Mobile game

Mobile Game Players Don’t Fear Playable Ads

According to a new industry report compiled by, players in the booming mobile gaming market are turning to in-game video ads, but much prefer interactive ads.

Why is this important: Mobile gaming sets the standard for how games work, so what is accepted or successful can shape the game as a whole.

  • Spending on mobile games will reach $136 billion globally this year, estimates. That compares to around $40 billion each on consoles and computer games.
  • The United States accounted for around a third of this mobile market in the first quarter of 2022.

State of play: The common model for mobile games is that you can download them for free and then purchase in-game items to have a better time.

  • This pattern is spreading in console and PC games, although in-game ads on these platforms are rare.
  • However, in-game ads on mobile are common. And they don’t just happen between levels of a game, as if it were a TV commercial. Popular free-to-play games like Farmville 3 often include ads that appear mid-game or that players are prompted to watch or interact with to unlock in-game rewards.

Details: Of nearly 4,000 global gamers surveyed by, the majority accept in-game ads in one form or another.

  • A fifth say they are ok with accepting ads in exchange for gaming content and services.
  • About a third were a bit more reserved, saying it depends on the app.
  • Only 6% said they would generally prefer to pay for the game and not see ads.

Video ads are controversialbut attitudes are changing.

  • They are always more hated than loved (the poll option “I can’t stand them” beat “I love them” three to one). But reports that the gap narrowed between late 2020 and late 2021.
  • More popular are playable in-game ads, which serve as short demos of other games in the Russian nesting doll that is mobile game advertising. These get an “I can’t stand them” from about a quarter of mobile gamers, but more than half of gamers think they’re “OK” or even like them.

The bottom line: Mobile gaming is the gaming laboratory for economic experiments.

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