Free Mobile Games are loved by almost everybody. Tetris appeared as the first mobile game in 1994. From that time, we have come a long way. From merely being an additional, fun feature in the device, it has expanded to become a multi-billion dollar industry.

The craze has grown to such extent, that 63% of the children in the United States have played Mobile games. Open any teenager’s phone today, and there’s a high probability that you will find some game installed in it. 

So, yeah. It’s pretty amazing! 

But, how many games have you seen which charge a monetary fee to play?

By my guess, not much! So, how do these games make so much money? 

Let’s dive in!

Also, check-out the List of Best Dice Games

kid playing on mobile

   A kid is playing a game on his mobile phone. 

As soon as you open Play Store in your phones, you get bombarded by thousands of apps with shiny and welcoming pictures, urging you to click on them and hit the ‘install’ button. Most of these apps are games.

And most of us end up adding one or more of these to our already long list of installed apps. 

play store mainly comprises of games

     Play store home screen mostly comprises of gaming apps.

We all know the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ part, but what about the ‘why’ part? 

Why have these games flourished so much in only the recent decade?

Well, the answer is quite simple. This decade saw an overall rise in anxiety levels of Adults, even though working hours have been gradually decreasing throughout! 

Rise in free mobile games Graph.png

       Rise in mobile games in the previous decade

Games, in these circumstances, help in something which is very welcoming.

Your Own World

They make you escape to a world of your own. And like all imaginary things, that world is charming. You go on killing one Zombie over the other, building on your triumphant persona (which is just present on the screen, by the way.) But it does not matter. You’re in a different world altogether, far from the real-life complicacies. 

And, I agree, it feels good. 

The gaming company makes use of this tendency. What do they sell, right?

They sell us! Us, as customers, to the various companies that advertise through it. 


After all, won’t we watch the 30-second video advertisement to get an extra life in the game?

Likewise, 30 seconds of a monotonous video after which we can continue on our winning run, killing more Zombies (this is just an example with which I relate), and perhaps defeating the mega boss this time! That’s a trade-off most of us are willing to make!

Also, there are ads which pay the Gaming companies not on the number of click-throughs but on the number of players who have seen the ads…

The large base of Players:

First of all, that is where the broad base of the players of the game factors in. The companies that are advertising see the sizeable possible customer base, which effectively the free mobile games “sell” to them in exchange for money, and it works quite fine.

Number of players increasing for free games

 The number of Mobile game players has gone past the PC players in the previous years.

The huge player base does another vital thing.

Moreover, it provides a great platform and a large volume of people to play with each other, further adding to the player base, and this goes on continuing.

Furthermore, leading to a smooth, circular process, in which growing player base leads to more money, which in turn leads to more players playing the game!

So, Quite smooth, eh?


But, there’s still a catch.

So, unless you’re someone who likes to be interrupted in the middle of your Zombie slashing crusade by things constantly popping-in in your screen, you’ll get irritated by these ads. Make no mistake, the game companies make money here too.

Likewise, it uses our irritation to take that buck out of us. If you’re okay with the advertisements, fine. If you’re not, no worries, you can make them disappear as well, all you have to do is pay a little sum for it. 

Micro transactions of clash of clans, a free game

Consequently, these in-app payments are collectively called ‘Microtransactions’. These form a considerable part of the revenue generated by the games.

Above all, they are a lot more than the amount for stopping ads!

Free Mobile Games Whattttttt?

Moreover, most of the games have some variant of in-game currency, with which you can buy things, upgrade your hero etc. and, they’re hard to earn. The only way to make it easy is to…

Well, you guessed it, 

Pay money for it! 

Also, free mobile games are designed to hit your “pain points”, making the wait time for Upgrading something longer (As in Clash Of Clans), or locking the higher levels of the game.

So, All of these ‘pain points’ can be removed using the ‘currencies’. 

Moreover, these currencies can be purchased for money. But, not cash. Digital money. It is proved that spending money by card is less painful than spending real cash.

Therefore, the game makers keep that in mind. Moreover, the exchange rate is not simple, it’s not one dollar for a gem. It’s more like 20 dollars for 2500 gems, making the trade-off complicated. 

Free Mobile Games: Is it worth it? Is it not? It is just too many calculations. 

Urrgghhh, Let me get back to my game!

Above all, the point of real genius is that all of this is done to ensure that the payment mechanism is not painful; instead, it’s the opposite. 

Most noteworthy, the Debit card transaction doesn’t make you feel that real money is lost, and the reward immediately afterwards (in the form of gems) makes you feel like it was a good deal!

Micro transaction graph of free games

                       The iPhone app store sales have been going up (source: Intelligenteconomist)

Most noteworthy, I have never purchased anything in any of the games I’ve played! Yes, you’re right! 

Free Mobile Games? Let’s Talk Facts…

In reality, only 3-5% of players spend money on games. But, these make a large chunk of the revenue received by the games, in a very subtle way. 

Certainly, free mobile games make money in a lot of different ways. Primarily, making use of the mindset that affects everyone today. They target our need to get away from reality and make our stay there, which helps them in monetizing from us. 


Finally, seems like their major player is us. It would not be wrong to say that they play with us!

Ironic, huh?

Well, that’s life.