You'd think, given the inevitable backlash reaction, that we would have long since moved past the point where mobile game operators try to brag about how much money their biggest "whales" have spent. I guess that memo never quite reached Yodo1 boss Henry Fong, who blithely announced a few days ago that a player of Transformers: Earth Wars (which is developed by UK-based Space Ape Games but operated in China by Yodo1) has spent US$150,000 on the title.
These headline figures are probably meant to drive home the popularity of the game or the dedication of its fans, but inevitably, the conversation sparked has been quite a different one -- leading straight back to the increasing criticism and scrutiny of game monetisation practices which has gone far beyond consumer disquiet and is being actively taken up by governments around the world.
The reason it's terribly unwise to boast about these kinds of "high roller" numbers is, in part, that reactions to cases like this are always pretty extreme. There remains a fairly strong sense among a not insignificant chunk of game consumers that there's something intrinsically wrong with people playing a mobile game who end up paying out more than the cost of a full-price PC or console game. It's a position born to quite an extent from prejudice and the inability to see that their own perception of value is personal, not universal; "If you're paying that much money you could just have bought a real game" assumes a definition of "real games" that not everyone shares by any means. There are plenty of people who have the time and inclination to play mobile games but no desire whatsoever to engage with PC or console titles, and there's nothing wrong with that choice.
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