Dollissa Played Some App Games for Money, Like the Ads Say

Have you seen the ads? An exuberant girl talks directly at your face about making money playing games. She will tell you that it’s not that much, but you’re going to play games anyway right? They’ll show you video of playing games collecting actual cash money, in-game, with things like pachinko or bingo. The collected money adds up on-screen. From $1 to $2 to $5 to $600. They might even show a video of them showing a friend what they earned, and the friend saying “wow” in a very half-hearted way. Maybe they high-five.

Aside from being annoying ads, it felt like a big ol’ scheme. Giving me money to play games? Yeah right. I didn’t think that it was an outright lie, but that I’d earn pennies if anything, too little to cash out. I wanted to figure out where the scheme was exactly. Was it too little money? Did they make you write reviews for games? How long would I have to play for? Was the game really a virus? Would they ask for my bank account information and then murder me in my sleep?

A modern cell phone is illustrated upon a salmon pink background. The phone screen shows a big dollar sign. There are written words alongside it that say, "are you ready for riches" very excitedly. It is all misspelled.

I checked out Mistplay’s reviews, and everyone was pretty mad. It seems that it appears to work normally until you get close to an amount you can cash out. That’s mean! But not exactly surprising. So I looked at a related app, called Rewarded Play. A very boring but appropriate name. Is this where I should mention that I have an Android phone? iPhone people have their own app schemes, I’m sure.

Getting Started with Rewarded Play

The real start was when I opened one of the app games I enjoyed and it had lost my progress. I played a different game, and realized that I didn’t really care what game I was playing. I just wanted to zone out for a bit before bed.

There’s a beginning set of steps you can go through, and it promises $5 earnings once those are completed. It specifies how long it should take pretty clearly. You can earn that in roughly 30 minutes, as long as five of the minutes are the next day. The steps are essentially downloading and playing three games from the app’s list. You need to play each for at least four minutes, then meet a goal in two of them, or something like that.

The Scheme(s)

The biggest “scheme” part of the app is apparent right from the beginning. To see that you’re playing the games and hitting the goals for points, it requires you let the app see how you use other apps on your device. This setting isn’t specific to the games you download to earn points, it lets it see how you use any apps.

Are they checking that information too? Do they have all my personal details now? Are they looking at gmail? Are they checking out my photos of all the stray cats we feed? I certainly don’t know. If you have any expectation of real privacy I would not allow this setting. You can still earn points without it, but not much. If you have an extra tablet or phone just for games, totally go for it.

Another “scheme” is that you don’t get Cash Money, but gift cards to specific stores. An Amazon gift card is probably the closest you can get to real money, but then you’re stuck buying things on Amazon.

Lastly, the easiest and most rapid way to earn the points for money is to make in-game purchases in the apps you download. I am not spending $99 of my hard-earned customer support money to earn $5 in gift cards.

A modern cell phone is illustrated upon a salmon pink background. The phone screen shows a screencap of achieving an Amazon gift card reward. There are written words alongside it that say, "Reward. Prize." Dollar signs are everywhere.

Oh Well, I Played Anyway

There were some games that didn’t look extremely stupid, so I played. I played four solitaire games, two match-3 games, and some other random stuff that was not even remotely fun.

I made $45 in Amazon gift cards. Like any responsible person who just played like 40 hours of app games over the course of three weeks, I bought some new underwear and window insulation for both houses at Sneer HQ. Then I uninstalled the app.

Goodbye, app scheme. See you the next time I need something from Amazon, I guess!

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