Earlier this month, an industry report indicated that Microsoft was considering a strategy to show advertisements from select brands in free-to-play Xbox games. Sony is apparently thinking about the same idea, according to a new report from Business Insider.
Sony is reportedly interested in showing advertisements in free-to-play games, just like Microsoft, with the goal of encouraging game developers to create more free games that reliably generate income. The ads are expected to arrive by the end of 2022, and aren’t intended all to be intrusive — Insider mentions they could appear as billboards in the game’s world.
The report says advertisements would be sold in a “private marketplace,” and Sony hasn’t decided yet if it will take a cut of revenue. Revenue sharing in advertising and software platforms has been a hot topic lately, especially around mobile app stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Sony is also reportedly considering an option to require developers and publishers pay for consumer data. According to Insider, Microsoft isn’t planning to take a cut from future ads in free-to-play games.
Games supported by advertisements have been a reality on mobile platforms for over a decade at this point, in addition to in-app purchases. While free games with purchasable items have carried over to traditional game consoles and some PC games, in-game advertisements for real-life products are still rare.
Sony has been making other moves to change the PlayStation platform this year. The company announced in March that it was overhauling the PlayStation Plus subscription service, with some tiers including free games and the option of cloud game streaming. Sony also announced its purchase of Bungie in January, which is best known for the Destiny franchise.
Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge or Business Insider.
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