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Interstitial ads are terrible and they need to disappear

Mobile Nations held a company-wide gathering recently. Most everyone from our company was there and it was awesome to see both the people I've met in person before and the ones I hadn't. We've got a stupendous team and I love working with them. Great co-workers make this the best place to work I can imagine.

OK, enough gushing over all the fine people I work with. A few days from home also means a few days in a hotel room, and no matter how nice the room is — and mine was awesome — I just can't sleep well in a strange bed. I need my familiar lumpy mattress and flat pillow to drift away; I know I'm not alone here. While trying to find my way into dreamland I needed to pass some time, and when you have a big messenger bag (opens in new tab) full of phones and a gazillion games in the Play Store, you have an instant boredom cure.

I do not want to 'win prizes' I only want to play the game I downloaded.

After installing a handful of games, I came to a conclusion: most of them suck. Usually, it's not the game that sucks (though I found a few duds, of course) but the crummy way the developers try to make some money from them with interstitial ads.

Interstitial ads are those crappy full-screen ads that stop you from playing your game and force you to watch a trailer or other short video to continue. Sometimes you even have to simulate playing the game that's being advertised to move the ad forward, too. Finish a level in Willie Wonka's World of Candy? That means you get to watch a full-screen ad. Fail to finish a level in Willie Wonka's World of Candy and need to retry? That means you get to watch a full-screen ad, too. It seems like every game is the same way, and it's bullshit.

About now someone is probably rushing to the comments to tell me that it's only fair for developers to make some money. And that person is absolutely right; developing a good application takes a lot of time and hard work and if the final product is something enjoyable, it's worth money. But dropping an ad that forces me to stop playing and wait while a virtual finger plays Yahtzee or some Tetris knockoff isn't the only way to do it. It's just the worst way to do it and it means I'll instantly uninstall. It's even worse than some silly notification telling me my lives have been refilled or that some toon is waiting for me to come back. Yuck.

If you build it, they will come. they will also download and pay you for it if it's good.

I've got almost $100 in Google Rewards. I have two cards attached to my Google Play account. I have the means and the desire to buy a good game that gives me a few minutes of relaxation during downtime or when the boss is talking and I'm in the back of the room. (Just kidding. Don't fire me because I'll never find another job this awesome.) I'm also not against ads; put them in strategic places where they don't interfere with my gameplay and I'll even deal with them in a game I've paid for. I just hate being forced to deal with garbage I'm not interested in and don't want to see just so I can go to the next level or whatever. Ugh.

If you're a game developer — even if you've developed a game that uses interstitial advertisements — don't hate me. I'm only saying what most people who download games from the Play Store think. I also am pretty sure that if your game is good, some people would be happy to pay for it. Trial versions that have interstitial ads but can be made crap-free after payment could be a thing, too. Just do something. Be different and stand out from the crowd of good games that are ruined by horrible things.

There are millions and millions of downloads for Android games in Google Play. That means some of you fine folks have also downloaded games. Feel free to share with me the games I should download; the games that aren't using this horrible way to make money. I want to support Android developers that go the extra mile!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

49 Comments
  • Amen Jerry! I hate them too. I generally try to let them play out but to me, the worst ones are the ones that force you to play them or else you can't resume the actual game.
  • Agree 1000%. I would rather pay a 99 cent sub than deal with those ads.
  • I just saw my first one on the Android Central app.
    Maybe I should uninstall. I don't need a new phone until this one dies anyway. These are all the products that 'Work With Nest' https://www.androidcentral.com/what-products-currently-work-nest Link doesn't show pop up full screen ad. Must click on the "news story" from the apps new feed.
  • Exactly, I have a game where they pop up on occasion, not really a big deal. I have had 3 full screen ads on the AC app from the time I opened it to this comment. This is the only story I have read so far. Far more annoying frequency on this app.
  • Almost as bad as the new full screen ads that interrupt EVERY freaking article I try to read in THIS app...
  • I fixed that problem by uninstalling the app. I'll just use the website if I feel the need to read AC.
  • I kept the AC app, but installed the Android Authority because I prefer reading articles.
  • I just pay the $2.50 a year and no ads.
  • As the 4 stories before this are just clever adds trying to get us to buy the something so you guys get a kick back. I don't really know what's worst people disguising there advertising as work of people who shove it down your throat. Advertising is a necessary evil don't pretend to be above it when your business have your own tricks to generate that revenue.
  • Articles as ads are that weird netherland where, there might be something useful, but the goal seems to be promoting a particular product. And then there's the really weird ones where it seems like the intent is to not promote, but demote a particular product that is not among the ones that get promoted all the time. And example would be a phone that outperforms the Pixel and Galaxy in many ways, and has the potential to upset things in the Pixel/Samsung duopoly here, but that phone gets body-slammed in the AC article to kill interest. An example would be the U12 Plus, which has better autofocus and zoom, less noise, equal Bokeh, and better color accuracy than the Pixel 3 camera, without the RAM managements problems or neutered Edge Sense.
    They don't talk about the U12 outperforming the S9 either, just like they didn't mention the U11 having a better screen than the Note 8 they gushed about...
  • Totally agree. Not only games but general purpose apps. Let me buy the damn thing and get rid of the ads.
  • I completely agree, just as annoying as the full-screen Danny DeVito video ad for capturing receipts that pops up everytime I open an article on your app.
  • Hate them too. A houseguest of ours has a daughter that loves games, and I have an iPhone 6 that I let her play with. Subway Surfer is what led her down the path to tolerating those stupid ads in other games, so now my phone has a half dozen games where you literally spend more time watching video ads than you do playing the game. As I write this she is in MY bed watching a tic toc ad on MY phone!
  • D@mn, now I've got three girls in my room, and I just hid my U12 so they don't ask for it! Arggg...
  • Irony alert. I just got one of these on this app. I guess ads posing as articles and reviews weren't generating enough revenue.
  • I love while I read this article I get interrupted by a full screen ad.
  • I am guessing Jerry has not used the AC app in awhile....
  • At least since the last update, lol.
  • Ads that take up a third of your phone display real estate and pop ups that ask you if Android Central can send you notifications when you're trying to read an article on Android Central suck too. Just saying...pot, meet kettle.
  • Irony, thy name is Android Central. After the last app update, I have seen the exact same interstitial ads complained about here.
  • The most annoying ones are those that hide the nav bar, while also putting the X in random places.
  • Was this a joke? Because one popped up in this very article.
  • I've got full screen ads every time I was trying to read this same article, one of them included an auto-play video. Sorry, that's unacceptable. Uninstalling the app.
  • I come to this site from browser, I have Adguard and never see a single ad. Unless I turn Adguard off....
    I don't care if adblockers make them sad, I detest ads and am happy to pay for ad free versions of apps.
    But this site now runs "articles" that are basically advertorials, so I don't come here much any more...
  • Let me be unmistakably clear before being unmistakably critical — Jerry Hildenbrand is the *hit. I am a rare poster but a frequent reader, and my stickiness to AC is directly due to my desire to read everything and anything that Jerry writes. I love his articles. I use the website to read AC (I’m in the less-apps-the-better camp). I don’t use the app and thus have never seen the ads it serves up. I can’t tell from the comments whether the AC ads are the interstitial ads as described in the article, but if they are then this piece needs to be recognized by AC as a negligent embarrassment. How can it be viewed as anything other than a credibility-buster if the strong complaints in the article also happen to be the business practices of AC? Then again, if AC drops those app ads as a result of this article and this discussion, then maybe Jerry will have done everyone a favor.
  • This is why I use AdGuard.
  • A full ad popping up before I could open this article. #irony
  • No adds while using the AC app, but I haven't installed the latest update yet. Maybe I should skip it 🤔
  • Yea, dont do it...
  • ** edit, nevermind. Just had two since typing this lol. I'm out. Will use the website.
    I have the latest app update and still don't get ads other than banner ads in the feed. Never any bothersome pop up ads thankfully.
  • Amen. I agree and it is the very reason why I stopped playing all Gameloft games. Why should I waste my time with ad bullsh** when I can pay the dev and play awesome games like Space Marshall and alike. No stupid gathering of parts for the next car or super annoying ads. And I agree with the community here, that AC is overdoing with Ads, too. I use Feedly so I don't see ads but have to go through all the ad articles which do not provide any value. And there are far too much, IMHO. mH
  • Interestingly, the moment I clicked on this article, interstitial ad jumped into my face. 🤮
  • ...and then I opened an article for the new Honor 8X on this app and POOF! Inter-STOP ad pops up. Every third or fourth post on this app article listing is an ad. At least they label them clearly now... Except when they write an "article" on the "greatness" of yet another Anker product. I hope this post was tongue-in-cheek. And yes, I've thought about uninstalling recently. Mobile Nations isn't what it used to be.
  • You guys do the same thing on this app.
  • Kind of ironic that I get my first full screen ad through the AC app while clicking to read this article. 😒
  • Lolol....have you used your own app lately ?🤣
  • Got to agree. Games with those ads are instant uninstall.
  • lol...I've never used the AC app but wow, sounds like it's as bad as the games Jerry is pissed off about. GG AC.
  • Stop posting about PS4.
  • Then why the f**k are they now popping up in your app? This is BS. If in one week it doesn't stop then I am out... App gets deleted...
  • Just install an older version. 👌
  • Ironically, such an ad just popped up when I clicked on this article on the Android Central app.
  • Maybe Uncle Jerry is using this article to voice his displeasure by the powers that be to use those same annoying ads in the AC app without coming right out against it. A large gathering of the mobile nations family. Now we have these crazy ads. Hmmm?
  • They also need to disappear from this Android Central app. They are getting worse all the time.
  • Just started seeing those ads too on here, like everyone else.
  • I totally agree, InterTities ads has to be the worst kind of ad ever, it's already very difficult to stare at them without being noticed, sweating like a pig waiting for the right moment to be able to look at them without being catched and slapped or being called a perv, then finally you get a break and PAM!, a f*cking InterTities add pups up... Horrible...
  • iOS is winning because the developers there care more, not because it's better in every and all ways. Android will sell more units, but iOS will continue pulling in tons more profits compared to it with a tiny install base because I and many like me ant be bothered to spend money on crummy android apps, or download ad bots.
  • This article has pursuaded me to uninstall AC app from all my devices.
  • The first time I went to read this article was also the first time I saw an interstitial ad on the AC app. Someone behind the app needs to listen to Jerry and fix this.