Comment & Opinion

How Apple’s ATT could end the current free-to-play gaming era

Privacy changes continue to have significant consequences for many devs

How Apple’s ATT could end the current free-to-play gaming era

The era of free-to-play mobile gaming as we know it is coming to an end, according to a recent post by AdExchanger.

Since Apple’s ATT (App Tracking Transparency) has been requiring apps to request user permissions, developers have needed to adjust advertisements without much one-to-one targeting; they have to build dynamic paths and personalised experiences within games, according to AdExchanger, resulting in games that are different for a speedy player than a slower, methodical one.

The result of this will apparently be a "fortressification".

Indie hits are growing scarce

Apple’s privacy changes have had significant consequences for many mobile game developers, with as many as 68 percent finding marketing more difficult. Of those whose revenues have been affected, this June 75 per cent noted fears that their businesses were at risk.

A Tempr report this summer suggested that predictive analytics, automation and data privacy would be the three primary factors dominating user acquisition going forward. AdExchanger, meanwhile, is now suggesting that the ramifications of ATT impact not only monetisation but how mobile games are constructed too.

The post highlights how Facebook and Google were proficient in "funnelling players" to developers based on a precise gaming history, able to account for gameplay and content in determining what people may like. However, privacy policies are now "hammering" platforms that relied on ad targeting.

"An indie App Store developer with a viral hit game was once commonplace but pretty much doesn’t happen anymore. And without ad revenue as a monetisation pillar, developers must cross-promote users between different games or different kinds of apps entirely," AdExchanger wrote in the post.

When we interviewed Rovio CEO Alex Pelletier-Normand this spring, he noted: "Companies like Rovio are large enough to have people working in compensating to the new marketing environment but regardless, we prepared heavily. But we didn’t know what to expect from ATT."

AdExchanger’s full post includes further exploration of how companies are weathering these changes.

News Editor

Aaron is the News Editor at and has an honours degree in Creative Writing.
Having spent far too many hours playing Pokémon, he's now on a quest to be the very best like no one ever putting words in the right order.