Microsoft is reportedly brainstorming on a new program that would allow brands to showcase advertisements in free-to-play Xbox games, as cited by the Insider. While they're not sure how disruptive the ads would be to a player's gameplay, there are some elusive ways they've thought to put them, such as billboards in racing games. Yeah...I don't know about this, chief.
Thankfully, Microsoft isn't totally committed to just opening their games to any brand, and they've stressed concern over players getting irritated because of them. Instead, they want to build a "private marketplace" for particular brands to enter the program. This way, they could control what brands come in and dish out some banning for any bad actors that try to make ads too intrusive, I hope. It might be less of a hopeful wish, though, since Microsoft is reportedly not intending to take a cut of the ad revenue, and if so, they wouldn't lose funds from cutting off a candidate from the program.
You might be wondering why Microsoft is pushing for such a program anyway, and with their latest acquisition of Activision Blizzard being an indicator, it's safe to speculate that they want to amass developer contacts and perhaps monopolize further. The Verge described how the move could be "another stream of revenue outside of microtransactions," and I would agree over time that it would become a beneficial outlet of funds. Just look at Xbox Game Pass and its popularity now versus how it started.
However, I'm still on the fence about ads being more commonplace in gaming. What do you think?
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About the Author
Anthony Jones is a gaming journalist and late 90s kid in love with retro games and the evolution of modern gaming. He started at Mega Visions as a news reporter covering the latest announcements, rumors, and fan-made projects. FFXIV has his heart in the MMORPGs scene, but he's always excited to analyze and lose hours to ambitious and ambiguous MMOs that gamers follow.
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