False advertising is alive and well in mobile gaming with no sign of stopping

BRAZIL - 2021/08/25: In this photo illustration the malware logo seen in the background of a silhouette hand holding a mobile phone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BRAZIL - 2021/08/25: In this photo illustration the malware logo seen in the background of a silhouette hand holding a mobile phone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

I’m sure you’ve seen many examples of false advertising when it comes to mobile game apps. At first, the movement was lazy; footage of the promoted game with a lazy bar on top that said something like, “If you get to level 15 you can go to Disneyland” or some other outright lie.

YouTuber, Danny Gonzalez has made a ton of videos showcasing some of the worst and I recommend you watch this series on them. One, because it’s an excellent showcase, and two, he’s hilarious.

He showcases how insanely nonsensical the ads are in their lies. This includes my personal favorite which is an ad that states: “If you reach level two, you’re legally a pumpkin.” Never has my life goal been easier to reach.

These ads are nothing new but for a long time, it was just something that low-budget games did. Usually, someone using prebuilt resources then goes all-in on ads to get views and sell information. But they’ve been allowed to do it for a long time.

Things really hit a fever pitch when games like “Puzzles & Survival” came along. I guarantee if you game on your mobile device you saw an ad for this or some other puzzle game with a zombie motif. They’ll usually involve a character in his underpants on the run from zombies. Along the way he encounters a scantly clad woman who’s immediately attracted to him and he gets better weapons and clothing by solving dirt simple puzzles. He then throws the girl to the zombies to slow them down shortly before completely botching an easy puzzle and dying in a way that says, “I bet he wouldn’t have died if YOU were playing.”

The games aren’t like this though. They’re usually a barebones match-three game with minimal story and little to no animation. Instead, they go all in animated commercials because they’re not worried about microtransactions or maintaining a good game, they just want your sweet sweet data and you only have to download the game once for them to have it.

These commercials became all-encompassing. Regardless of what game you were playing, you might have seen these ads. They were also all over YouTube, Twitch, and anything else that had ads. Everyone knew they were fake but they were still allowed to run rampant.

We’re not the only ones who noticed either. Massive companies have started realizing that all they can make a trailer featuring absolutely anything and it’s fine. They’ll suffer no consequences and their ads will have no fear of being taken down.

For example, Jurassic World Alive is a game developed by Ludia and owned by NBC. And the Jurassic Park property itself is owned by Universal Studios.  So while Ludia is a relatively small company, it’s one of the biggest companies on Earth that’s responsible for its own property.

Jurassic World Alive is a Pokemon GGOo type game where you move around a GPS-driven map and, instead of Pokemon, you battle and collect dinosaurs. It looks very similar to Pokemon GO in how it looks and plays. But the commercials that started playing for it over the last month or so, show that Ludia is taking a whole new approach to advertisement.

The commercials now don’t show anything you do in the game. Instead, it’s a fake trailer that shows dinosaurs fighting in a style that is a blatant nod to the old arcade fighter “Primal Rage.” A fighting game in the style of Mortal Kombat with dinosaurs.

Here’s footage of Primal Rage in case you happen to see the Jurassic Alive trailer and want to compare it.

Fun enough, when I tried to research this, I found that not only does Jurassic World Alive have a problem with their own false advertisement but also other people’s false advertisement. When researching this issue, I found people reporting that Jurassic World Alive has a reward system where you can do offers from other companies and make in-game money, or, as some offers state, real cash. You can probably see where this is going.

But turns out that some of those companies are such well-known scammers that people in the forums are resorting to warning each other. In particular, a company known as Tapjoy. Apparently, their offers are all over this thing but no one ever actually gets the listed rewards.

It doesn’t show any sign of stopping. The era of Sega being embarrassed of their “Blast Processing” claims has given way to a world in which we merely download a game to see what it’s REALLY like, knowing full well the videos are fake, handing out our information to companies that merely want to sell it.

In the meantime, Google and iOS stores allow us to report false advertisements but so far there hasn’t been anything done about it. For years.