Microsoft wants ads in Xbox games but only the free-to-play ones

Advertisements could start popping up in select Xbox games, but Microsoft is apparently wary of irritating players.

Remember when both EA and 2K Games put advertisements in their UFC 4 and NBA 2K21 games, respectively, and got a lot of flak for it? Well, it sounds like Microsoft is planning on doing the same thing.

Although the company itself has not confirmed any such plans, anonymous sources claim it’s working on an ad system for specific Xbox games. Furthermore, the company aims to have it up and running by the third quarter of this year, so somewhere between July and September.

Unlike the EA and 2K examples, however, these ads will only appear in free-to-play games and will take the form of things like billboards. As opposed to the kind of pop-up ads you see in mobile games.

These decisions seem to indicate that Microsoft is aware that such a scheme would be received negatively by players and is taking steps to avoid any backlash.

Microsoft apparently aims to cultivate a private marketplace for specific brands, while also ensuring the ads won’t disrupt a player’s experience. It also won’t collect data from Xbox users in order to create targeted ads.

Apparently, Microsoft won’t even take a cut of any ad revenue. That will instead be split between the advertising company and the game developers. For the time being, it’s unknown how else these in-game ads will appear.

While players are unlikely to be thrilled with this information, this sort of practice isn’t new. Plenty of games in the past have included advertisements, tie-in promotions, and product placement.

For example, the original Alan Wake advertised Energizer batteries by having them power Alan’s flashlight. Although these and other ads were removed in the 2021 remaster.

In a statement to Business Insider, Microsoft said only: ‘We are always looking for ways to improve the experience for players and developers but we don’t have anything further to share.’

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