Sony reportedly considered putting ads in free PlayStation games

Following reports earlier this week that Microsoft was planning to introduce ads into free games on Xbox, a new report has surfaced claiming that Sony is working on its own plan to do the same with its PlayStation games.

As reported by Business Insider (paywall), which cites three people involved in Sony’s plans as sources, the company is currently exploring ways to encourage developers to continue making free-to-play games – which have reportedly grown in popularity during the pandemic – by offering new ways to monetize them.

Currently, PlayStation’s ad inventory would be limited to in-menu ads – which can be used by publishers and developers to do things like promote their own games on the PlayStation Store – and ads served through the streaming video on some apps.

However, Sony is currently said to be working with its adtech partners to create new advertising opportunities for free-to-play developers that can be directly served in-game, with the aim of making them feel like a natural part of the game. experience – for example via digital billboards in sports titles.

The initiative, which Sony reportedly started considering 18 months ago – and plans to roll out by the end of the year – could also include options for developers to reward gamers for watching ads. and promotions with in-game items such as avatar skins.

Business Insider reports that Sony is currently strict about vetting ad-tech companies for its private market and rules out collecting personal information such as emails and names – but questions remain about how it can choose to reduce revenue generated from in-game advertising. One source says the company plans to sell consumer activity data on PlayStation to developers and publishers.

Business Insider, of course, shared a similar report about Microsoft earlier this week, saying the company is currently considering introducing ads into free Xbox games in a way that “doesn’t disrupt the gaming experience.”

However, while Sony is reportedly already in talks with partners about its new monetization initiative, Business Insider didn’t know if Microsoft had started rolling out the Xbox offering or if its plans were still in their infancy. Either way, Microsoft reportedly “acted cautiously” in order to avoid a potential backlash from gamers.

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