Video games have been around for a while, but they’ve kind of escaped the ad overload that other industries are experiencing. However, this may change in the near future; because Microsoft and Sony would intend to include advertisements in free games. Apparently, the two companies intend to introduce the changes for the last quarter of the year and want to make in-game ads normal.
The news was reported by Insider; which first released a report on Microsoft’s intentions, then revealed another on Sony. However, in said reports, they also explained that the two companies use different techniques in the process.
Microsoft’s Plan: Background Ads in Free XBOX Games
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has introduced ads in video games. Their now-defunct advertising company, Massive Inc., struck a deal with EA to introduce ads into their games in the late 2000s. This deal allowed the companies to introduce their ads into games like Nascar, NHL, Madden NFLor even Saints Row 2.
However, this time Microsoft is more cautious about implementing ads, because they don’t want to disturb the players. First, they will put ads in free games, not in games that cost the player up to $60. Also, they plan to implement ads that will not disrupt games. For example, they would introduce advertisements on billboards on racing cars or sports games. Additionally, they would build a special, closed market to sell advertising rights. And, in said market, they would only accept certain brands that would meet their requirements.
Inside sources also revealed that Microsoft does not want to make money from these ads. They would let the game developer and the advertiser share the benefits as their main goal is to attract more free game developers. Finally, the sources revealed that Microsoft will not use user data (from Bing or XBOX) to include personalized in-game ads, so it looks like the company will be taking all sorts of precautions to please ad companies. and to players.
Sony’s Plan: Expanded Advertising
Currently, Sony’s advertising options only include in-menu ads, which may appear on the PS4 dashboard or different apps. However, both options are easily supervised and dashboard announcements can even be disabled. This is one of the main reasons for introducing more ads in their products. However, it is not the only one, because they share a goal with Microsoft: attract more free game developers. Both companies have noticed the growing popularity of these games and want to capitalize on it. So, by putting ads in free games, they attract more developers, which in turn attracts a bigger player base. Overall, they are looking to have a larger audience to sell products to.
The Japanese company does not have the experience of Microsoft, but it intends to be just as careful. Supposedly, they take a very similar approach to Microsoft:
- Sony wants ads to feel natural in-game
- They are very strict when selecting advertising agencies
- They don’t want to collect players’ personal information
Nonetheless, Insider reported that the project began to take shape 18 months ago. Apparently, Sony is now in contact with various companies to implement the project in late 2022. Still, it might be postponed due to user feedback.
Backlash and near future
Even though both companies are trying to be careful and “take their time”, the gaming community has already shared their thoughts on the matter, and they’re not thrilled. The situation is not promising for most gamers, who don’t want to see their favorite games ruined by ads (and past experiences haven’t helped). As such, they have already posted some of their opinions on the web.
(Video by Inside Gaming)
Neither Microsoft nor Sony have released official statements to address the situation, but they may need to do so in the near future. Until then, players will most likely continue to voice their ideas and concerns, but they have a very clear vision of what they want. And they don’t want a future of ad-filled games. The two gaming giants also have their intentions clear, but they will struggle to convince gamers that this is a good move. we’ll have to wait and see how they manage to do that.