Tim Sweeney Says He "Hates Advertising In Games"

He's more into brand collaborations.


Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney said he's not a big fan of traditional advertising and prefers for marketing in Fortnite to take the form of brand collaborations like themed cosmetics and branded concerts.

Speaking to Digiday, Sweeney said, "The best moments in Fortnite have been other brands entering the world of Fortnite--fashion companies, the Ferrari dropping into the world, Marvel and Star Wars crossovers."

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"I think brand presence is a much healthier way for companies to get involved in the metaverse than advertising. Playing an ad is just annoying. Players hate it and they aren’t very engaged with that content--whereas, give them a drivable Ferrari or a cool shirt they can wear, and they love it," he concluded.

Fortnite has made a splash for its high-profile crossovers with music acts, anime, movies, and other video games--so it makes sense that Sweeney prefers for brands and companies to approach marketing within Fortnite from a collaborative perspective rather than the traditional "billboard advertisements."

Speaking about in-game monetization opportunities, Sweeney and executive vice president Saxs Persson both took a cautious stance. Persson said direct virtual commerce would only be on the table if it would be something players could be interested in, but "that’s not the plan."

"It depends largely on what they’re selling. If you’re selling a ticket to an awesome experience, then that’s the whole model of the game business," Sweeney said. Loot boxes or gameplay advantages, however, are things Sweeney said Epic Games is not interested in implementing in Fortnite.

"We see Fortnite as an opportunity to build a better world that’s free of the race to the bottom that’s driven mobile gaming to where it is," said Sweeney. "The key problem in the mobile ecosystem is that user acquisition is completely advertising-based, and the companies that have the worst consumer practices with pay-to-win and loot boxes make the most money from the consumer, so they’re able to bid the highest amount on advertising. So all the top games driven by all the top advertising are really bad games. We very much don’t want that world in Fortnite."

This isn't the first time Sweeney has publicly spoken out against loot boxes. He spoke at the D.I.C.E. 2020 Summit in Las Vegas and compared loot boxes to gambling, criticizing the items' inclusion in games.

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