Fortunately, the company doesn’t want to go down the mobile gaming route and will keep things relatively tame in comparison.
As far as advertising goes, video games have it pretty easy; it’s entirely possible to play a game from start to finish without seeing one. However, that may soon change as Microsoft is thinking about adding advertisements to Xbox games.
The Possibility of Ads in Xbox Games
Neowin spotted an article over at Business Insider (article behind paywall) that states that the tech giant is very interested in adding advertisements into games. Microsoft is currently on the hunt for advertisement companies that can help make its dream a reality.
If you’ve spent any time playing a free game on a mobile device, the concept of “ads in games” may dredge up nasty memories of full-screen ads that tear you away from the game. However, Microsoft doesn’t want to drag the player away from their game to show them an advertisement.
Instead, the company wants to place advertisements within the game itself. The example given in the source article was an in-world billboard that companies can pay to have their products displayed on. As such, it’ll be a relatively unintrusive form of marketing, and some may even argue that it will heighten immersion.
However, to serve those advertisements to players, Microsoft first needs games that support such a plan under its belt. As such, it’s currently looking at including more games in its library that allow this technology already, as well as encouraging developers to think about how they can include these ads in their games.
A Potential New Revenue Stream for Free-to-Play Games?
As Neowin notes, advertisements are no strangers to Xbox players. Currently, companies can display ads on the Xbox dashboard, and players currently seem pretty unvexed about them.
However, Neowin also mentions that it believes that Microsoft will trial this technology in free-to-play games. It makes a ton of sense; if the company targeted paid games, players may cause an uproar about being shown ads in the content they’ve already paid for. This problem quickly dissipates if the player spent nothing to play it in the first place.
And given how Microsoft doesn’t want to go down the route of hijacking gameplay to show off marketing material, there’s a very real chance that gamers won’t even notice they’re being advertised to. In-game billboards that once displayed ads for fake companies will now have the real deal on them, and they may be received as naturally as a billboard in real life.
Will Microsoft Add Ads to Xbox Games?
At the moment, Microsoft hasn’t announced that it is going through with this plan, so it may still fall through. However, if things go Microsoft’s way, it may not be long until those fake ads in video game worlds show you things you can actually buy.