10 Updates
Why It's Scary When 0.15% Mobile Gamers Bring In 50% Of The Revenue
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Why It's Scary When 0.15% Mobile Gamers Bring In 50% Of The Revenue

Mar 1 2014, 8:00pm CST | by

There’s a new report out from Swrve which says 0.15% of mobile players account for 50% of mobile games revenue. The general idea isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but those specific numbers seem...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

21 weeks ago

Why It's Scary When 0.15% Mobile Gamers Bring In 50% Of The Revenue

Mar 1 2014, 8:00pm CST | by

There’s a new report out from Swrve which says 0.15% of mobile players account for 50% of mobile games revenue. The general idea isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but those specific numbers seem even more imbalanced than previously thought.

The existence of “whales” in mobile gaming has been a staple of the industry for a while now. It’s a term salesmen use for huge clients or casinos use for big spenders. But I think it’s worth taking a look at the possible moral and ethical issues behind these elusive sea creatures in the mobile space.

While the whales of the business world are millionaire or billionaire fat cats, that’s usually not the case in the mobile scene. Rather, the types of people who spend thousands of dollars on free to play mobile games are generally not Arab sheiks or titans of industry. They’re normal people with addictive personalities, and some mobile games have created a new sort of addicting environment that hasn’t really been seen before.

It’s a weird hybrid of gambling addiction and more traditional video game addiction, neither of which is anything new, but the combination of the two is a relatively novel emerging phenomenon, and one all the mobile games giants are taking advantage of to full effect.

While traditional game addiction hoovers up a player’s time, there’s usually something of a limit on the amount of money that can be sunk into a game. A Call of Duty or Skyrim addict may pour thousands of hours into a title, but relatively little cash past the initial $60 investment and a bit of merchandise. A game like League of Legends can be a huge time and money suck due to plenty of in-game microtranscations, but the sorts of things you can buy (character skins) aren’t crucial to success in the game.

Enter mobile/casual titles. They’re free to play to get players hooked, but then nearly all of the content in the game can be bought with real world cash. As a secondary source of income, games like these will put up artificial time blocks that players can pay to skip.

Both of these systems directly go after addicts. They don’t care about their time necessarily, but they sure as hell want their money. And with time blocks as a core mechanic of the game, the only way a player can invest more time is to invest more money. While it’s possible in games like Zynga’s Farmville or Supercell’s Clash of Clans to get a big farm or castle eventually, the leaderboards heavily favor those who spend real life money, and lots of it. A player who spends $5 for the resources to built a guard tower and $5 to skip the lengthy build time will have a distinct advantage over someone who waited a few days rather than a few seconds to get the same item.

This isn’t gambling, not really. The result isn’t random; you get what you pay for. But the symptoms of addiction and the behavior of the addict is the same. “Just $5″ turns into $20 then $100 then $5,000 in the worst cases. While like gambling, everyone has the right to do whatever they want with their money, addiction is very real, and it effects people who don’t have that sort of money to spend more than the rich simply looking to have a bit of fun.

If 0.15% of players are responsibly for 50% of mobile revenue, that equates to a lot of regular people spending serious cash on these games. The people I hear most often spending themselves into oblivion after getting hopelessly addicting to these games are bored middle-aged women and depressed college kids. Is there anything owed to people like this? Or can they simply do what they want?

They can, of course. I’m not suggesting that games where it’s possible to spend $5,000 a month on virtual goods shouldn’t exist, any more than I’d say Las Vegas should shut down or prohibition should be reinstated.

But I don’t think this is a problem with much of a support system to help combat it. Gambling addiction is as old as time, but many of its lessons wouldn’t quite cross over to this virtual realm. Video game addiction is on the rise, but this is a variant that can not only bankrupt someone’s social life, but their bank accounts as well.

There should be more education, more help available for people like these. While casinos advise us to seek help for gambling problems and beer commercials tell us to drive responsibly, so far all these mobile games companies do is bathe in the money of these super whales, and the fact that heavy, hurtful addiction plays a significant role in this 0.15%/50% revenue ratio is rarely discussed. Perhaps it should be.

Follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my Forbes feed, and pick up a copy of my sci-fi novel, The Last Exodus, and its sequel, The Exiled Earthborn.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by ro ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected b ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Min ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southe ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 mill ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 mil ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Baz ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinr ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

OPEC daily basket price closes tad higher
Vienna, July 30 (IANS) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stood at $105.44 a barrel Tuesday, against $105.22 last Thursday, according to the OPEC Secretariat.
 
 
Moscow calls US sanctions 'illegitimate'
Moscow, July 30 (IANS) The economic sanctions imposed by the United States are a revenge on Russia, the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday.
 
 
EU boosts funding to fight Ebola epidemic
Brussels, July 30 (IANS) The European Union Wednesday allocated an additional 2 million euros ($2.68 million) in aid to tackle the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
 
 
Top doctor in Sierra Leone dies of Ebola
Nairobi, July 30 (IANS/EFE) Sierra Leone's top Ebola virus doctor, Sheikh Umar Khan, died a few days after contracting the lethal disease which has claimed the lives of 672 people in Western Africa, health authorities in Sierra Leone announced Wednesday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

OPEC daily basket price closes tad higher
Vienna, July 30 (IANS) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stood at $105.44 a barrel Tuesday, against $105.22 last Thursday, according to the OPEC Secretariat. The...
Read more on Business Balla
 
England set 445-run target for India
Southampton, July 30 (IANS) England declared their second innings at 205 for four at tea and set a target of 445 runs for India on the fourth day of the third cricket Test at The Rose Bowl here Wednesday. Alastair...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Malaysian police officers head for MH17 crash site
Kuala Lumpur, July 30 (IANS) Sixty eight Malaysian police officers left Wednesday night for Kiev to secure the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and help experts carry out their assessment. "We will be...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Indian shuttlers advance to last 16
Glasgow, July 30 (IANS) Indian shuttlers made merry at the Commonwealth Games Wednesday as all of them won their respective matches in straight games to enter the last 16 at the Emirates Arena here. P.V. Sindhu and P....
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian wrestler Sakshi settles for silver
Glasgow, July 30 (IANS) Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik also had to settle for the silver medal after she lost her women's freestyle 58 kg final to Nigeria's Aminat Adeniyi in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the SECC Hall...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian shuttlers reach Round of 16 (Roundup)
Glasgow, July 30 (IANS) Indian shuttlers made merry at the Commonwealth Games Wednesday as all of them won their respective matches in straight games to enter the last 16 at the Emirates Arena here. P.V. Sindhu and P....
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Kate Moss boards flight 'drunk'
Los Angeles, July 30 (IANS) Model Kate Moss reportedly boarded a flight from Turkey to London "drunk". She was also not carrying her boarding pass. Moss, 40, turned up at Bodrum Airport intoxicated and held up a queue...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Tea scoreboard: India vs England, day 4, third Test
Southampton, July 30 (IANS) The following is the lunch scoreboard on day four of the third cricket Test between India and England at The Rose Bowl here Wednesday: England (first innings 569/7 declared) India (first...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
England set India 445-run target (Tea report)
Southampton, July 30 (IANS) Aggressive batting by England helped them reach 205 for four declared in the second innings at tea, setting India a 445-run target on the fourth day of the third Test at The Rose Bowl here...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Moscow calls US sanctions 'illegitimate'
Moscow, July 30 (IANS) The economic sanctions imposed by the United States are a revenge on Russia, the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday. "There is an impression that the American sanctions have only one aim...
Read more on Politics Balla