Adjust: More than 40% of mobile gamers have paid for bots to help them cheat

Growth in mobile gaming is exploding, more so than ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 virus. Data from mobile measurement and fraud prevention firm, Adjust, suggests that installs in March 2020 have more than doubled from the same time last year.

And with apps encompassing 81% of time spent on digital gaming around the globe already, it’s going to be an important year of growth for mobile gaming. By 2021, more than one in four people are expected to be active mobile gamers, and are predicted to spend more than $180 billion on mobile games. But this growth has seen a corresponding rise in in-app bot fraud.

Cheaters use bots – machines that perform repetitive tasks in an app or website – to automate gameplay, giving them an unfair advantage over real players. Googling the words “bot for mobile games” yields upwards of 79.5 million results. Adjust’s survey data finds 41% of mobile gamers have paid for a bot to win, spending an average of $65.

The research also found that:

  • 31% of respondents say they always play against a bot.
  • 63% say that bots are negatively impacting the game, its community and economy. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those who feel this way are Generation Y, and 61% are those who play every day.
  • 12% of Generation Z respondents paid $201+ for a bot – the most of any generational cohort.

Elsewhere, e-Marketer reports that the majority of mobile gamers in the US are female; however, nearly three-quarters of gamers (72%) surveyed by Adjust who had used a bot identified as male, versus only 28% of female gamers. Generationally, half of gaming bot users surveyed were either Generation Y or Generation X.

Bots not only negatively impact the social experience by taking the fun out of competing, but they also fundamentally damage the business model of the game. First, you lose your most valuable users, which decreases revenue and could even damage your reputation. Secondly, people who pay for bots don’t make in-game purchases, also leading to loss of app revenue.

Yaron Oliker, CEO and co-founder, Unbotify