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This is how free mobile games make so much money

This is how free mobile games make so much money
Candy Crush Soda Saga

I love free smartphone and tablet apps, especially free game apps. It's nice to take a quick mental break and not have to pay for it.

Free game apps are a staple of any gadget's app store, and offerings like Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, Crossy Road and others have brought their developers fame and fortune. Wait, fortune? Aren't they free?

Yes and no. While you don't have to pay for the games, most free game apps include ads. Those can give developers a nice little revenue boost. For example, the creator of Flappy Bird was making $50,000 a day at its peak popularity.

Where the real money comes in, though, is in-app purchases. These let users pay real money to get more lives, unlock levels or get other in-game perks. But seriously, who is paying real money to get ahead in a free game?

Next page: I'll tell you who is paying
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