Electronic Arts (EA) have denied reports that they are pursing in-game video adverts for PC and console games.
Axios reported that in-game advertising platform playerWON (owned by Simulmedia) launched the week of June 29th. This promises to allow “big-name marketers” who would typically create TV ads to “target younger demographics with similar types of spots that will run in video games.”
Much like mobile gaming ads, players will choose between watching 15 or 30 second advert sin exchange for “perks” such as in-game currency or skins. These adverts have been tested on console gaming for over a year, claiming that players were willing to watch up to 10 adverts a day for perks.
The research, conducted via Smite, also found that players were 22% more likely to play a game with in-game ads for rewards, and 11% more likely to spend money. Axios also notes a 2020 study by Morgan Stanley found that “reward-based console advertising” could be worth $2 billion USD if only 45% of gamers opted in.
Axios reported Simulmedia had made a deal with EA and Hi-Rez Studios. The later was cited to EVP, Gaming and OTT Dave Madden. Madden also noted that while free-to-play games have seen explosive growth, 90% of players never spend money on those games. Adverts from major brands, who would usually have to pay a larger amount for digital TV ads, have already been gathered and approved.
The adverts are planned to launch across a dozen games be the end of 2021. However, contrary to Axios’ report, EA will not be one of them.
PC Gamer updated their coverage on the story with a statement from an EA spokesperson, and that they had not made any such deal.
“Following incorrect reports suggesting that we are looking to introduce ‘TV-style’ commercials into our games, we wanted to clarify that in-game advertising for console games is not something we’re currently looking at, or have signed any agreements to implement. Creating the best possible player experience remains our priority focus.”
This is not the first time in recent weeks in-game advertising has been a talking point. Facebook announced they were testing in-game adverts for Oculus VR devices across a selection of titles. This would begin with Blaston by Resolution Games and “a couple other developers that will be rolling out over the coming weeks.”
Less than a week after it was implemented, Resolution Games have announced they were removing the in-game ad test. They explain after player feedback, it was clear the game was not “the best fit for this type of advertising.”
It seems that in-game adverts will be a tough sell for a while to come. In-Game adverts in NBA 2K21 and EA Sports UFC 4 were met with condemnation from their respective communities, with the latter being removed after “feedback” showed it was not welcome.
In 2012 Sony filed an infamous patent for in-game advertising; including needing to stand-up and shout out the product or brand’s name to skip the advert.