TV-Style Commercials Are Coming To Console Games

TV-Style Commercials Are Coming To Console Games
Screenshot: Robocop

There are ads on YouTube, ads on Twitch and ads when you’re playing mobile games, but you know where there aren’t ads? Console games. And that’s something capitalism would like to change.

As Axios reports, a company called playerWON (kill me), described as “a first-of-its-kind in-game advertising platform” (bring me back then kill me again), has signed deals with companies like EA and Hi-Rez (Smite) to try and bring TV-style commercials to their console games.

Having tested this tech for over a year, they feel like it’s now ready to be implemented, with the idea being that rather than just beaming videos to them in the middle of a game, players would be able to view an ad then, when servers detected that the commercial had been viewed in its entirety, “release rewards to the player”.

You can have a little reward. As a treat.

This tech would be licensed out to developers so it could be implemented in the game itself (unlike the ads we already see on consoles, in places like system menu screens), and they’re trying to justify it by saying that because young people are “cord-cutters”, they’re unreachable via traditional, cheaper marketing, and are only being reached by branded content deals (like the sneakers and clothes in NBA 2K, or cup noodles in Final Fantasy).

Which is expensive, so ad companies would prefer something easier and cheaper. Like this.

Testing has been taking place inside Smite for around a year, and the findings are as awful as you’re probably expecting:

Data from one of Simulmedia’s pilot campaigns with Smite, a F2P multiplayer battle arena game from Tencent’s Hi-Rez Studios, shows that players were much more likely (22%) to play a game and spend money within the game (11%), if they watched in-game ads that gave them access to more gaming perks.

As a result, playerWON “plans to launch in-game ads in roughly a dozen more games by the year’s end”.


  • This is hardly first of its kind. The concept of watching ads for rewards in games has been around for quite some time, mostly in f2p mobile games . There’s been so many failed attempts at getting ads into video games I’m hoping this is just the next failure to learn from history rather than the one that sticks when you throw enough crap at the wall.

    • There’s money here though, so they’re going to keep throwing crap until something does eventually stick. It’s only a matter of time.

  • If the commercials were well placed and stylized like the original Robocop movies, then I’d buy that for a dollar.. but no more.

  • “And that’s something capitalism would like to change.”

    Capitalism breeds innovation; in this case innovation with respect to in-game advertising which both developers and brands find acceptable.

    “Testing has been taking place inside Smite for around a year, and the findings are as awful as you’re probably expecting:”

    The findings show that their trial program produced an acceptable degree of success for them. If you do not like it, play a different game, then. Nobody’s forcing you to keep playing it if you absolutely detest it.

  • Living in a world of streaming and non mobile games, ie a world of f*ck all ads, they can get f*cked. I will turn it off before the ad is finished.

  • Maybe they took some notes from Kotaku squeezing ads into their stories as you scroll through ????

    Not a fan

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