“Money from the Queen”: Exploring Children’s Ideas for Monetization in Free-to-Play Mobile Games

Fitton, Daniel Bowen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2300-5432 and Read, Janet C orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7138-1643 (2023) “Money from the Queen”: Exploring Children’s Ideas for Monetization in Free-to-Play Mobile Games. In: Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2023. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 14143 . Springer, pp. 203-213. ISBN 978-3-031-42282-9

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-42283-6_11


Over 95% of mobile games found on the Android Play Store are free to download and play which typically means that income for the publishers is generated through monetization mechanisms included within the gameplay. It is already established that monetization within mobile games often makes use of deceptive design (sometimes called ‘dark design’) in relation to aspects such as advertising and game-related purchasing. The limited spending power of young people often means that children and teenagers play these ‘free’ games extensively and are therefore regularly experiencing in-game monetization attempts developed by adults to target adult players. Monetization typically plays a key role in gameplay and associated gameplay experience in free games. We asked young people (n = 62) aged 12–13 years how they thought developers should monetize free mobile games. Findings show that participants were able to suggest novel mechanisms for monetization, new monetization possibilities developers could consider, and ways in which the experience of monetization mechanisms for players could be improved. We hope this work can help prompt discussion around participatory approaches for monetization and focus attention on the user experience of monetization techniques within mobile games.

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