Advertising is relatively rare in video games, outside the obvious inclusions like hoardings in sports titles and crossovers like the kind you see in Fortnite. But it appears Sony is cooking up technology to add a unified advertising system to free-to-play games, perhaps similar to what you see in many mobile releases right now.
Business Insider (paywall) reports that the PlayStation maker, much like Microsoft, is experimenting with technology that will inject in-game ads into supported titles. “The idea is to encourage developers to keep building free-to-play games, which have soared in the pandemic, by giving them a way to monetise them,” three sources familiar with the plans told the website.
The article continues that the goal is for advertising to appear like it’s part of the game itself, as part of billboards or posters, for example. There could also be rewards attached to watching specific promos, such as XP boosts or in-game currency – again, similar to what you see on smartphones. Worryingly, there’s also word that Sony is considering charging developers and publishers for data on consumer activity.
Apparently, PlayStation has been cooking this concept for a while, and while nothing has been put in place yet, it’s clearly an untapped area that console manufacturers are eager to exploit. Of course, it’s not the first time the company has experimented with something like this: WipEout HD was roundly criticised on the PS3 for briefly adding commercials to its loading screens.