PlayStation said, “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.”
You might’ve seen a few days ago that Xbox has a plan in the works to build an advertising program dedicated to putting ads in free-to-play games. It’s stated that this program will work to do so in a way that won’t ‘irritate’ gamers, with all signs pointing to the use of in-game billboards.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen ads in free-to-play games. It’s not even the first time we’ve seen billboards for real-life products showing up in video games. However, Xbox does seem to be the first of the big three to be working on a dedicated program to bring ads into free-to-play games as a platform-side revenue stream.
However, it doesn’t look like they’ll be the last.
According to Business Insider, Sony is working on a platform-side ad server plan similar to that of Xbox. This news reportedly comes from ‘three people involved in the plans’, who said Sony is doing ‘testing with adtech partners to help game developers create in-game ads through a software developer program’.
It seems that both companies are looking to make the process of displaying ads in free-to-play as easy as possible for devs. If the tech is simple, broadly compatible, and ready to be turned on, developers and publishers will be more likely to embrace it. All that remains after that is the haggling over revenue percentages.
Of course, we wouldn’t be seeing billboards like the one in the hero image in this article. It also sounds like Sony will be fairly strict in terms of who it allows to advertise on its platform, with one of Business Insider’s sources stating that Sony’s ‘being strict about vetting adtech companies, ruling out collection of personal information like emails or names’.
I’m of the personal opinion that a billboard is pretty harmless in a game, as you can kinda just look somewhere else and it’s not there anymore. Your mileage may vary.
On the other hand, only time will tell as to whether or not they’ll decide for the potential ads in PlayStation games to be all up in your face. According to Business Insider, the program is expected to launch ‘before the end of the year’.