Mobile Game Generosity


Really, this is more about the lack of it in things, but, I’ve looked over several phone games, and I’ve found them to have something generally in common that I’m going to call the four Gs: Greed, Grind, Gratification, and Generosity.

Greed is essentially the drive to make a mobile game in a lot of cases. Essentially it’s done to make money, as much as the higher ups care about it. You do get the cases where developers do want the player to have fun, and not just do things because they’re there and no other reason. But in a lot of cases, they would like to make money, however they plan on it.

Grind is the other side of greed, essentially how to get by without paying and how convenient or inconvenient it is. This is an aspect I lean heavily on, since it’s rare I would pay up in any mobile venture, and if I do, it’s typically not out of my own pocket, rather some earned credit. Grind is generated by greed, whether the lack or abundance.

Gratification is the drive between grind and greed. The player wants something, and if they can’t get it on terms they can agree with, they’re likely to abandon the app. Some players are more dedicated to the grind, and some are more willing to spend.

Generosity is an offset to greed and grind, and benefits gratification. Various little bonuses, with or without purchase, such as login bonuses or additional currency in larger packs. Generally, low generosity implies high grind and greed, and high generosity reduces them. It all comes down to a balance in order to draw players in and then hold them.

These aspects don’t always apply to in-app purchases. It might involve ad volume, where initially players aren’t subject to any ads, but after a day or two, they’re coming up every other screen. Of course, it likely does tie into in-app purchases as well, since they often sell ad removal as a bribe to reduce annoyance. And of course it also seems to be one of the trickiest aspects to get right, as many apps get reviews about the ad removal “not working”. Possibly it only removes some of the ads. Typically, it won’t remove the voluntary ads which can be viewed for rewards. But generally, it’s meant to remove things such as banners or interstitials, the worst offenders.

I’ve noticed something about how the scale what you get for what price seems to go up rapidly. Definitely high greed, especially when packs are selling for above $50 USD at the moment, but it’s possible to have this and also generosity on the grind. Essentially what happens is that the packs hold a small amount, when compared to the cost of whatever currency is used for in common cases, relative to the real money price. But at the same time, events or login bonuses pop up with enough to do those same things, reasonably. Then again, I am a bit biased toward grind over greed.

Sales pressure is another aspect. This is imposed by grind and low generosity, but also from some sort of leaderboard approach, where someone might be inclined to spend if it means getting ahead of some random person. However, I find what I stick with most to be fairly low pressure, even if it’s generally pointless, like I’ve kinda found a bunch of ones without much of a goal at all. However, the ones I do stick with seem to at least have some vague target of completion.

I still don’t fully understand mobile games or why people keep going for these ones where you build a town and there’s a yelling guy on the icon and also something about pulling in people from Facebook for marketing reasons, which is generally what Facebook has been about among the typical social network. I have issues about social networks, such as Facebook, and especially Facebook, but also Twitter and others, but that’s a general case that’s not really related to this writing.