Microsoft wants to make it possible to put ads in Xbox games. Insider reported on the development last week. The outlet says that Microsoft is currently evaluating ad tech partners to help provide in-game ad placements.
You might see ads in Xbox games as soon as this year
The system will allow developers to put ads in Xbox games that are free-to-play. As such, it could provide an additional means of monetization for those developers. Insider’s sources say that the advertisements won’t disrupt gameplay. One example the sources provided was an in-game billboard in a racing game.
While sources say that Microsoft is working on this feature, the company itself did not confirm them when Insider reached out. Instead, it said that it is “always looking for ways to improve the experience for players and developers.” However, at that time, the company didn’t “have anything further to share.”
So, it isn’t exactly a no. Insider says it was unable to confirm from sources whether ads in Xbox games would be available as skins or video ads. The outlet also was not able to determine if Microsoft has even pitched the idea to advertisers just yet.
The gaming ad conundrum
While ads in mobile games are very common, the same is rare for console games. As such, seeing anything about Microsoft’s plans to put ads in Xbox games might be concerning to players. This is especially true if Microsoft adds video ads to game lobbies or other areas that “disrupt” gameplay somehow.
Currently, Xbox allows advertisers to purchase ad spots on the Xbox dashboard. And, certain games allow them to purchase ads in-game. However, the widespread use of ads in Xbox games is not something you see every day. If Microsoft is in fact working on a system that lets it advertise inside of games, we could see a drastic change to how free-to-play gaming on consoles works.
Ads in video games have always been a bit of a sore spot. Mostly because a lot of mobile games overdo the ad business. Instead of making ads something that integrates well into the game, they disrupt gameplay entirely. There are ways around this, like the example that Insider originally listed.
If Microsoft is truly working on putting ads in Xbox games, we can only hope that the company is doing it in an immersive manner.