There It Is: PlayStation Is Also Looking At Bringing In Ads, It Seems

There It Is: PlayStation Is Also Looking At Bringing In Ads, It Seems
Image: Kotaku Australia

PlayStation said, “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.”

You might’ve seen a few days ago that Xbox has a plan in the works to build an advertising program dedicated to putting ads in free-to-play games. It’s stated that this program will work to do so in a way that won’t ‘irritate’ gamers, with all signs pointing to the use of in-game billboards.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen ads in free-to-play games. It’s not even the first time we’ve seen billboards for real-life products showing up in video games. However, Xbox does seem to be the first of the big three to be working on a dedicated program to bring ads into free-to-play games as a platform-side revenue stream.

However, it doesn’t look like they’ll be the last.

According to Business Insider, Sony is working on a platform-side ad server plan similar to that of Xbox. This news reportedly comes from ‘three people involved in the plans’, who said Sony is doing ‘testing with adtech partners to help game developers create in-game ads through a software developer program’.

It seems that both companies are looking to make the process of displaying ads in free-to-play as easy as possible for devs. If the tech is simple, broadly compatible, and ready to be turned on, developers and publishers will be more likely to embrace it. All that remains after that is the haggling over revenue percentages.

Of course, we wouldn’t be seeing billboards like the one in the hero image in this article. It also sounds like Sony will be fairly strict in terms of who it allows to advertise on its platform, with one of Business Insider’s sources stating that Sony’s ‘being strict about vetting adtech companies, ruling out collection of personal information like emails or names’.

I’m of the personal opinion that a billboard is pretty harmless in a game, as you can kinda just look somewhere else and it’s not there anymore. Your mileage may vary.

On the other hand, only time will tell as to whether or not they’ll decide for the potential ads in PlayStation games to be all up in your face. According to Business Insider, the program is expected to launch ‘before the end of the year’.

Source: Business Insider


  • Mercenaries 2 did a level of billboard advertising over a decade ago… However, it also let people blow those billboards up.

    In this day and age though I could absolutely see companies throwing a fuckin’ tantrum if you let their paid advertisement get blown to bits.

  • Advertising in games is raised by AAA developers every couple of years, gets muttered about… then disappears again.

    The biggest hurdle is that any advertising has to comply with all jurisdictions Advertising and Consumer Protection Laws and the fine print is a nightmare to navigate even in one country. Especially when XBox and Sony would technically be rhe broadcaster/publisher and that liability needs to scale to revenue potential.

  • How’s this gonna work with streaming because I can think of plenty of instances where it’s gonna clash and cause problems.
    We gonna see takedowns because a player commented negatively on a Coke banner, said Pepsi is better or because of behaviour the advertisers doesn’t want to be involved with?
    Would your endorsements force you to avoid certain games with competing products?
    Would there be an option to turn them off in which case wouldn’t most people just choose off anyway?

    • I don’t really see that being any different to people streaming racing games or sports games now which already have advertising adorning the sides of the field, the sides of the track, the cars themselves etc. Even beyond gaming, if someone has a YouTube channel dedicated to sports or cars, then there is already advertising visible there.

      As long as these ads are done in this kind of way ie unobtrusive and in an appropriate place in the world like billboards or field/track-side hoardings etc then I don’t really see it causing any trouble.

      If it turns into actual TV style advertising that interrupts the game, or blatant product placement like your character stopping to take a swig from a can of Coke or the like, then there will be problems.

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