Advertising is relatively rare in video games, outside the obvious inclusions like hoardings in sports titles and crossovers like the kind you see in Fortnite. But it appears Sony is cooking up technology to add a unified advertising system to free-to-play games, perhaps similar to what you see in many mobile releases right now.
Business Insider (paywall) reports that the PlayStation maker, much like Microsoft, is experimenting with technology that will inject in-game ads into supported titles. “The idea is to encourage developers to keep building free-to-play games, which have soared in the pandemic, by giving them a way to monetise them,” three sources familiar with the plans told the website.
The article continues that the goal is for advertising to appear like it’s part of the game itself, as part of billboards or posters, for example. There could also be rewards attached to watching specific promos, such as XP boosts or in-game currency – again, similar to what you see on smartphones. Worryingly, there’s also word that Sony is considering charging developers and publishers for data on consumer activity.
Apparently, PlayStation has been cooking this concept for a while, and while nothing has been put in place yet, it’s clearly an untapped area that console manufacturers are eager to exploit. Of course, it’s not the first time the company has experimented with something like this: WipEout HD was roundly criticised on the PS3 for briefly adding commercials to its loading screens.
Gross. Didn’t EA try this in their UFC game and it massively backfired?
No Sony, BAD SONY! 🗞️🐶.
Don't copy Microsoft even more.
If this turns out real then I will just not play any free to play games any more, simple.
I can imagine an ad powered Elden Ring:
"You don't have any stamina left, watch a 30 second video to refill your stamina"
I like it when I buy a game, don't have to download a huge day one patch and don't have BS like microtransactions or ads in my game.
Maybe publishers/developers should try doing that more often
@Rhaoulos Worth noting the article is very specifically referring to free-to-play games. So no plans for ads in Elden Ring (yet).
Oooooooo… this is why you have to be so careful about your vitriol and boasting on the likes of twitter… let’s seen if those jumping on Xbox for suggesting this keep that same energy now…or move the ever moving goalposts…
I’ll keep my same energy. Long as it’s kept f2p and keeps within the world the game is trying to create (no ads for McDonald’s or whatever popping up in a medieval fantasy) I don’t mind it too much as parts of billboards. If it gets intrusive though…as in we start seeing actual ad breaks within games then forget that. Rocket league billboards I can see jumping on this…like they already do with their micro transactions.
I think the line gets blurred more when it inevitably crosses over to £70 games. And then how many of us are going to complain about driving passed a McDonald’s in gta6?
If they put it in writing and it can't be backtracked to other types of games, then I'd be fine with this.
But I highly doubt it, this smells like a slippery slope to me...
I made this point on Reddit the other day and got a ton of abuse. They're saying "but it's just free to play."
Yeah, for now.
Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. Just like we all thought MTX's weren't a big deal when they started and got out of control, this will too and slowly creep its way into full priced games when people become more accepting/used to them.
Watch a promotion for a Reward like an XP boost? eww disgusting keep that garbage off the PlayStation Platform please.
@GADG3Tx87 Reddit? people still use that trashy website do they? oh ok. Don't know why people bother tbh, the Community is terrible and the Moderators don't have a clue how to Moderate the site.
It kind of depends if you could customize the ads so that you don't see products you hate or just stuff that isn't appropriate for you.
Oh oooh, I think we all saw this coming tbh
I am confused. Don't most f2p games come jampacked with microtransactions? That would mean they already have a way to monetize their games. This seems like more greedy corpo talk. Surely if they add ads into the games, they will remove all MTs, right? RIGHT? lol
The selling of the data is the only really new thing here (assuming they aren't already doing that, which I'd find surprising). Sports games have had in-game billboard ads for years. I was playing MXGP2 the other week, they really want me to buy Monster energy drink and whatever ipone is (I'm guessing some kind of knockoff iphone).
@RubyCarbuncle There’s different mods for each subreddit. It really depends on the specific subreddit.
@nessisonett Yeah I actually have an account on there but I haven't used it in years as I just didn't find it a very pleasant place. Perhaps it's better now though but still I would be quite wary of it.
This is a big no thanks for me. As much as I love Street Fighter V I remember when Capcom tried to put in ads on character skins for a bit. Thankfully you could simply turn it off completely but seeing Ryu sporting a karate gi with Red Bull logos plastered all over it is an image I never want to see again!😂
@nessisonett Yes, but UFC was $60 bucks and both Sony and Microsoft only plan to have ads on F2P games.
Yeah, well I, for one, can’t wait for this “experiment” to fail.
Ah [email protected]! I was pretty dismissive of MS announcing their adds the other day and its no different from Sony - we don't need or want these. Its the thin end of the wedge and its important to let them know now.
Not that it will make much difference - they will do what they see fit.... <grumble grumble>
Aren't free to play games already making more money than other types of games? Do Fortnite and Genshin Impact really need this? Or is it Sony who feels like they're not making enough from them...
Yeah, I know. But I tend to stay away from all other kind of social media. FaceBook, Twitter, left those years ago. One is full of nosy people and the other is a cess pit full of the worst kind of 'humans' you could possibly meet.
I even try to limit my presence on gaming forums just because people can be far too opinionated if you dare say anything against their favourite game or platform, then you're automatically branded a 'fanboy'.
But yeah, Reddit is too full of A-*****
I hate the internet these days.
I think most communities on the net descend into anarchy eventually - I do share your disdain of a lot of the communities on reddit.
BUT, its also a place that stores a TON of useful info, so you can get a lot of good stuff from that site as long as you are careful where you look. Like yourself, I tend to stay away from actual participation, but I've heard some sub-reddits are run very well and as such are good communities, but I cant speak with personal experience of such!
Its rare for me to play free to play titles so I guess I cant moan too much, but I fear this is the beginning of a new wave of monetisation that I fear may skew a games design. I feel like the old man I am for saying it, but I just want to pay full price for a game I want to play, and experience it all with no other monetisation. I have a feeling that will be a rare thing in the years to come
Well that's gross. Tell you what i will take the Ads if it meant no MTX's but we all know that won't happen.
So, the ads are gonna replace microtransactions now...right? Right?
@GADG3Tx87 Definitely can't argue with that. I recently deactivated my Facebook account because I just couldn't stand the place anymore and ever since I left I'm actually a lot happier.
It's horrible that Microsoft's doing it but also horrible that Sony's following Microsoft to do the same. Times like these make me wonder how gaming would've unfolded around a decade ago if instead of Sony at E3 2013 humiliating Microsoft for Don Mattrick's XB1 vision, they decided to reveal a similar vision for PS4 instead. Would the Wii U have become the most successful console of all time?
this is disgusting , gaming needs an enema from all these corporate empty suits , JIM RYAN
@RubyCarbuncle The Elden Ring sub reddit right now is pretty wholesome and friendly. No Man's Sky's sub reddit is one of the most friendly and welcoming places on the planet in my opinion. I get your point and yes many are toxic but there are many gems on Reddit as well.
This is a disgusting kind of behavior that has the stink of Jim Ryan all over the place. Hoping it massively backfires as it should.
@UltimateOtaku91 they got away with adding smartphone-like microtransactions in full priced games. It's only a matter of time
If there is a choice between a product placement ad and predatory Microtransaction practices then I’ll pick ads every time. Especially if it is integrated into the game in a way that isn’t distracting. Meaning brands that are relevant to the setting.
It’s been done in Japanese games quite a bit. Certain brands in FFXV spring to mind.
No thanks Sony
@nessisonett why gross? Why not allow devs to monetise games. F2P games are filled with Microtransactions, why not change that to ad watching as alternative to players. Or mainly ads in background. Play EA F2P football game and all boards around field has ads on them. Do some racing and again big bilboards on side of road is filled with real life brands. It is not so bad idea to create F2P games if all those ads are mostly in background.
@Bleachedsmiles there will not be any real life brands in GTA series ever. No brand is ready to be blown up in games. Same as in GT7 no car gets scratched at any point of game.
Advertising is only good when it suits people. Gran Turismo and Forza are walking (driving?) adverts. Unless you want to do the Burnout or MotorStorm thing of having fictional cars. I've lost count of the number of people I've seen using a specific car in games because "it's my favourite car".
But at the same time, in a game like NBA, you don't expect players to be playing in fictional gear, like Nuke or Dadidas, so a touch of product placement isn't terrible, unless it's egregious and takes you out of the world.
@GADG3Tx87 and why MTX spiraled out of control? Because people are buying them. People are voting with wallets anyway.
The problem with ads is they are near worthless unless "targeted" and that means collecting and dealing in your data. I'm not a free to play gamer. But if they are going to offer targeted ads they will need to build you profile before you enter the game so data collection for all of us. I'm not sure they can build the kind of valuable profile info that SM/PC/Mobile companies can just off your console activity so I would imagine this will come with a push to mobile. None of this leaves me feeling warm inside. While income and valuations have never been higher for gaming companies this means those same companies will be pushed by investors into ever grubbier practices to justify those sky high valuations.
Don’t know how people can say that Sony is “following” Microsoft in this. Both stories came out days apart. These things obviously have been in the works for a while. If it sticks to F2P and maybe helps more things be free instead of micro transactions, it might not entirely be a bad thing.
Hopefully enough backlash gets Sony to change course but sadly don’t see that happening.
No, just no... even if it's "just" f2p. Once you open that possibility up a little, the flood will come.
I'm ok with ads as long as they are in the background, if it's anything like a popup or a YouTube ad then I wouldn't bother playing the game. I would have to resort to hacking games in retaliation.
Remember this comment when it spirals out of control, because it will. When it becomes accepted in small unobtrusive ways to begin with they'll see how far they can push us. That's how these things work, greed will get the better of them.
Like MTX's were once very small 0.99 accessories and skins and such, now you can pay £39.99 for a car or content that is removed and sold back to us for the sake of capitalism. How is £39.99 considered a 'microtransaction?' that's the price full games used to cost.
People can't 'vote with their wallet' if a majority support/accept it. Don't give them the benefit of the doubt.
Sony are losing my respect more and more every day. Next there will be ads on the ps5 home screen.
Its sad what's happened in gaming within the last 15 years. Microtransactions, season pass, on disc dlc, free to play, loot boxes, nfts and now ads are going to be the next money making scheme. This won't be restricted to free to play forever, it's just them testing the waters.
How far we have fallen from the glory days of the 90s-2000s
Some day that practice will leak into subscription rental ‘service’. Maybe when more and more people give up on owning a retail disc and rely on the internet servers 100% and the publishers with hold them by the b.
The future of gaming people.
Or maybe don’t go that route. Just an idea
F2P game's already host tons of microtransactions, adding Ads to the mix just show's you the greed these publishers will go too.
I share your sentiment that Sony are losing my respect/trust. The current management are turning it into something disgusting. The PlayStation of today seems like a completely different platform all together from the PS1 and PS2.
I was speaking to my brother earlier about buying a Series X and going back to Xbox as I dislike the current direction under Jim and co.
Even though they can both be as bad as each other and popularity can change any platform. And even though I have my PS5 I fear for its current direction. Although at the moment that goes for gaming in general. The future is not so bright. Thankfully there is still the past.
Does xbox still have ads on its dashboard? I know they tried doing that. Im supprised sony never tried that either, even tho i have there promos set to off the ps store ads still find there way on the dashboard. Companies will find new ways to make a extra bit of money, all thanks to online alot of dodgy practices have crept in.
@GADG3Tx87 but world is changing. I got there is mostly negative opinion about that. But this monetasition is great for indie companies, but ofcourse big names will use it full on. And lets be real, world is getting only more expensive. This years inflation is 10%, next year will be same. From MTX platforms takes big chunks too. Sony NMicrosoft stores 30%, if there is VAT, another 20%. Games gets only bigger and more expensive to create. More expensive to maintain big companies. World wil always change. And people mostly dislike changes
I do get what you're saying but can you honestly say that £39.99 is justified for an in-game car? Or £11.99 for a couple of characters in a Lego game that could have already been there while charging £50 per copy?
They are trying to push it too far. I get they need to make money but I mean seriously, those are not 'microtransactions'.
How far will they take this advertising? First billboards? Then loading screens, maybe even like YouTube where it plays prior to the start screen or during a kill cam on death? How far will they go?
And what if it becomes internet based 'targeted ads' like Google Chrome? That means they'll be collecting personal data from their users affecting privacy.
Just some possible scenarios, you just never know.
@GADG3Tx87 I agree, I am not happy with the direction they are going in. Completely understand it's subjective and some people like it but it's not for me.
I've been contemplating getting a series x too and just go through their exclusives as I haven't played most of them
I've no problem with games that have product placement in them, free or otherwise, if they don't interrupt gameplay. Having to stop gameplay to watch an advert is different, though. If it's a free game and the ads are short and well-spaced, I don't see a problem. I'd give it a spin, devs have to make money somehow.
There's a limit, though. 10+ second ads every few minutes, which I see in a lot of mobile games, is just too frustrating. Games like that don't stay on my phone after a few plays. I'd not bother installing them at all on a console.
@nessisonett 2K did that with NBA 2K too
@HotGoomba exactly how I feel
Free to play is already an earning money scheme when one does is correct. So to add more revenue trough adds in it could put people off and make them loose money. It's a stupid idea.
I wouldn't mind if it was like IRL where it's just billboards, like in a racing game where you wouldn't even have the time to notice them.
But we all know too well corporate greed, they will go further.
Relatively hostile pass.
@get2sammyb I was just thinking of the worst way to implement ads in a game. Although they could make free versions of existing games. It happened a lot on mobile over the last decade. I just hope it won't be the main business model on console in the future.
They should have ads in free games and ditch the microtransactions and save parents money the world over.
OK listen, don't use Pepsiman in the thumbnail if you're not going to have Pepsiman in the article. That's all I'm going to say about this topic.
Hey! Look. I am also about to complain about these too!
You get what you don't pay for I guess.
Are they going to be that Hub that starts with a P ads? I can manage those.
So after MS Sony is going for it hey dont you love the new gaming industry.
@anoyonmus Really in full priced game?
Why do they have to put ads in the games?
To please who?
@Flaming_Kaiser yeah they did
@Bleachedsmiles I'd love to see a McDonald's in gta6. I'd order the big tasty if it's available, bloody timed offers annoying my real and virtual life now
@Anti-Matter 🤣🤣amazing comment
@REALAIS "people are voting with their wallets"
You do understand the concept of a "whale" right?
@UltimateOtaku91 same. Personally I cannot stand ads, it’s one of the reason why I never watch TV, only stream.
@Richnj then you can blame whales. Companies sees numbers, they dont care who individual is buying or not. As higher it goes as less personal it goes.
I hope when those ads comes it will not lag the video games.
@Deljo Yeah something that adds an authenticity within the world the developers have created i’d, and I think most here, would have no problem with. But it’s a fine line that will ever try to be crossed.
It’s already been crossed… let’s not all forget probably one of the more recent examples of in your face product placement for monster energy drinks in Death stranding. Added nothing to the world kojima built. Nobody here is disgusted by kojima or Sony placing product placement adverts in a game they’ve asked you to buy twice so far…
Ads had better NEVER, EVER come to regular games that we pay for. If they do, I suspect there would be a mass exodus of people from the hobby...and I say right here and now I would be one of them.
Don't play with fire, Sony.
In some games, ones attempting to emulate real life like sports and cities, bill board ads seem relatively harmless, could even argue they add to the realism. Playing retro games, its kind of nostalgic seeing billboard ads for companies that sometimes don't even exist any more.
But yeah, it's a slippery slope, as youtube and facebook are proving. I've always tried tolerating their adverts, but if you tolerate it they apparantly see that as a reason to push even more on you. There is definately a constant and deliberate attempt to see how much you are currently prepared to tolerate with those two.
@Flaming_Kaiser this isn’t new to gaming. We used to get games brought to us by products. Ps1 era had the likes of Pepsi man. 360 I remember f2p games sponsored by Doritos.
EA attempted to place ads in fight night at one stage…selling ad space on the ring.
PS3 exclusive infamous apparently has subway in it.
Sony PS4 exclusive death stranding had monster energy drinks advertising in it…and then they charged £70 again for death stranding directors cut that has Monster energy drink advertising still advertising in it. So let’s not put this all on MS just cause they introduced you to an old idea…if anything they’re falling behind.
If there’s a way to make money people will try and make it. How intrusive these ads will become we’ll have to wait and see. If they get out of control hopefully people will vote with their wallets and not blindly make excuses for them.
@REALAIS I dunno… i really would t be surprised. Money talks…and you don’t get much more of a money maker than gta.
The Getaway had McDonald’s, Burger King, and everything else you can mention. I don’t know about blowing up (you can’t blow up buildings in gta now), but I’m presuming you can shoot at these buildings or smash into them with cars etc.
Also, Forza has allowed scratches on licenced cars since the beginning I think.
@RubyCarbuncle Excellent. I use it to talk to my family in another state, but it offers nothing but abuse at its core.
Speaking of abuse, this development sucks. I don’t play f2p, but as has been mentioned, it will definitely creep.
@Bleachedsmiles Who is blaming MS i saw a article yesterday on the topic that MS is going to put that in F2P games.
And another thing the companies now are companies i just dont trust they are bigger and are more influential with lobbies and insane amounts of cash.
@anoyonmus Companies have no shame especially the ones with the sports fans they will take everything.
@Flaming_Kaiser Doesn’t matter how big a company is or how much money they have…when there’s backlash it can still change things if there’s a risk to future earnings.
We’ve seen that recently with GT7. With Xbox live gold.
We saw it with the Xbox one. And back in the day when online used to come with a one time use code. And further back when EA used to charge money for cheat codes.
People just need to vote with their wallet. Unfortunately some are too eager to allow excuses…which is why we’re paying £70 for ps5 games and £10 for upgrades on this side. So who knows how this whole ad thing will play out on one platform compared to the other. They’ll all listen and react the if people shout loud enough…that’s been proven.
so there already making money with microtransactions but nope thats not enough got to make even more money with ads
the greed is disgusting
Defeat the hidden boss for a chance to win a $5 giftcard at taco 🔔. Stay totally immersed in the game.
@GADG3Tx87 it actually sounds nothing like microsofts spin.
The fact there is the sony makes money out of these ads confuses me seeing as ad revenue should go towards the developers of said title.
Where does the greed end. Nft block chains, ads in free games, increased pricing.
My phone bill/internet, energy, mobile phone have seen a price hike recently. My wages went up 50p per hour. Lifes becoming a joke.
Let's go back to the good old days, the times before we'd get ads in even full-priced games, not just F2P...
@GADG3Tx87 "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile."
Well said, came here to comment this exactly, it's a slippery slope. It starts with F2P and then wheedles it's way into other paid titles.
@RubyCarbuncle Agree Reddit comment sections are usually toxic and gross BUT it's still usually one of the fastest and easiest places to get news on topics you care about. (Often Twitter is first but more difficult to follow those topics). You just have to steer well clear of the comments.
@AtlanteanMan Games have had ads in for decades. Not only is there the example above of MGS3 advertising Calorie Mates, but also Mountain Dew in another MGS games - plus examples others have pointed out like Monster in Death Stranding, and Subway items in Uncharted.
I hate ads but it's odd to see an article like this where they ignore the countless examples that have been around for probably the entire lifespan or more of the writing staff. Guess it's kind of like hiding in plain sight. Then the posters saying "one day it'll come to paid titles!" even though it's been in paid titles since the 80s.
It sounds exactly the same as Microsoft. Both wanting and announcing ads in f2p games on their platforms. Do you really think Microsoft wouldn't be making money out of it? They're a corporation, it won't be out of the goodness of their hearts there'd have to be something in it for them.
If you're against one you're against both. What's good for the Goose is good for the gander.
This is not a 'Microsoft good, Sony evil!' mentality that people try to throw around.
@REALAIS My problem with this is that by constantly trying to blame the consumers, you are doing a lot of dismissing of the actual behaviour of companies.
They put a lot of money, time, and effort in to targeting and conditioning players that will spend more money than that person would otherwise.
Trying to say "they just see numbers" Ignores the effort they go to to get those numbers.
Whales didn't just become the defacto customer, companies identified them as prime money spenders and catered their games for them. And that's how you end up with GT7.
No thank you. just keep it away from paid games (and PS+ games)
Nope, don't want it. You already take enough of my user data, don't want it used for advertising.
I am happy using micro transactions for F2P games occasionally.
Never okay with adverts in game if it doesn't make sense.
As long as it only applies to free to play games, I'm unbothered. If it transitions to paid for games, I'll vote with my wallet decisively.
Doesn't bother me. Games have been full of ads for years. Games like Splinter Cell Chaos Theory had built in ads from AMD and Lynx/Axe. They make it no less a great game.
Too much money and too much greed in video games world. Soon you’ll have to purchase + subscribe + watch ads + mine bitcoins + supply electricity from your roof + pay gaming taxes + hire a lawyer (just in case) if you want to play the complete version of any AAA game. Just like Videotapes an CD business until Netflix and Spotify arrived and killed it alltoghether. That’s what happens when you abuse of users.
I’m not opposed to product advertisement being part of the gameplay, so long as it’s not intrusive. Death Stranding comes to mind with the energy drinks and ads for Norman Reedus’s TV show. It’s not that big of a deal and if it keeps the cost of games down, I don’t mind. Movies have been doing it for years with product placement during the movie. If I see a Billboard for McDonald’s or something while swinging through NYC as Miles Morales I can live with that. Just don’t let it become a slippery slope.
@Matroska I wasn't referring to in-game billboards; I'm referring to the same type of ads that interrupt your Youtube and other media online. Imagine companies sneaking that crap into "loading screens" that otherwise wouldn't be necessary but which you either have to sit through or simply lose interest and turn the game off in frustration.
If they want to insert that garbage into F2P games, have at 'em because I never touch that stuff anyway. But if they EVER do it with games I've legally paid for, I'm done with the hobby.
As long as the ads are just on billboards and the like I don't care, but if one starts playing randomly in-game I will be furious.
The bad thing is that even if you pay full price for the game you're still going to see the ads and they will act like it was a glitch.
Needs nipping in the bud now before they even try it. Consumers will only take so much, then they'll stop buying their products... Netflix is learning the hard way.
Gaming is a form of escapism... Do we really need reminding of the real world when all we're interested in at that moment is enjoying playing in our favourite world's?
I don't want a coke advert popping up while I'm playing HFW.... FFS, it'll spoil the ***** game.
@KidBoruto same here...it'll ruin the atmosphere in the game. They really are morons
@GADG3Tx87 if I could get my PS3 fixed, I'd be playing the many decent games on there if they started to take the pi*s with these ads
@Pat_trick I notice how Sony have started going down this route as soon as he was appointed. Maybe just a coincidence
Will you be paying in cash or using an Ad Buddy?
@Steve30000 By his behavior I doubt it's just a coincidence.
Don't know him as a person, but as a CEO I thoroughly dislike him.
Sony would love your ideas. Give Jim a call
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