Social Mobile games are the big thing at the moment.
The main feature of them seems to be competing against friends, with elements of combat and crafting or base-building involved – to give you something to do between battles.
They seem like fun and are, of course, “free to play”.
Usually you need “coins” or “jewels” or something like that to play, and you get them for free if you complete tasks or just wait long enough.
And yet these games make absolute fortunes for their developers.
One of the latest, most popular games in this social games market, is Coin Master. This has mixed the mobile battle game-genre with a slot machine element.
Coin Master is a lot of fun, for sure, but it got me thinking. Is it any different to playing free slots at online casinos?
In this article i’ll talk about:
What is Coin Master?
Coin Master is a free mobile game from Moon Active available on all mobile devices.
In Coin Master you build up your Viking Village and defend it from attacks as well as raiding other players villages.
What makes Coin Master different from all the other games in this genre is the slot machine mechanic that drives the whole game.
You get free coins to spin on the slot machine and these spins can result in either winning more coins or winning the opportunity to “raid” or “attack” another players base. You can also win shields to help defend your village from attacks.
Attacks on one of your friends bases not only damages them, but gives you more coins to play more spins.
By destroying villages, you move up the leaderboard and unlock more features and bigger “jackpots”.
So far it sounds like a run-of-mill base building and battle game.
But really the addictive element is the slot machine side of it. You need coins to build your village and coins to raid other villages and coins to win more coins.
Essentially it is very like a traditional Video Slot machine where the bonus feature is a battle game rather than free spins or a mystery bonus.
How Do Games like Coin Master Make Money?
It probably sounds like Coin Master is a cost-free bit of fun, that wouldn’t make much money for Moon Active.
But Coin Master has generated over $100M since it launched a few months back. How does a free game manage that?
Like most “freemium” mobile games, Coin Master has two main revenue streams. Advertising and In-game purchases.
This is fair enough, you can’t expect companies to develop and market a game without a business plan to make money from it.
You can carry out tasks, view ads or just wait around to get free “coins”. Nobody is forced to spend any money on Coin Master.
However, as you need coins to do anything, and given that your opponents can attack you at any time, there is an incentive to get more and more coins.
This gives the game a “pay-to-win” element. If one of your friends is willing to buy more “coins” then they clearly will have an advantage over you.
To be competitive you need more and more “coins”.
You can currently buy 60 spins at Coin Master for £4.99. That’s about 8p a spin.
There are millions of people playing Coin Master. Even if only a small percentage of players get caught up in paying to win, then the revenue is going to be huge.
Is Coin Master Just a Free Slots Game?
As i mentioned above, Coin Master relies heavily on the slot machine element to work.
But,of course, as there is no possibility of winning a cash payout, then it technically isn’t gambling and therefore can be marketed in countries where online gambling is illegal and also to players under 18 years old.
As someone who has played a fair amount of online slots, I can safely say that Coin Master is just a video slot machine with a “battle” feature round.
And if you are tempted to pay real money for “coins” then you are essentially gambling with no chance of actually winning.
Most online slots have a “Return-To-Player” or “Win-Ratio” of about 96%.
So in the long-run you will probably not win more than you spend. But there is always the possibility you will git a big win. That’s what makes it exciting.
With Coin Master, and other “Social Casino” games you can end up paying to play with a 0% chance of winning anything back.
This is bewildering to me.
Why not play a feature-heavy online slots game, either on demo mode or for the lowest amount possible – which is usually pennies.
You can even enter Slots Races where you play against others on a leaderboard for the chance to win cash or prizes. Entry can be free or just a few pounds.
What alternatives to Coin Master are there?
If you live in a country where online slots are illegal, or in a State in the US where it is illegal, then Social Slots games, like Coin Master, might be your only option to get some slots action.
But we have reviews for many online Slots sites on this site which might interest you too. Many with free spins and cash bonuses.
Coin Master and other Social Casino games are a lot of fun.
And for most players it is a free, entertaining way to spend some time.
If you want to spend money on Coin Master, then that is up to you.
My opinion is that if you are going to spend money on what is essentially a slot machine, then you should probably play at a real slot game.
At least there you might get something back.
And, whether you play Coin Master or Slots, please do play responsibly.