Sony Interactive Entertainment plans to offer companies the ability to sell ads in free-to-play games on PlayStation consoles, Business Insider reports .
The publication has learnt Sony has an advertising programme in the pipeline that will integrate ads into titles and reward gamers with in-game items like skins should they watch them.
The company is reportedly testing software allowing developers to create these ads.This is set to launch before the end of the year.
Advertising Insider claims the programme intends to encourage developers to make more games free and monetise them without relying on microtransactions and paid-for battle passes.
Some of the current free-to-play games that use such models include popular titles like Apex: Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Dauntless, Destiny 2, Fortnite, and Warframe.
The reveal of Sony’s plans comes after Business Insider reported last week that Microsoft was also considering allowing advertisers to put commercials in free-to-play games on Xbox.
Microsoft plans to launch its programme in the third quarter of 2022 and intends to incorporate the ads into in-game elements such as digital billboards to avoid annoying players.
In its case, Microsoft is supposedly not interested in taking a cut of the advertising revenue, with only the game developer and ad company splitting the profit.
Instead, the US software giant aims to use the programme to expand its Xbox advertising network.
On the other hand, Sony is reportedly still deciding if it will take a share of the advertising revenue.
Mistakes were made
The two companies will have to approach the issue carefully to avoid the backlash that 2K suffered following controversial direct advertising in one of its National Basketball Association (NBA) games.
In October 2020, NBA 2K21 players complained after unskippable ads were shown on the game’s loading screen.
Many of the game’s players said this was particularly infuriating as they had to pay $60 (R903) for the game.
2K claimed the ad placement was a mistake and rolled out a patch to remove the ad.
Now read: PlayStation’s revamped game subscription launching in June.