Does the name "Game of War: Fire Age" ring a bell? It's the "free" mobile game that has flooded your television and the Internet with ads featuring scantily clad swimsuit model Kate Upton. Despite being one of the worst games around for players, "Game of War" is actually a cash cow. That's because it uses a shady business model that convinces gamers to fork over money for upgrades and boosts.
"Game of War" is tedious to play and makes gamers participate in endless rounds of resource gathering and other menial tasks over and over again. But, that hasn't made it any less popular. It is the second highest grossing game in both the iTunes and Google Play app stores.
Why are players putting money into "Game of War?" Because the entire game is built around digging hooks into players, getting them invested in its infinite loops and convoluted systems, and then charging money for the ability to stay invested. If you really want to compete, you'll pay in.
"Game of War" has hit upon a formula to persuade players to willingly cough up cash to keep playing.
Most of the tasks in "Game of War: Fire Age" take a long time to complete. But, users can pay to speed up those tasks and become more powerful than other players.
Want to train up troops faster or research faster or attack a nearby monster faster? You can! All you have to do is cough up some cash. Your cash converts to in-game "Gold," which enables you to buy speed-ups or to skip the waiting time you'd normally have to endure to build / upgrade your home base.
Purchasing gold can make a big difference. According to gamers, the roughly 3% of players known as "whales" that spend thousands of dollars on gold and upgrades have a huge advantage over gamers that play for free.
Instead of a free mobile game, "Game of War" is really a well-oiled money-making machine. It lures in gamers and then persuades them spend money to be competitive against other big-spending players.