Microsoft and Sony Set to Include Ads in Free Games

In an era in which advertising is everywhere, video game companies are starting to look for ways to implement ads in our favorite free games. As such, Microsoft and Sony are thinking of implementing ads in their free games in order to get more benefits out of them.

Microsoft and Sony Set to Include Ads in Their Free GamesVideo games have been around for some time, but they have somehow escaped the advertisement overload that other sectors live. However, this can change in the near future; as Microsoft and Sony supposedly intend to include ads in free games. Apparently, both companies intend to introduce the changes for the last quarter of the year and want to make in-game ads normal.

The news were reported by Insider; which first published a report on Microsoft’s intentions and then revealed another one about Sony. However, in said reports, they also explained that both companies are using different techniques in the process.

Microsoft’s plan: background ads in free XBOX games

This is not the first time that Microsoft has introduced ads in video games. Their now extinct ad company, Massive Inc., stroke a deal with EA to introduce ads in their games in the late 2000s. This deal allowed companies to introduce their ads in games like Nascar, NHL, Madden NFL, or even Saints Row 2.

Microsoft let companies like Netflix advertise themselves in different games such as Saints Row 2

Microsoft let companies like Netflix advertise themselves in different games such as Saints Row 2

However, this time around, Microsoft is being more careful on the ad implementation, as they don’t want to upset players. Firstly, they will put ads in free games, not in games that cost up to 60$ to the player. Also, they are planning to implement advertisements that allegedly won’t disrupt gaming. For example, they would introduce ads on billboards on racing cars or sports games. Furthermore, they would build a special, closed market to sell the rights of the advertising. And, in said market, they would only accept certain brands which would fulfill their requirements.

Insider sources also disclosed that Microsoft doesn’t want to get money from these adverts. They would let the game developer and advertiser share benefits, as their main objective is to attract more free-game developers. Lastly, the sources disclosed that Microsoft won’t use user data (either from Bing or XBOX) to include personalized ads in-game. So it seems the company will take all kinds of precautions to please ad companies and players alike.

Sony’s plan: advertisement expanded 

Right now, Sony’s advertisement options only include in-menu ads, which may appear on the PS4 dashboard or different apps. However, both options are easily overseen and the dashboard ads can even be disabled. This is one of the big reasons to introduce more ads into their products. Yet, it is not the only one, as they share one objective with Microsoft: to attract more free-game developers. Both companies noticed the rise in popularity of these games and want to capitalize on them. As such, by putting ads in free games, they attract more developers, which in turn attracts a bigger player base. All in all, they are looking to have a bigger audience to sell products to.

The Japanese company doesn’t have Microsoft’s experience, but they intend to be just as careful. Supposedly, they are taking a very similar approach to Microsoft’s:

  1. Sony wants to make ads feel natural in-game 
  2. They are being very strict when selecting advertising companies
  3. They don’t want to collect players’ personal information

Nonetheless, Insider reported that the project started shaping 18 months ago. Reportedly, Sony is now in contact with various companies to implement the project in late 2022. Yet, it may be postponed due to the users’ reactions.

Backlash and the near future

Even if both companies are trying to be careful and “take it slow”, the gaming community has already shared their thoughts on the matter, and they are not thrilled. The situation is not promising for most players, which 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.

Sony’s plans to run in-game ads seem real bad

(Video by Inside Gaming)

Neither Microsoft nor Sony have released official statements to address the situation, but they might have to do so in the near future. Until then, players will most likely continue expressing their ideas and concerns, but they have a very clear view of what they want. And they don’t want a future of games full of ads. Both gaming giants also have their intentions clear, but they will have a hard time trying to convince players this is a good move. we’ll have to wait and see how they manage to do it.

Source: cover image by Arjun Krishna Lal, Saints Row 2 Netflix image ad by Pedro Vera 



  1. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha lol

  2. i don’t know how to feel about this… great article, very useful information 😉


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