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EA Considering In-Game Advertising, But Will Take "Thoughtful" Approach

EA previously sold in-game ads for its sports games and Battlefield 2142.


EA CEO Andrew Wilson has said in-game advertising could become a "meaningful driver of growth" for the company's bottom line. Speaking during the company's latest earnings briefing, Wilson said "it's still early on that front," and if this is something EA does decide to push further into, the company will be "thoughtful" about it.

In 2008, Barack Obama's campaign paid EA to put political ads in Burnout Paradise to try to get people to vote for him. Prior to that, 2006's Battlefield 2142 and Need for Speed Carbon featured in-game ads. In 2007, EA signed a deal with an ad company to bring in-game ads to Madden, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, NHL, and NASCAR games, as well as Skate.

Wilson said during the earnings call that, for any future in-game ad campaigns, EA would try to be "very thoughtful" about how they might be implemented.

"As we think about the many, many billions of hours spent, both playing, creating, watching and connecting and where much of that engagement happens to be on the bounds of a traditional game experience, our expectation is that advertising has an opportunity to be a meaningful driver of growth for us," he said. "We'll be very thoughtful as we move into that, but we have teams internally in the company right now looking at how do we do very thoughtful implementations inside of our game experiences."

Wilson was specifically discussing in-game ads in the context of "more traditional AAA games" and not necessarily mobile, where ads of all types are more commonplace.

EA's business is already booming, as the company just reported a full-year profit of $1.273 billion on $7.5 billion in revenue. EA laid off more than 600 people and canceled games earlier this year, including a Star Wars FPS.

It's not just EA looking into in-game ads. In 2023, SCS Software announced that it sold ad space inside American Truck Simulator to the trucking company Schneider National. In 2012, Square Enix launched a browser-based gaming service that allowed users to play games for free with ad breaks.

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