KEY POINTS

  • EA has signed a contract that allows TV-style ads to be shown in their F2P games, a report says
  • The publisher entered an agreement with playerWON, a company owned and operated by Simulmedia
  • EA previously faced backlash when it put ads in "UFC 4" last year

An advertising company has signed deals with gaming giant Electronic Arts in an attempt to incorporate in-game advertisements into free-to-play games, rewarding players who watch TV-like commercials with in-game perks and benefits.

Ad company playerWON, which is owned and operated by Simulmedia, signed contracts with EA and Hi-Rez Studios to implement this new marketing communications method in mainstream video games, Axios reported, citing Simulmedia executive vice president Dave Madden.

The ads they want to implement are similar to the short commercials commonly seen on television and streaming websites like YouTube.

PlayerWON claimed that F2P gamers are willing to watch at least 10 ads in exchange for free virtual rewards. Developers who are willing to use this method must code the ad system into their games and offer players the option to watch either 15-second or 30-second long ads. Extreme Tech pointed out that there was no option to skip or to not watch any ads at all.

Madden said that over 90% of all free-to-play gamers do not spend money on free-to-play games despite the subgenre’s explosive growth.

EA’s involvement in this type of monetization marks the company’s latest attempt to incorporate ads into their games.

Its previous attempt was met with harsh backlash after the company tried to bring ads to “UFC 4” last year, where it showed a full commercial of Amazon’s original series “The Boys.” It should be noted that “UFC 4” was a full-priced $60 game, which may have greatly contributed to the backlash of the ad inclusion.

A similar incident also occurred with 2K Games when it attempted to incorporate in-game ads for “NBA 2K21.” The company was forced to take the ads down after it received overwhelmingly negative feedback from players who already paid relatively large sums of money on the game.

The deal between EA and playerWON has already been signed, and it’s likely that TV ads will be added to EA’s free-to-play titles like “Apex Legends” in the near future. Incorporating ads on free games may garner a slightly warmer welcome from players, but considering the overall reception of in-game ads in general, it’s possible that a public outcry will soon occur.

UFC 4 introduces several improvements over its predecessors, including a better grapple and takedown system UFC 4 introduces several improvements over its predecessors, including a better grapple and takedown system Photo: Electronic Arts