Sony has reportedly begun developing a system of advertising within free-to-play games, according to a report by Business Insider (opens in new tab). In-game ads are expected to launch on games that are free to download and play from Sony's PlayStation Store, and will act as a way for developers to monetise their work and encourage them to create more free-to-play titles.
These ads wouldn't necessarily come in the form of pop-ups or un-skippable videos, but instead exist within the game's world; think billboards or posters within the game's environment that gamers will encounter during their playtime. However, there is the possibility for more overt forms of advertising according to Insider, with the option for gamers to watch advertisements in exchange for in-game rewards. This is a system that many free-to-play mobile titles have been using for some time. Sony is reportedly looking to feature advertisements within PlayStation 5 titles before the end of this year.
It's worth noting that Microsoft is also apparently looking to add in-game advertising to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S titles before the end of this year. Microsoft appears to not be taking any revenue from in-game advertisement, whereas Sony remains undecided, according to Insider's sources.
The Insider report notes that some advertisers may need convincing to join this scheme as they may be unwilling to advertise in games that feature violence, as well as the fact it can be hard to track interactions with these ads within games if they remain passive. On the other side, Microsoft remains cautious that in-game ads may annoy gamers and put them off playing free-to-play titles.
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