Fee to Play: The True Cost of Mobile Games

Too good to be true? With mobile gaming more popular and lucrative than ever before, our study reveals the dark side of the colourful free games charging players hundreds

Games are big money.

Where once a niche pass time, video games are now a prevalent part of our culture and everyday lives.

While many may think of consoles and PC's are the main source of gaming, by far the most popular device for games are mobile devices, fuelled by the rise of the 'casual game'.

The casual mobile gaming industry, primarily built on games which are 'free to play', is big money and represents a $49 billion a year industry

Casual games have widespread appeal for all ages, their game play is simplistic and addictive, and they are typically free to download and play.

Comparemymobile.com research in 2020 found that 80% of children under 16 had at least one 'F2P' game on their device, along with 67% of adults.

But how can you build a $49 billion industry if the games are free?

In this study Comparemymobile.com analysed over 40 top mobile games, with a collective player based of over 2.9 billion, looking at in-app purchase costs and loot box drop rates.

This report looks behind the bright colours and household franchises that front 'free to play' industry, uncovering games aimed at children with in-app purchases as high as £300, and quasi-gambling loot box mechanics with win rates as low as 0.01%.- to highlight the dangers of the F2P industry and the impact on their players, who spend thousands a year on 'free' games.