Last week, it was discovered that Microsoft is considering implementing advertisements within free-to-play games included in the Xbox Game Pass. The ads shown would be “natural” to the world, meaning in instances where one would expect to see billboards, and only certain brands would be chosen to be marketed. Reportedly, Microsoft will not take a cut from the advertising revenue made from the in-game ads, instead splitting it between the advertiser and game developer. This advertising program will be implemented as early as this summer.
Apparently, Sony is now also creating a similar strategy to market directly at gamers, supposedly ready to launch at the end of the year. According to Business Insider, Sony is encouraging developers to create free-to-play games so that this new advertising mechanic can be applied. By adding this mechanic, Sony could be able to draw profits from multiple avenues: advertisers, micro-transactions, and seasonal passes, much like Fortnite and other battle royale video games. Additionally, Sony is interested in rewarding players for watching in-game ads, like avatar skins and other in-game items.
Unlike Microsoft, Sony has not yet decided if the company will receive a portion of the advertising revenue generated from the in-game ads. As for what companies Sony would partner with, Sony is allegedly eliminating companies that gather personal information, like email addresses and names. Ironically, concerns are growing over how these companies would be able to determine the revenue generated without gathering personal information, like the purchasing history of gamers after seeing the in-game ad. This growing concern and outrage of personal information being monetized is best expressed by the increasing sentiment to make collecting personal information illegal. This sentiment is best epitomized by the popular reception towards John Oliver threatening to leak Congress members’ data information if legislation is not passed to protect consumers’ personal data.