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Here is an image from 9GAG that shows how misleading ads for Gardenscapes are

Example ad verus game

The ad looks like simpler game. Why don't they just make games based on those ads? Why advertise a game that's totally different from what the ad is for?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I never played this particular one but from their store page it seems the stuff they have in their ads are also in the game as minigames. Also these match-3 games often follow a storyline. You achieve milestones in the story by completing these match-3 levels. Like renovating a house by completing a level. \$\endgroup\$
    – schneebuzz
    Apr 27, 2020 at 7:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this question does not really fit here since nobody knows for sure except the guys who made this game and its advertisement. So you'll get only guesses as answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – wychmaster
    Apr 27, 2020 at 8:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure if you were looking for a more involved answer than "Because it turns out they make more money that way". \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2020 at 8:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I want to note that I have seen various different games with basically the same advertisement: help x get to y, with characters and sliding rods to open or close paths. This is not the mechanic of any of the advertised games. Although sometimes these ads feature a character from the game. See How many Games use these Ads? I believe the only game that matches the mechanic is Hero Rescue, the rest are fakes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theraot
    Apr 27, 2020 at 16:04

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I did not talk to the people who made the marketing campaign for that game. I do not even know that game. I have not even seen this advertisement in the wild. So I can only guess wildly what their motive might have been to do this advertisement campaign.

But my theory is that the concept for the left game is:

  • Easy to represent in marketing - the customer immediately sees (or has a theory) how the game works and is intrigued by it.
  • Difficult to develop - designing puzzles like that takes a lot of time. You need a smart game designer to come up with the puzzles and a good artist to create the assets for it. But such puzzles have no replay value, so you get relatively little playtime out of all that effort.
  • Difficult to monetize - there is no good obvious way to add microtransactions to such a game. And as a game which consists mostly of content, it's not good for long-time player retention either.

The game on the right, on the other hand:

  • Hard to represent in marketing - it looks really complicated and cluttered. The customer can't make any sense of that screenshot. They have no idea what's the goal of the game or how it plays. Some customers will recognize it as a match-3 game, but now you are facing the difficulty to show how your match-3 game is different from all the others they already played.
  • Easy to develop - Match-3 puzzle games are a tried and true formula. They are not difficult to make, the graphical assets are mostly static images and yet they provide hours upon hours of gameplay.
  • Easy to monetize - Candy Crush has already figured out how to turn a match-3 game into a gold mine, so you can simply copy their monetization strategy.

So what we have here is one game idea which is easy to promote but not profitable and one game idea which is profitable but not easy to promote. This is a problem. So why not make the second game, but use screenshots from the prototype of the first game to trick people into playing it? Probably because it is unethical and might even violate laws about misrepresenting a product, but it's profitable nevertheless.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is one more point, this type of advertisement often has a short video for the left game, where you are shown a simple level, the person in the video fails at it horrible and it "challenges" you to be better, appealing to you to be better or just asking yourself, how can anybody fail horrible like that. Those adds came way after the game was already running, there is actually a type of games like that made after the adds got popular. (Hero Rescue comes to the mind) \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibelas
    Apr 27, 2020 at 10:39

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