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Can You Really Make Money Playing Mobile Games?

Can You Really Make Money Playing Mobile Games?

What if you got paid to play games on your smartphone? The proposal is enticing. Whether it's on public transport, in the bathroom, or in the dentist's waiting room, many people spend their time playing games on their smartphones. As much as it pays off, right? Monetizing your gaming moments is the promise of many mobile applications. Good plan or scam?

They are called Coin Pop, Money Rawr, MISTPLAY, Fitplay or Big Time. On online stores such as GooglePlay Store or iOS, they guarantee: making money playing on your phone is possible! It’s even very easy. The process is simple: all you have to do is install the application, play and earn "credits", then transform this virtual currency into PayPal transfers or Amazon gift cards. The publishers of this kind of game even speak of "Free-2-win" or "free to win".


This enticing promise is bolstered by the fact that these apps are garnering excellent reviews online. On the GooglePlay Store, Mistplay and Big Time are recommended 4.4 out of 5 stars, with approximately 50,000 and 250,000 user reviews, respectively.

The Big time app is particularly well rated on the Google Play Store
Yet among the tens of thousands of positive opinions, some voices are dissenting. "Do not install, it's a scam, blocked tickets [...] I'll see to report (sic) for Scam," says a mobile user, for example. “Random operation, I suspect a big scam. How is my phone number useful other than being sold with my info? No payment received, this app is a hoax. », Denounced another user on August 25 on the Money Rawr page.

An opinion shared in part by Julien *, 26, looking for a job after the liquidation of his former employer. “I found myself unemployed overnight, with free time, but mostly cash flow to ensure. I looked for a way to earn additional income on the internet and I discovered a video on YouTube where a videographer claimed to earn 100 € per week by playing mobile games thanks to the Coin Pop application ”, says the young man. male, interviewed by Numerama.

Intrigued, he also installs the application. Very quickly, he is taken aback. "As soon as the application was launched, it was explicitly written that I accepted that Coin Pop collects and uses my data such as my email address, my date of birth, my gender, etc. At least it was explicit ", relativizes the job seeker.


Screenshot of the Coin Pop app
In fact, Coinpop is not a gaming app as such. “She offers to download games. On the home screen, for example, there is a selection of games that you can install on your phone. Coinpop then calculates the time spent on each of its games and pays according to this duration in virtual coins, ”explains Julien, showing us the home screen of the application.

In the app, not all games are created equal. The strategy game “Gun of Glory” thus brings in 118 coins per minute. The one-armed bandit game "Slotomania" only 69 coins every 170 seconds.

Very quickly, Julien becomes disillusioned. “The games are fun, but you have to spend a lot of time in them to be able to make any real money. I am unemployed, but not bedridden either! ", He annoys.

Indeed, if playing well pays a few tens or hundreds of coins per minute, it takes several tens of thousands to hope to fill your online wallet. Need a euro to buy a baguette? It will take 9898 coins to get this symbolic euro transferred to a PayPal account. Either 83 minutes of play on "Gun of Glory" or nearly six hours on "Slotomania". We are far from the hourly minimum wage (€ 7.72 net).

For our part, after managing to collect 3861 coins in Coin Pop in two days, we tried to get 40 cents transferred to a PayPal account. If the transfer is not immediate, we have received the transfer the next morning in our online account after entering our mobile phone number through the application to "validate the transaction".

So, is there no way to earn more coins per minute?


Like any good free smartphone game, players are regularly offered to "invite friends to join" on the Coin Pop app. The goal for the user? Directly receive 250 coins for each friend who creates an account, but also receive 25% of all the coins that his “godson” will have subsequently won. Some videographers saw it as a way to finance their YouTube channel. This is the case, for example, of Belgian YouTuber Papys Warrior, who regularly presents mobile games to his community of 13,000 subscribers - whom he calls "the grandpas" - and who gave a video to Coin Pop last April.

In it, the videographer encourages his subscribers to install the application so that he can sponsor them and thus collect more virtual coins to convert into a PayPal transfer. He doesn't hide the fact that he sees it as a way, different from crowdfunding, to develop his YouTube channel without having hundreds of thousands of views.


This sponsorship system therefore allows the "sponsor" to increase his number of pieces more quickly. Most importantly, it allows Applike, the German company behind Coin Pop, to dramatically increase its user base ... and therefore the personal data it collects.

Data multiplied by the fact that in addition to Coin Pop, Applike would also have the applications Appstation, Fitplay, Money Rawr, Pirate Coinland, Appster or even Cash Alarm, with a similar principle. An application network that is not explained anywhere - no notion of Applike appears in the descriptions of these applications - and that we deduced by comparing the origin of paypal transfers thanks to screenshots of users or similar advertising visuals.

After a warm email exchange with the press relations manager of the Hamburg-based company, he suddenly no longer responded to our requests when we asked him precisely what data his company collected and what it did with it. However, a visit to the company's website can provide some answers. Applike claims to work with nearly 200 advertisers including mobile game giants such as Zynga, Gameloft or Jamcity. It also assures its potential customers how to increase the chances of a user spending money on a free (or free-to-play) game by 80%.

Applike claims to work with nearly 200 advertisers on its website


What if instead of receiving micropayments, you hit the jackpot by playing mobile games? This is what other games applications are promising, including that of WINR Games Inc, which also specializes in profitable applications for their users. From mahjong to solitaire, the company with a Toronto-based address offers, still on the Google Play Store, no less than 46 games around this promise.

On the company’s home page, a trombinoscope even brings together a collection of users, all smiles, who have consistently earned over $ 2,000. A reverse search using Google Images tends to confirm that these are not selfies from "stock" photos. Nevertheless, it is explicitly stipulated in the terms of use of the applications, that the winners must send a "smiling" photo if they want to receive their prizes.

On the homepage of, a trombinoscope of users who have won big money
But how did these players manage to win such large sums? All you need to do is install the Big Time app, the spearhead of WINR Games Inc in number of downloads, to get answers. As soon as it is launched, a small robot welcomes the player and explains that this time around, it will not be a question of playing for virtual currency but for lottery tickets, just as virtual. Each ticket - represented as a "ticket" - offers a chance to be drawn for a big cash prize. A game of 30 seconds on one of the games in Big Time thus allows you to obtain an average of ten "tickets", which is just as much chances of being drawn.

Based on our observation, it appears that WINR Games Inc can afford to do two sweepstakes with over $ 2,000 in cash prize per week. An amount that would tend to increase considerably week after week.


Céline *, a 31-year-old mother-to-be, currently on maternity leave, installed Big Time at the start of her pregnancy. By phone, she does not hide her disappointment with the application. “It's very opaque. You just know when the next draw is due to a countdown. How many are we playing? How much chance do I have of winning the jackpot? It's a mystery, ”she explains.

Celine still had time to accumulate several thousand tickets on Big Time, which she also tried to convert into a Paypal transfer. As with the virtual coins of the aforementioned applications, it is possible to exchange these tickets for cash to be transferred by Paypal. “10,000 tickets are worth 10 cents. But you also need a minimum of $ 10 in your fund to make a transfer. I did not feel capable of accumulating a million tickets, to receive enough to pay me a fast food after my pregnancy ”, laments the one who preferred to uninstall the application when it offered to win“ 5,000 tickets at once ”if she agreed to share her whereabouts. "I told myself that this personal data was worth more than five cents," concludes the future mother.

For our part, we have expressed our desire to the publishers of its applications to delete or block our data and advertising profiles (a possibility presented in their terms of use) after the uninstallation of said applications. No publisher has confirmed the successful completion of this action.