Sony Is Also Planning An In-Game Ads Program Similar To Xbox - Report

Sony's plan is reportedly similar to Microsoft's work and could be implemented by the end of the year.

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Sony has begun working on a plan to place ads inside of PlayStation games through a software developer program, according to a new report.

Sources speaking to Bloomberg claim that Sony began work 18 months ago on the project and is currently doing testing with adtech partners on ways to help game developers place in-game advertising in their titles, with a particular emphasis on using them in free-to-play games. Using the system, developers could be incentivized to create more F2P games that could be monetized this way, as those titles have seen a surge in popularity during the current pandemic era.

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Sony's plan is similar to the one that Microsoft has reportedly begun development on, which is also working on methods for inserting ads in Xbox games. If all goes according to plan, Sony will reportedly launch its new effort by the end of 2022 and sell advertising space for its own PlayStation games through a private marketplace.

The goal of the project is for ads to look like they've been organically inserted into a game, much like a digital billboard in a sports stadium. Such content could include watching ads and promotions to earn in-game items like avatar skins.

Bloomberg's sources said that Sony is undecided on taking a cut of the revenue but it is considering charging developers and publishers for the data gathered from consumer activity on PlayStation. Sony is reportedly also being strict on which adtech companies can qualify for its program, as it wants to avoid firms that collect personal information from players.

As for interest, managing director of Zero Code Dario Raciti told Bloomberg that advertisers would be interested in reaching a new audience, provided that they can convince developers of family-friendly content to let them in. "It's a new thing, just like the metaverse, and everyone rushes to try it out, but for the people who have done gaming and understand the gaming audience, we'll apply a wait and see approach," Raciti said.

While video games have largely avoided advertising over the years--especially games with mature and violent content that advertisers prefer to avoid--there have been a few notable examples of in-game promotions. Fortnite has run Air Jordan campaigns, Nike shoes have been featured in NBA 2K22, and Burnout: Paradise even featured ads for former US president Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2009.

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