With ads being one of the main revenue models for modern video games and online mobile games, there are many articles and posts on the beauty of ads, how to use them, and how beneficial they are for all stakeholders.

Marketing experts conduct research and dig into ways of using ads in an even more beneficial way for revenue leverage and everyone’s happiness. However, funny enough, players are not very happy.

Ads are everywhere today – on billboards, on social media – generic or personalized, and the entertainment industry literally services and thrives on ads, despite the fact that it is already by default one of the biggest industries out there. While there are some ethical advertising practices that some games and platforms use, these are few and we rarely see them.

Instead, most of the time, players choke on aggressive marketing of whatever, and ads are so plenty that the actual content becomes almost unnoticeable. So, what are the real advantages of ad-based games for players, if any at all?

Advantages of Ad-Based Video Games: Are Those Real?

Now the very first advantage that everyone screams about is free access to games. Marketing experts call it a win-win situation when players can enjoy games for free, and publishers can generate revenue from ads without worrying about leads, etc. However, is watching off-top ads a win-win situation? Most players hate ads about products and services they have never considered and would never buy.

One of the reasons why bloggers can do so well with ads and games can’t is because bloggers (mostly) either advertise products and services that may be thematically interesting to their audiences, or they at least seek ways to build the advertisement in their content in some creative ways. So that even audiences now interested in the product advertised could at least enjoy the way their favorite blogger handled the integration.

Games do not do that; at least most of the games don’t. They just shove random ads down their players’ throats and call it a day because guess what? Their games are free! However, many other niches tackle free content in a much better way. Numerous no deposit casinos offer much more entertainment and value to their players for free, compared to games that are interrupted by random ads every now and then.


So, this section was meant to be about the benefits of ad-based video games but the very first and the major benefit of free access cannot stand even a mere comparison to games in other niches.

Now let’s talk about drawbacks that are not obvious and even more frustrating.

Drawbacks: An Elephant in the Room

The interrupting nature of ads in ad-based games is pretty obvious and is meant to be. However, in addition to the fact that the longer you play, the longer you spend watching ads without skipping, another unpleasant truth comes to the surface.

Players are expected to suffer random ads in exchange for their free access to the game; however, in reality, the access is not free, or rather, not to the whole game.

Most of the time, to generate even more revenue, ad-based games are combined with other revenue models. Players are offered to watch ads or pay for a subscription that is meant to be ad-free. When they watch the ads diligently, they fulfill their end of the bargain but it turns out that not all games offer their full content in a fair exchange.

Even when you pay for a subscription to go ad-free, you expect to play the game with its full range of content eventually without being interrupted. However, even after you pay you are very likely to face new limitations. Even behind the paywall that saves you from random ads, publishers add other pieces of content to pay for. So, this race never seems to end.


The extra pieces of content can be in-game items that are helpful in the game, extra content like unique skins or hidden locations, or loot boxes. Sometimes, the game seems to just use all those revenue models together, throwing aggressive marketing in your face.

Now, marketing experts and companies rage about microtransactions and in-game purchases, happy about the revenues these help generate. As many of them report, in-game purchases bring way bigger profits than the good old subscription-based-only model.

However, those in-game purchases seem to completely undermine user experience and bring player satisfaction below any sane standard. Few people admit it but in fact, many games today are built around the revenue model they utilize, customizing the game’s mechanic and logic to squeeze in as many loot boxes and unnecessary extra items as possible. This is a problem and it only gets worse, so not free access can really compensate for it.