3 min read

Most people are not information addicts

Most people are not addicted to information. The majority of software developers are. This difference leads to misunderstandings when the people who build software interact with the world of people who use software.

Information addicts love proactively seeking out more information. This carries into all aspects of their lives including their hobbies.

The traditional video game world (console and PC games) is built up of information addicted consumers. They read reviews, join fan Discords, and watch trade show coverage for the latest news.

In contrast, the world of mobile games is more representative of an audience not addicted to information.

The traditional video game world has dozens upon dozens of review and news outlets: IGN, GameSpot, Destructoid, Giant Bomb, Polygon, Game Informer, PC Gamer, etc. with dozens more created and shuttered every year. There is a massive demand for traditional video game coverage where consumers can proactively seek out things they’d like to purchase.

There is really only one outlet that followed that template on the mobile game side, TouchArcade, and it never drove significant demand to the degree that would result in sustainable revenue. Over time traditional gamers ignored mobile games, and mobile gamers continued to not look for information about mobile games.

So what is the primary distribution channel for mobile games? Ads. It’s hard to find hard numbers on this, but I’ll lean on anecdotal experience. The majority of ads you see when you play a mobile game are for other mobile games. The success of the massive mobile game companies like King and Supercell comes in part from their ability to drive users from one game to another. When you're advertising your own games you get to advertise for free, lowering the cost of customer acquisition.

The amount of information about the traditional game market exceeds that of the mobile market on an insane scale, and yet the mobile market is bigger in dollar terms. The first numbers I can find suggest that the mobile market was $136 billion in 2022, while the console/pc market was $86 billion.

The vast majority of mobile gamers are downloading games based on an ad, and then downloading more games based off of ads they see in that game.

The information addict is very particular about their information. They curate their information proactively, and disturbances to that curation are frustrating and enraging.

“Why do companies even try cold email—it never works!”

Yes, cold email doesn’t work as well on the information addict. If the addict has a problem, they’ll proactively search for a solution for it.

But the average person is not an information addict. Their inbox is absolutely slammed with, as it would be interpreted by the addict, garbage, 24/7. Yes, to reach that person you may have to reach out many times in a row! No, they will not care—their inbox is already getting slammed! Yeah, it may annoy them at times, but they’re not trying to actively solve it—they’ve got other problems!

Non-addicts do not stomp their feet when a cold email disturbs the little information oasis they’ve curated for themselves—that way of approaching things is alien to them.

Ads work, cold email works. Most people aren’t information addicts, and most software developers are information addicts.

Most people find out about movies from a trailer they see while watching TV. Most people find the next video game they want to play from an ad shown in the current video game they’re playing. Most people do not curate their inbox and do not care about getting an email they might not be interested in.

Yes, if you're serving a market of information addicts, be cognizant of their preferences and norms or else you'll be shooting yourself in the foot. But if you're serving a market of non-addicts, which make up the majority of the world, recognize that and adjust accordingly.

The truth is a much higher percent of the world needs to be reached out to proactively than you think.

Just because you’re so clever and special that you think you can perfectly rationally find exactly what you need when you need it, doesn’t mean that’s how the rest of the world works.