It seemed like a deceptively slow growth that was actually much quicker than many may have realised – from snake on the old Nokias to games such as Fortnite and PUBG being PC ports, mobile gaming is now dominating the market pulling millions in investor interest which is expected to be billions within the next couple of years.
It’s easy to see why – modern smartphones are all very similar in their hardware capabilities, and everyone has one, it removes all the accessibility issues that come with either a console or a higher end PC, it also bridges the cross-platform gap – and we’ve seen how widely accepted it has become, apps like Pokemon Go racked up 1 billion downloads within a very short period of time with those playing ranging from young children who had never played a Pokemon title before, to the older generation looking to get out more.
But as the market grows, so do the methods implemented to try to catch those unsuspecting out – we see many different strategies to trick you into purchasing something you didn’t want to, or by locking you out of a game until you purchase more. So what do you need to look out for, and how can you stay safe whilst mobile gaming?
- Pop-Ups – This is a very common strategy implemented in free games with a purchase option – the game will run for a short period of time before you’re prompted with a pop-up that gives you the option to buy the game, but it is typically worded in a way that may seem confusing, “click here to continue playing!” for example. This is being looked down upon, however, and change may be forced to make this more clear – but to stay safe against this practice, and if you do come across this, either carefully read the pop-up message or delete the app entirely.
2. Gambling Apps – Betting and gambling apps have become some of the most popular on the various app stores – from many free options to entice you into playing more, then transitioning to paid versions. The UK introduced a way to help those who felt they had a gambling addiction find a break – Gamstop – which allows users to opt in to block them from using these apps and services. Not all operators have taken up on registering, but there are many who have – if you feel like this could be a problem area, there are options available to you.
3. Permission Blockers – Newer terms and various pop-ups can be very confusing if you’re not used to seeing them, if something asks for permission to access your files or contacts you may not think twice about it, but apps could be using your personal information to advertise to others. There are many ways to manage this now however, as there are features within phone settings to block and manage app permission, as well as apps that you can download that do the same thing but for a limited period of time.
As with anything online, it’s important you’re staying safe and keeping your information safe – especially if you are younger or have younger people using your device to access these games. Reading any message that pops up and understanding what you’re being asked may be the difference between dropping money on a game you didn’t mean to or not – and if ever in doubt about an app, the best way to handle it is to just delete it.