In 1978, video game developer Scott Adams posted a promotional advertisement for an upcoming game called Pirate Adventure into his existing game called Adventureland. The promotional method used by the developer is considered to be the first in-game ads in video games. Five years later, a game called Tapper was recorded as the first Advergame due to its unique gameplay wherein players are serving Budweiser beer to customers. Fast-forward to today, in-game ads and advergames have become a norm, especially in mobile gaming. Although these methods are already used in console sports games like FIFA for example through product placement in the game’s stadiums and billboards, the thought of having ads in console games was never really brought up until last week when a report surfaced that both Sony and Microsoft are planning to incorporate ads into their Xbox Playstation games.
Before we proceed, it’s worth noting that in-game ads and advergames are two different things. However, both methods intertwined during the 90s with the rise of games that incorporates real-world products in video games.
In-Games Ads on Xbox Playstation Accdg. to Sony & Microsoft
Both gaming giants are planning to use the concepts found in mobile gaming wherein players can enjoy free-to-play games packed with ads. According to the report, Microsoft is planning to create a private marketplace where in-game ads can be sold. Furthermore, an article from FOX Business states that Microsoft is planning to implement in-game ads in free-to-play games like Rocket League, Fortnite, and Apex Legends. Additionally, Microsoft plans not to take any cut from the revenue, thus allowing the developers to enjoy the benefit. When pressed for comments, a spokesperson from Microsoft told FOX Business that they do not have anything to share and that they are always in the pursuit of ways to improve the experience of players and developers.
Sony, on the other hand, is said to have been working on a program of its own for the past 18 months according to a separate report by Forbes. The company is said to insert ads in free-to-play games through a private marketplace. In addition, the article states that Sony is planning to provide players with the option of watching ads in exchange for in-game items like skins, for example. Both Microsoft and Sony are planning to implement a trial before the end of 2022.
Pay to Win or Watch to Win?
To be fair, in-game ads could tip the unbalanced gaming experience brought by microtransactions. In today’s gaming, the player with the most disposable income to pay for in-game items is the better one. Although skills still play a factor in video games, those who spend more get the best items and advantages compared to regular players. In-game ads, for the most part, can change this since those who do not have funds to spend can watch ads instead. Not to mention that they perform this method in between breaks. Nevertheless, if the ads become invasive and will appear in-between levels, this will eventually ruin the experience. The important keyword to remember in in-game ads is “option,” players should have the option to enable or disable the feature. After all, a 30-second ad feels like an eternity when gaming.
Ads in Paid Games – Xbox Playstation
In-game ads are a great feature for free-to-play games. However, what happens if the player purchases the full game? Will this be an issue? To answer this question, we need to go back to 2020 when EA decided to put full commercials in UFC 4. 2K Sports did the same in the same year when they decided to put ads in NBA 2K21 a month after launch. Both of the games came with a $60 price tag, which is the SRP for a full game in 2020. That being said, the placement of unskippable ads during loading screens angered those who paid full price for both games. Both EA and 2K later apologized to the players stating that the move was a mistake.
In a Nutshell…
Sony and Microsoft’s plan to provide indie developers with a way to earn revenue is not a bad thing. As long as they handle it correctly. Like mobile gaming, having free-to-play games on a console will expand the gaming experience of console owners. Not to mention that it will provide talented developers to shy away from corporate-controlled studios. Overall, casual gamers who love to play free-to-play games are okay with this kind of feature. However, hardcore gamers will be and that will lead to conflicts.
Whether we like it or not, in-game ads are already part of the gaming industry. Therefore, you can expect more of them in the future. What bothers most players is that in-game ads are like a virus. Without moderation or control, they will eventually infect the entire industry. But we’ll never know unless we experience it on our Xbox Playstation. So for more updates and news regarding the in-game ads, stay tuned here at PlayPC.