The console wars are heating up again, but this time the battleground is in-game advertising (sigh). I revealed over the weekend that Xbox wants to include more ads in their free-to-play games. And it appears PlayStation has no desire to be outdone on this front.
According to Business Insider, Sony wants to encourage developers to create free-to-play games. The free-to-play market exploded in popularity thanks to the mobile platform, and has since gained more traction on consoles. So it’s not a big surprise that Sony would want to support development of more popular games on their platform.
But how are they going to do encourage developers to create free-to-play games?
Sony wants to introduce a new way to monetize free-to-play titles beyond the despised microtransactions and barely tolerated battle passes.
Console Wars are Heating Up With MORE Advertisements!
If there’s one thing we learned after ditching cable for Netflix, it’s that humans LOVE advertisements. Because what else would we want to see when we’re trying to relax and disconnect from the world, than an intrusive reminder that the advertising industry still exists.
Sony’s goal is similar to Microsoft’s. They both want the ads to blend seamlessly within games. This could mean real-life ads on in-game billboards around virtual race tracks and sports stadiums. And because the humans behind this know how much we love ads, Sony wants to reward us for watching some of them!
With more skins you’ll never use, of course!
Did you love this ad about Dove’s new soap for men? Here’s a skin for your decked out M4A1 with our logo plastered all over it. You’re welcome.
I look forward to seeing how the community reacts when this gets rolled out. I don’t imagine it will be a big deal at first. But like I said with Xbox, it’s a matter of when, not if, that tech ends up in paid titles and becomes less seamless and more LOOK AT ME (*cough* NBA 2K *cough*).
Sony Undecided on Ad Revenue Cut
Sony has not decided on whether it will take a cut of the ad revenue. From a business standpoint, it wouldn’t be hard to justify a cut. Sony is investing in the technology to help developers turn a profit from ad revenue, so why shouldn’t they?
On the other hand, I think they would do themselves a favor by not taking a cut.
Because Microsoft is not planning to take a cut. If you’re a big developer, I don’t imagine this is a big deal, but there are a lot of developers who aren’t big. And those small to medium developers might not have the resources to develop a game for both Xbox and PlayStation. So for them, that cut could make the difference between which platform they develop for.
Like Microsoft, Sony wants to ensure only the most suitable companies are able to participate in this new ad system. According to the report’s source, Sony has a tight vetting process to exclude companies that collect personal information, such your email address, name, the name of the street you grew up on, and your stripper name according to BuzzFeed.
If there’s one thing we know about data security at this point, it’s that we can always trust giant corporations to handle it.
We already have ads in games, don’t we?
Yes, ads are nothing new in games. We’ve had ads on loading screens, in-game menus, and even as part of the game itself (looking at you, Forza Horizon).
The problem is this is yet another shameless step toward the advertising industry getting more money out of us after we’ve already paid for a product. Sure, private companies have a right to do whatever they want with their products, but that doesn’t mean they should. It’s a constant chase for our attention to get us to spend more money on stuff we don’t need.
The other problem is introducing this into free-to-play games allows it to exist relatively unchallenged because the free-to-play gaming market is already saturated with ads. So it will have a better chance of becoming normalized, therefore making it easier to introduce in paid games after some time.
The Console Wars are heating up, when will the eye rolling begin?
Sony’s program is supposed to launch by the end of this year while Xbox is rolling theirs out in Q3. So get ready to see ads in your favorite free-to-play titles before the end of 2022!
And if you’re not excited about this, well… I’m sure there’s a skin for that, too.
Unfortunately, no matter who wins this battle as the console wars are heating up, we the customers will lose. We’ll be the ones stuck looking at ads while we try to enjoy the games we paid $70 for.
What do you think about ads in video games? Do you care whether or not they’re there? Is this an inevitable part of the gaming landscape or is Sony going too far? Let us know in the comments below!
Stay tuned to Nerd Night News for more top shelf nerd reporting like this!