According to a report, Microsoft plans-to-bring-ads-to-free-to-play-Xbox games and is currently evaluating ad tech companies that could help manage the new in-game ad inventory and work with ad agencies. The purported move would allow developers working on free games to sell ad space. It would also be likely to help Microsoft attract more developers to build new free-to-play games for Xbox, as they would get ad revenue through the new model.
Citing two people familiar with the development, Insider reports that Microsoft is working on a way to allow advertisers to place ads within free-to-play Xbox games. The ads are said to be aimed at not disrupting the user experience and would show up as, for instance, digitally rendered billboards in a car racing game.
Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Bring Ads to Free-to-Play Xbox would offer other types of in-game ad units, such as avatar skins and video ads. However, the report suggests that the ability to serve ads through free-to-play Xbox games could go live as early as the third quarter of 2022.
MicMicrosoft Reportedly Plans to Bring Ads to Free-to-Play Xbox is said to have no plans to take a cut of ad revenue from this model, though the purpose of the new ads seems to be making the Xbox platform more appealing to advertisers.
Ad revenue will be shared by game developers and adtech companies placing ads in free-to-play games, sources said.
Initial talks to build an in-game Xbox ad network are said to have started around 2018 or 2019, though the process reportedly accelerated in recent months thanks to the launch of the latest Xbox models — Xbox Series S and Series X — and the growth of free-to-play titles on the platform.
One of the prime concerns that Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Bring Ads to Free-to-Play Xbox is said to have about this program is the potential for gameplay disruption. The company is said to want to pick only select brands that would be able to place ads in free games, according to the sources cited by Insider. The Redmond company is also said to want to allow its chosen brands to work through a “private marketplace” that is not likely to be available to all advertisers, at least initially.
Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Bring Ads to Free-to-Play Xbox also reportedly has no intention of letting advertisers use the data it collects from searches on Bing and behavior on its websites and software to target Xbox gamers.
Exact details about whether Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Bring Ads to Free-to-Play Xbox has already pitched the new Xbox ad offering to advertisers are yet to be revealed. Microsoft also did not confirm its plans in a statement given to Insider on the matter.
“We are always looking for ways to improve the experience for players and developers but we don’t have anything further to share,” the company said, according to the report.
Microsoft plans-to-bring-ads-to-free-to-play-Xbox games
Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Bring Ads to Free-to-Play Xbox recently acquired Activision Blizzard, which has a native ad network, and ad tech platform Xandr. Those two companies’ assets are likely to help it kick off the new program and bring new ad revenue models to Xbox over time.
The concept of showing ads within games is not new. Companies in the past have attempted this even in paid games. However, Microsoft’s approach seems to be aimed at attracting developers to create more free games by natively supporting in-game ads from specific brands.