Comment & Opinion

Why are people still playing Coin Master?

Why are people still playing Coin Master?

It's probably unwise for a games journalist to talk about their gaps in gaming knowledge. You would, quite reasonably, expect us to know a little bit about everything out there, if only out of professional curiosity.

But keeping on top of every single release, especially on the mobile marketplace, is nigh-on impossible. And that's why I come to you today to make a confession: I have never played Coin Master.

We've certainly covered Coin Master plenty on PocketGamer.biz. Our original IAP Inspector picked it up back in February 2018, giving it an unfavourable review and calling it "shallow and arguably exploitative".

Not that this has stopped people playing it - we've also run stories on the game clearing $500 million in revenue as of October 2019, and only last week we reported on its best month of revenue ever in February 2020.

It's foolhardy to suggest that critical opinion matches player opinion - those figures alone instantly debunk the notion. But it did make me ponder why exactly people are still playing it all these years later, and why it has in fact grown in revenue recently.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I've been playing Coin Master for the past week, and I think I'm starting to understand why people are still hooked by it.

It's all in the spin

Coin Master is, ostensibly, a game about building up a village using cash earned from playing a slot machine. Build up your village enough, and you unlock the next village, which in turn increases the value of your rewards.

On top of that is some light social mechanics, through which you attack other players' villages to destroy their buildings and earn coins, or "raid" the "Coin Master" by digging up buried treasure in their village.

It really doesn't get much more complex than that. Even the inclusion of card collections and pets, the latter of which grants certain bonuses to different actions in the game, don't make the game that much more involved.

Indeed, the coins you earn really aren't even the point of the game. It's rare you fail to grab even a few hundred thousand coins from your daily free spins, which usually just about grants you a new building.

Instead, Coin Master hooks you in through its energy system, through battering you with push notifications and in-game pop-ups, through constant events, and through the little details of its ever-spinning one-armed bandit.

It's about the opportunity to keep spinning, keep getting that same tiny endorphin hit over and over until you can't anymore.

Feeling energised?

The energy system is the crux of the whole game. You get five free spins per hour, with a maximum of 50 spins banked at any one time. That's plenty if you're playing casually, but not so much if you want to play for extended periods.

As you progress through the early stages of the game, you eventually unlock the ability to multiply your spins up to 3x and set them on auto-spin. So your 50 spins quickly becomes 16 spins on the 3x multiplier, with an additional 2x spin for good measure.

Set that on auto-spin and you're done in a matter of minutes, especially if your session isn't held up by any attacks or raids.

And once you reach the end of those spins, the onslaught of in-game notifications begins. Refuse to login via Facebook and you receive up to four notifications each and every time you run out of spins, all with the same message: login for free spins, watch this ad for another spin, invite friends for more spins.

Coin Master knows that it's not the monetary reward that people are playing for. It's about the opportunity to keep spinning, keep getting that same tiny endorphin hit over and over until you can't anymore. But you can - you just need to do something for the game first.

You spin me right round

Even the slot machine is designed to keep drawing you in. Alongside the regular interruptions to go off and raid a village, you'll sometimes see the wheels spin tantalisingly close to a big win before stopping early or - if you're lucky - landing on exactly the right image.

That effect is active even in auto-spin mode. Even if you're trying to burn your way through your spins as quickly as possible, Coin Master doesn't let you off the hook. It makes you suffer the highs and lows all the same.

And there's usually some metagame happening at the same time through one of the constantly-added events. Maybe balloons float up when you're playing - tap them for free spins. Maybe one of your pets is digging for treasure - that's free coins and free spins.

This screenshot was taken in 2018, but the hook of Coin Master hasn't changed

Some events are so generous, you can end up playing Coin Master for almost half an hour straight without spending a cent, and once you're out of spins for good, the rush of adrenaline from constant wins doesn't simply seep away. You want to keep going, no matter what.

That's why Coin Master is still generating as much money as it is. It's not about the progression, it's not about the social mechanics, it's not even about the showers of coins you might receive - though they certainly help.

It's the feel of spinning the wheel, even on auto-spin. It's the tiny, slow turns of the last drum as it lands on your third pig. And it's the bombardment of notifications reminding you that you could be playing right now. That's why people are still playing Coin Master.

Editor

Ric is the Editor of PocketGamer.biz, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.

Comments

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Naeem Momin
Hii
Florin Pysku
Minunat jocul si are foarte multi participanti
Kathy O'Brien
I have noticed when your playing and have over 1000 spins or more your dont get goods pins,also when pur having the game goes down and you end up with two payments taken out at the same time checked my account and had 4 withdrawals at the same time I'm not purchasing any more spins and I'm deleting my account over it
Shane Stover
Again I've been playing for as i stated previously about 4 years and I have never had issues with losing spins or coins and never had them take money out of my account without my permission. Im currently on village 119 and it may take me a week or more to complete a village but as you get higher in villages your win amount increases just as costs to buy things in villages goes up and after certain level you get 5 shields instead of 3 and max spins goes from 50 to 60 spins.
Telly Piniotis
It's great game
Telly Piniotis
U should not spend money playing
Francine Scott-hetrick
Yes I have started to hate this game cause u have to buy spins if u want to finish ur dang village. That's why their making money.
I am done with it. I spent 11.99 and dint even get shit. Pissed me off
Natalie Louisa Jane King
I used enjoy this game but now I dont. They take from.bank account without u know then dont refund u. Take spins from u then say I've checked with technology team n it fine even thou u got video n screenshots. Most the time u cant get in the game raid n attacks u cant really get anymore. It's in possibility to finish off reward bar because they want u 2 pay out on the game. The most paid out game and they cant help there game players
Carrie Thomas
One of the things that makes it so addictive to me is the fb groups dedicated to card sharing and trading and the friends you make on the game when you join the groups
Marilyn Milo
Sometimes game get stuck and i reported it but was told they saw now nothing that's a waste of money
Marilyn Milo
I have been PLaying for awhile and spending over 400 and i never get any extra for spending. All the king games shows appreciation by letting me play for free all week as a thank you. Guess I'll keep my money with them
Shirley Fields
Very addictive fun to finish villages. But hard to do the higher you get you get mad when attack its such a waste of spins and coins and most of all money
Faith Eady
Here is my problem twice in last couple of months my accounts that were attached to the game
Have been hit for large amounts (large for me I am on disability) one was a credit card the other my debt card the first time google gave me back the monies this time stakes much higher and they won't return a.cent all this trouble over a game
Shane Stover
I have been playing coin master for about 4 years now each time i upgraded to a new phone i made sure this mobile game was on it. I love coin master bc of the constant spins and building up my villages. I have spent in a 4 year time span maybe $60 on in-app purchases. You do not need to spend money to enjoy this game.
Fenix Mussaw
This game is a joke. Just geared around making money instead of being fun. What happened to the days where games were fun. Expect to pump money into this to have fun.
Marlene Parker
The Game appears to keep its players using debit cards to make purchases. It's a scam to get People to pay. I am not happy. The games cheats you out if rewards. Invites, spins ie
Jose Javier Hernandez Miralles
a ver si mejorais el juego, porque de 700 tiradas que no me salga ni una sola vez la cara, ni martillos, y cartas nuevas no sale ninguna, solo repetidas, y podrias poner tiradas ilimitadas, o algo nose, pero mejorar el juego, que salgan mas caras para asaltar.