game is generic Clash of Clans-like city building game with zombies. Some of these ads also have really annoying sound effects, especially the "fighting" one, which for some reason uses random voice commands from Counter-Strike 1.6 (and Source).
- Legacy of Discord - Ads for this game are full of lies. For example, one of the ads shows a character flying through an environment (which the gameplay footage is stolen from Blade and Souls), while in the real game, this function is absent. Another one showcases a character attacking some enemies (who look exactly like Rengar from League of Legends), and it does not resemble actual gameplay at all.
- Guns of Glory - It has tons of lying ads just like Legacy of Discord. These ads depict game as FPS with impressive graphics while in reality is as a generic building game. Most of their other ads also steal gameplay from Empire: Total War.
- On Rovio games such as Angry Birds and Bad Piggies, if a player starts a level, ads of Chinese games suddenly pop up and are unskippable. This no longer happens.
- Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
- Mobile Legends: Adventure
- Jewel Matching games in which every time you make a match, an article of clothing gets removed and the ad ends when the player is about to reveal the girl’s breasts.
- Any apps made by Playrix such as Homescapes, Gardenscapes, Fishdom, Gardenscapes Story, etc. - Known for making misleading ads that require you to drag the correct tool on a certain scenario. Most of these often end with the "player" dragging the wrong tools causing them to "Fail". Similar ads that involve puzzles where the "player" ends up doing it wrong and "failing" also exist.
- Vikings: War of Clans
- Game of Thrones
- Any Play Store and App Store Game Rip-off.
- Any unpaid mobile games from companies such as Kemco may bombard you with pop-ups.
- Any app made by Storm8. In fact, one of the ads for their game Dragon Story says "I demand you to install Dragon Story!"
- Color by number games
- Game of Sultans
- Puppy Town(Infamous for spamming the same flexing ads 24/7 showing a bunch of spoiled people who play this game earn thousands of dollars and keep flexing their money into everyone's face.)
- Brutal Age: Horde Invasion
- Z Day: Hearts of Heroes - This game literally had the balls to steal footage of Battlefield 1, and put it into one of its own ads.
- Rise of Civilizations - It has tons of ads on YouTube.
- Azur Lane - One of the ads used to be a part of a stream by the YouTube and Twitch user siigari, in which he got way too excited after unlocking some characters in the game (particularly the character named Hood, which is a World War 2 Royal Navy battleship personified as an anime girl). Not only it caused only negative effect since the ad itself was really annoying due to siigari's unhealthy excitement, but it also caused a negative storm on siigari himself, resulting in him getting bombarded with dislikes and hate comments. It is possible, however, that siigari agreed to allow the usage of his videos for the advertisement of the game, but even if he did, it's unsure if he was informed that particularly that video would be used for an ad.
- Mafia City - notorious for flooding 1 hour and 35 minutes worth of stupid cartoony sketches that are completely nothing like how the actual game plays out. They are also using assets from the other games, such as Sam Fisher's model in prison uniform from Splinter Cell: Double Agent and Sweet Tooth (recolored purple) from Twisted Metal series, thus making it another case of asset theft. They also spawned a couple of memes: "This is how the mafia works" and "Level 1 Crook/Level 100 Boss".
- Factory Inc. - becoming infamous for spamming ads 24/7 which include random clips of hydraulic pressing and not advertising the game. Once, they shamelessly showed an ad which was basically a Hydraulic Press Channel video. How come the developers of that game not been sued yet? To make matters worse, another ad for the game stole footage from a BeamNG.drive gameplay! PLUS, BEAMNG.DRIVE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HYDRAULIC PRESSING.
- Rollic - A mobile game publisher that frequently publishes game advertisements depicting a player failing in a game or tapping randomly. They also frequently use captions such "I can't xxxx", "Why is this game so hard", etc.
- Words Story
- Hustle Castle
- Girls X Battle 2
- Bricks Ball Crusher
- Any apps made by VOODOO - usually containing the captions "I can't reach pink color" or "Only left-brained people can reach pink color"
- Any apps made by Playgendary such as Kick the Buddy and Partymasters - infamously containing "Ha Loser" over and over again
- Any idle games such as AFK Arena
- Any tycoon games like Bee Factory
- Astral Chronicles
- BanG Dream! Girls Band Party (EN version only) - Ads are very common on Twitter which appears on every five ad spaces.
- Fate/Grand Order
- Various JRPG Games
- Genshin Impact - notorious for spamming ads 24/7.
- Newer Games Excluding The Chinese Ones - Known for making misleading ads that require you to drag the correct tool on a certain scenario. Most of these often end with the "player" dragging the wrong moves or missing the Bingo Ball causing them to "Fail". Similar ads that involve puzzles where the "player" ends up doing it wrong and "failing" also exist.
- Diner Dash Adventures - had an ad that didn't represent the actual gameplay.
- Many games that claim they give free money, however they don't actually give you free money at all.
Why They Suck
- While they do help developers profit, some games, such as Fight List, have the audacity to show tons of annoying ads within a short period of time.
- Several mobile game ads have cringe-inducing acting. One infamous example is Lords Mobile, a Clash Of Clans ripoff that had horrible let's play-esque advertisements, with fake CGI game footage that doesn't even represent the actual game itself.
- Even though Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a good game, some of their ads are really terrible and have bad acting.
- Some games, sometimes even family-friendly ones, may display ads that contain inappropriate content.
- An example is in an ad of Spa Masters, which had a woman getting bigger buttocks (which was one thing). The main problem is after her buttocks grew, she starts twerking, which actually goes on loop, twice.
- A lot of these ads features a person trying to complete a level (an easy one in particular), and keep failing!
- Some ads for mobile games, one notorious example being Toon Blast!, can play very frequently, which can cause boatloads of annoyance for players. To make matters worse, some of these ads cannot be skipped and must be replayed.
- Some ads are actually "demos" for the games that are being advertised. These demo ads are often poorly made, with barely any effort put into them. Some of them had a "play demo" button, but it redirects you to either Google Play Store or Apple App Store. (depending on your mobile phone) Lords Mobile had a demo ad that represented the fake gameplay shown in the regular ads, not the actual gameplay. Luckily, most of these demos stay true to the actual game, not the fake footage.
- Asset Theft:
- For example, War Ages directly stole footage from an indie game known as Banished, according to a Reddit post.
- Also, there was a game that had an ad that directly stole assets from Clash Of Clans. Apparently, the same can be said for the game itself.
- Another example is Dark 3, which used footage of Dark Souls III in one ad.
- Some Minecraft clones blatantly steal Minecraft gameplay videos, some of them even with the video creator's original watermark on them.
- And then we have Z Day: Hearts of Heroes, which stole footage of gameplay of Battlefield 1.
- Some ads for family-friendly mobile games have inappropriate content.
- They might use incredibly grotesque versions of copyrighted cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and SpongeBob from SpongeBob SquarePants, which can give kids and fans nightmares. Some ads straight-up use official art of characters without permission!
- In some cases, they might also advertise not-so-family-friendly games, mostly real-life-styled games like Choices and Episode. One ad also depicted mild gay sex.
- False advertisement is an increasingly growing problem among mobile game ads. More on that here.
- Some game ads do not accurately represent the gameplay of the actual game. Aside from the previously mentioned Lords Mobile, some ads for a game called Words Story depict the game as having an art style highly reminiscent of Cyanide and Happiness and showed gameplay where you had to select words to get items to escape prison, but the actual game just uses standard stick figures and the gameplay is almost nothing as advertised.
- Newer mobile game ads, especially ones from companies by Voodoo, make ads featuring ridiculous claims such as "If you survive 60 sec you can go to Disneyland".
- The even more annoying fact is that some of these ads are interactive ones that won't let you close it until you play a stupid mini-game that comes with it, meaning that you can't even do something else while waiting for the timer to count down. Worse about these, it won't even let you play it for the duration of the ad! The last few seconds will have a popup, example "Great job! Get the full game for more!"
- Some such as Airport City have fake buttons or arrows that seems like is part of the interactive ad, but will take you to the App Store or Play Store instead.
- Some ads have a timer that lasts longer than the ad itself, meaning that you will be starting at a blank screen for some time.
- In some games, if you want to recharge your health, continue, add a bonus for something or even gain rare currency, the game requires you to watch an advertisement to achieve it or wait until your stamina refills. While watching a single ad to gain material might not be too bad, most games will require you to grind on ads to gain enough stamina or currency.
- If you also don't want to do the said things, it may still play an ad anyway!
- They can occur during a loading screen. You either have to watch the whole thing or wait for the timer to run out. In some games, it can happen every time which becomes very annoying.
- While these ads can be turned off via Airplane mode, some games plan ahead and either integrate the ads within the app itself instead or require you to be connected to the Internet for the game to start up, making it immune to the lack of internet.
- Some games require you to pay for them in order to play them without pop-ups, forcing you to go to a store to buy a point card. The example is the Kemco games, if you download the game for free, you will find pop-ups becoming common halfway through every time you're done with three or four battles. To remedy this you need to download a paid version which is a pain to those who can't afford a point card.
- Sometimes they will be placed in such a way as to obstruct parts of the UI or playing area, often with a ridiculously tiny "close" button in one corner and the whole of the rest of the ad set up as tap-to-open. In the worst examples, the close/skip button is fake, and instead sends you directly to the App Store/Play Store.
- Some of the ads hire celebrities to be featured in them. A notably stupid example is an ad for Lineage 2: Revolution, which featured Conan O'Brien, whom they said was the "World's Greatest Gamer." Might we mention that Conan O'Brien himself has said multiple times in his own shows that he doesn't know anything about video games?
- Some ads for games like Idle Heroes have bad English.
- Newer ads for games, especially lower-end games such as Words Story, Merge Plane, Gardenscapes and Matchington Mansion, are incredibly repetitive. One variant will typically show the player managing to solve a puzzle or problem a few times (mostly easy ones) before messing up and having a circle with the word "FAIL" appear. Another variant will show two players, one being significantly more advanced than the other, with labels such as "NOOB" and "PRO", "MY MOM" and "MY DAD", and "ME" and "MY (family member)".
- Some creators seem to have a fetish for pregnancy to the point in many ads, pregnancy and babies are shoved out of nowhere.
- When you try to exit an app and then get on it, it can sometimes play an ad for no reason whatsoever.
- Since COPPA that include Kids video on YouTube, most video that contains kids content, there many false advertising like game, and most publisher game decided to advertising like Voodoo, Lion studios, Outfit7, etc. To add insult to injury, that game using from original content or gameplay. Example: Minecraft clone ads using footage from Grand Theft Auto V. How using footage￼ game that has inappropriate content to kids?!.
- Many clickbait ads now include crappy and clichéd phrases or quotes such as "Why is this game so hard?", "My mom: | My dad:", "I can't get past level [X]", "Harder than you think!", "I'm sure you can't find the 4th object", "Catch the cheater", "I can't reach pink [x]", etc.
- A lot of these ads use the same music, which gets annoying over time.
Redeeming Qualities (in general)
- Watching ads in games can actually give you bonuses to help you in-game (eg treasure chests in Temple Run 2, and orbs for Geometry Dash World/Subzero).
- This is a way to support honest developers.
- If a game does not require you to be online in order to play, you can effectively disable ads by disconnecting your device from the internet.
- If you own an Android device, you can also use the Back button to exit ads. However, keep in mind that this method won't work with all ads.
- They are usually added in free games to replace microtransactions.
- Some of them may be funny or interesting, mainly the ones that don't have the person constantly failing.