The Super Bowl was played, watched, and is now past us. Along with the football game, many people got to enjoy watching the entertaining yet pricey commercials. With a $4.5 million price tag for a thirty second run time, it isn’t just anyone who can afford advertising during the big game. So with big budget gaming companies making tons of cash, it would make sense to see more commercials for video games during these big time slots.

Not to disappoint, video games were advertised during the Super Bowl, but probably not as expected. The only three games to have commercials air nationally were free to play mobile games. Most people would only expect the newest AAA game to have that level of exposure. Those games have huge budgets so it would make sense that they would have enough cash to throw down for an event like this.

What we are seeing, however, is that mobile gaming and its business model is succeeding in a big way. Most free to play mobile games, including the ones that aired in the Super Bowl, have pretty basic gameplay mechanics. They do not involve a ton of programming and are relatively simple to design. So with such low production costs, how do they make so much money?

There are different tactics used to inflate profits. The first being that acquiring the game is free. Obviously, giving the game away for free may not seem to make sense on a fiscal stand point for creating profits directly. The genius behind it is that it increases the amount of people that will actually play the game tremendously.

People are hesitant with their money, but everyone loves free. Giving low level entertainment for free is still free entertainment. Once the game hits a certain level of popularity and there are enough copies downloaded, the money advertisers pay the creators more than makes up for what they lose in game sales.

There are also crafty incentives to spend more money. Often these games will employ some type of real life money reward system. Sure the game is free, but if you want to level up your character really fast you need a bunch of gems or rubies or coins or whatever. This is common in gaming, but the difference is that in traditional gaming, those rewards were given to the player by playing the game and accomplishing missions. In mobile gaming, these rewards are bought with real cold hard currency.

As I said before, the gameplay is also relatively simple and for a large market, that is also a money maker. Many “gamers” of the current century really aren’t looking for any type of challenge. Before, all games were based around some sort of puzzle or obstacle that needed to be solved or conquered.

These games do not value challenging obstacles and lean more towards volume of gameplay. They can give you 600 levels and when you get to one that’s too hard, you can just buy a power up and blow everything up on the screen. No big deal. Tired of waiting for your castle to be built in the game? Ok, just buy this sack of magic pebbles and it’ll be done faster. There are fistfuls of people that prefer this style of gaming opposed to games that challenge your wit or skill.

So these games tend to just soak up money without trying because people are apparently willing to spend their time and money on them. Whether this is due to some sort of addiction that people have to complete what they started or they just have money falling out of their pockets, the formula is working. So does this mean these games are making more money and are more successful than big budget platform games? The answer is a very disappointing, we’ll see.

The Super Bowl is a somewhat unfair battleground because the market for mobile games and platform games are different. Most big budget games have thrown a lot of money to advertising before the holiday season. A lot of big launch titles come out around then and more people are inclined to make bigger purchases around the holidays. A lot of money is also saved for E3 which is at the start of the summer.

These mobile games are smart to capitalize in a slot like the Super Bowl because over 110 million people are watching. Almost every single one of those people has a phone and the games are free. It just takes that 30 second commercial, a couple clicks here and there, and the profit for these games soar ever higher and higher.

Mobile games are interesting, but it is not time to start screaming industry apocalypse. The market for these games is very compelling, but there is still a large market for the competitive, attentive gamer. Mobile games are nice as time wasters here and there, but there is still credit given to games that are larger, immersive, environment building, and mentally testing.

Until next time this is Bri2Fi and for more stories about the unequivocal brilliance of the gaming world check out more blogs at Fatal1ty.com.