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 full of phones and a gazillion games in the Play Store, you have an instant boredom cure.
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.
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!
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