KEY POINTS

  • In-game ads are a source of revenue for developers and video game companies
  • Currently, in-game ads are less intrusive 
  • Gamers dislike in-game ads
  • Microsoft has not confirmed the reports

Video gamers are not particularly thrilled by in-game ads but it looks like they have to exercise a lot more patience and more tolerance since Microsoft is reportedly working on a new program that would allow developers to make even more money from their games by inserting ads on free-to-play Xbox titles.

The Redmond-based tech giant is looking to bring back the old ways of in-game advertising through Xbox, according to a report from Business Insider. Xbox, Microsoft's video gaming brand, is reportedly considering in-game billboards so advertisers can utilize them as early as Q3 2022.

Through this supposed advertising program, companies could purchase ad inventory to have their virtual billboards appear in an open-world adventure or racing game. It is not yet clear if this planned program would extend to video rolls or character skins, but it seems Microsoft is developing a private marketplace to limit ads so they won't disrupt gameplay, the report said.

Microsoft will be expanding access to its Xbox cloud gaming service to more devices including Apple's smartphones and tablets
Microsoft will be expanding access to its Xbox cloud gaming service to more devices including Apple's smartphones and tablets AFP / Ina FASSBENDER

It is also unknown if Microsoft, or Xbox, has started pitching advertisers and brands on the said new ad program. Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied this new advertising system and in a statement sent to CNET, it said, "We are always looking for ways to improve the experience for players and developers, but we don't have anything further to share."

The tech giant is already selling limited ad space on Xbox through dashboard ads and other advertising deals through third parties. This new program is the company's attempt to include more brands looking for ways to boost their business to the video gaming audience.

In-game ads are not at all new in the video gaming world and over the years, they have been injected in-game in a less invasive approach. " Fortnite," for instance, features crossover events and skins for new films.

This kind of advertising is very effective since it also adds a layer of fun to the game. If the report is accurate, it underlines how Microsoft's new ad program could supercharge its revenue from video games. However, it also begs how intrusive these in-game ads could be and how ready gamers are for this new change.

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