Google is introducing a new type of mobile ad in its AdMob advertising platform: games. The idea is that users will play these built-in games in the hopes of unlocking something special inside of a game they're already in. It's a glimpse of the way advertising is evolving on a web dominated by it.
Enabled by the spending models of Apple's and Google's app stores, smartphone game developers have already ruined the medium–most games nowadays are not designed to be rewarding on their own, but to operate as digital cortisol drips that encourage players to spend money on "rewards," the "gems" and "coins" that, once upon a time, Mario would have discovered simply by hitting a question mark block. This business model is how companies like Supercell made $2.3 billion as of 2016 with Clash of Clans, in which players buy virtual armies to fight one another. And since Google and Apple take a 30% cut of these microtransactions, it's no wonder why Clash of Clans is so regularly featured in their app stores.