Hipster Whale have proven once again that fair monetization can lead top big bucks. The trend is now catching on and 2015 is panning out to be a a year of ‘clean’ ads integration.

Crossy Road has been such a massive hit, they managed to put an original spin on an old concept (frogger) and re-deliver it to a newer generation of games. In the process of doing so,  generating huge revenue for the team while bringing smiles to the faces of gamers worldwide.

It took the young developers from Australia only 12 weeks to build Crossy Road, which was built in Unity3D.

Developers are now dissecting it carefully, layer by layer to reveal the magic formula for success. Why, when so many games have falled short has this relatively simple game captured the hearts of so many? More importantly how did it generate so much money?

Hipster Whale said that “Crossy Road is an experiment in what happens if a free-to-play game puts players first.”
To put the player first, what does it mean exactly? Well I can tell you what it DOESN’T mean.  It doesn’t mean tricking players into clicking dubious full-screen popup ads, or positioning ads so close to the start button that its going to get triggered accidentally… This is not the way to make money.

All of the ads in Crossy Road are completely optional. Between plays users are given the opportunity to gain a virtual prize (to be used in-game) by watching a video ad.  From this system alone they have generated in excess of 3 million dollars in revenue. But of course before developers can utilize such a monitization system, they first need a GREAT GAME, and that Crossy Roads is.

“The success of Crossy Road with Unity Ads shows that mobile games can make millions of dollars with ads that users choose to watch,” said Jussi Laakkonen, the executive vice president of Unity Ads “Opt-in, seamless part of the game and high monetization – that’s the holy grail of in-game mobile ads.”

‘Seamless’ ad integration with ads is quickly emerging as the new trend, with more than 1500 new games being release in February alone using Unity Ads.

The problem is, like anything to do with money, It gets exploited and overused, with many games already using video ads in dubious ways.   Consider this example. A game is created in such a way that a level cannot be beaten without losing a life, at which point you are offered the life back by watching a video ad. Is this ‘optional’?  sure you don’t have to watch the ad, but it means your game session pretty much stops right there. If you want to continue playing you MUST watch the ad.  Not so optional after all right?

I see this nasty scenario becoming quite prevalent and popular among sneaky, money hungry developers. Imagine getting accosted by ‘optional’ video ads every minute, it could very well turn into a worse situation than we have will trickster popup ads.