By abhinay | Game Design | March 17th, 2021
The mobile game industry witnessed huge growth during 2020. Due to the pandemic, many people turned to mobile games to entertain themselves. The large user base has led to a spike in industry revenue.
What’s troubling is that, during the same period, scams in the guise of mobile games have proliferated.
Mobile game scams have existed for years. But during the pandemic, they have become widespread. Because scammers find it easier to find victims at the moment, as many people are facing financial trouble as a result of the pandemic.
These mobile scam games are usually simple casual games. They have game mechanics so simple, that anyone can pick the game up and play.
The games promise that players can earn money by playing the game. Usually, the promise works this way: There will be an in-game account for real-world money. When the player completes in-game milestones, the game credits a certain amount of money into this account. The amount in the account increases, as the player completes more milestones.
Players, however, can’t transfer the in-game currency to their bank account instantly. Instead, they must wait for the amount in the in-game account to hit a threshold amount set by the developers. For instance, if the developers have set the threshold amount as $200, players can only transfer the in-game money to their bank account after they hit $200.
The promise looks enticing. It is no wonder then that these games have millions of users have downloaded these games from the Google Play Store. After all, who would turn down the opportunity to play a game and make thousands of dollars in the process?
Most players don’t find the threshold amount a hindrance at all. Because in the beginning stages, the developers reward them with big amounts. So, players believe they can hit the threshold amount very soon. So, they play more.
But the belief is not true.
Because as the players get closer to the threshold amount, they stop earning money. Even if they do continue to earn, the amount is so low compared to what it was at the beginning, making it impossible for them to ever reach the target in a reasonable amount of time.
Many players quit in frustration at this point. Some keep trying in vain.
In a few games, players can reach the target. But they won’t be able to cash out the money at all.
In short, the players never make any money as promised.
But the developers do. Because during gameplay, the players will have watched a lot of ads. And through these ads, the developers make money.
This is the truth behind these games. The developers behind these games are simply monetizing their users’ attention. The promise of payment is just a method to lure players.
The developers go home with the money. They build the next scam game and find new players to scam. And many of the players who were scammed, never find out they were.
There are certain guidelines you can follow to reduce the likelihood of falling for scam games like these.
One, if it is too good to be true, then it probably is false. This is a general guideline that experts on scams, gives to the general public. Following this can reduce one’s susceptibility to scams.
The promise that most of these games are making is unrealistic. There is no way the developers behind these games can pay the huge amounts they are promising.
Two, check if the games you download are from reputed game developers. Reputed game developers who promise real-life rewards will deliver on their promise. Their promises will also be realistic compared to those given by scam developers.
Third, always look at the negative reviews. Most of the people who fell for these scams did so after they saw the positive reviews of these games. Little do they know that the reviews (which included testimonials of people who won thousands of dollars from the game) are paid, fake reviews.
If you look at the negative reviews, you can circumvent this. The negative reviews will show how the game is, rather than what it wants you to believe it is.
Four, realize that we are all vulnerable to scams. When we acknowledge this truth, we become skeptical of things. In a counterintuitive way, this reduces the likelihood of us becoming victims.
All this does not mean there aren’t legitimate apps and games out there which give out money to users.
But even these apps and games won’t give people huge rewards. Players can’t expect to make thousands of dollars every month from these. And even to make a small sum, they will have to invest a lot of time.
For most people, the time investment would neither be worth it nor even possible. However, if someone is looking to make small amounts on the side, these games and apps may be of help.
The key again is to be realistic. Stay away from those who promise huge sums. Because the only ones who will make huge sums will be them.