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Microsoft Reportedly Plans To Display Ads In Free-to-play Xbox Video Games

by Victoria Marian Belmis / Apr 18, 2022 02:02 PM EDT
Microsoft's 2018 E3 Conference

According to an Insider report, Microsoft is reportedly working on a program that will allow brands to display within free-to-play Xbox games. Sources familiar with the situation informed Insider that the ads wouldn't disrupt active gameplay.

Specific plans on how Microsoft will incorporate the ads are still unclear. They may show up as avatar skins for users or as videos inside game lobbies. Insider mentions that the company is working cautiously as Microsoft is reportedly concerned that the ads could potentially "irritate" players, and is intending on establishing a "private marketplace" to let only select brands into the program.

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"One of the sources speculated Microsoft isn't currently interested in collecting a cut of ad revenue because it wants to provide more money-making opportunities to developers who make free-to-play games," Business Insider said.

The company also won't use the data it collects from Bing and other services for targeted ads on Xbox, according to Insider's report. The outlet also doesn't know whether Microsoft has sailed the idea to advertisers yet, but its sources claim ads may start appearing on Xbox games as soon as later this year.

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"We are always looking for ways to improve the experience for players and developers but we don't have anything further to share," a Microsoft spokesperson said in their statement to Insider. 

Multiple video games have already tested featuring in-game advertisements on their platform since 2000. Recently, EA Games partnered with the Microsoft-owned advertising company Massive (now inoperational), letting companies place ads in games such as Madden NFL, Skate, NHL, and NASCAR franchises, as well as in Burnout Paradise. Players might have experienced seeing digital Obama ads plastered in digital sporting arenas or on billboards.

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