Electronic Arts has denied reports that it’s planning to include in-game video ads to its console games.
A report made by Axios last week said that both EA and Tencent‘s Hi-Rez Studios had agreed a deal with Simulmedia, a TV ad tech company that recently launched a new in-game advertising platform called playerWON.
Similar to the way video ads work in mobile games, playerWON lets developers add features to console games that reward players for watching advertisements.
Compatible games can use Simulmedia’s server to tell if the ad has played in its entirety, and will then reward the player with an unlockable, be that in-game currency or a character skin.
Following reports of EA’s alleged deal, some were concerned that this could mean video ads being incorporated in future EA series such as FIFA, Battlefield or Madden.
However, EA has since told PC Gamer that the reports are false.
“Following incorrect reports suggesting that we are looking to introduce ‘TV-style’ commercials into our games, we wanted to clarify that in-game advertising for console games is not something we’re currently looking at, or have signed any agreements to implement,” an EA spokesperson told the site. “Creating the best possible player experience remains our priority focus.”
This is not the first time EA has had to address the topic of in-game advertising. Last year the company apologised for briefly adding advert placement during UFC 4 game matches.
Advertisements reportedly started appearing as UI overlays during game replays in September 2020, causing fans to vent their frustration in a Reddit thread with a huge 90,000 upvotes.
Many fans on Reddit took issue with the fact that UFC 4 is a full-price release and not a free-to-play title, where in-game advertising such as this is widely accepted. They also expressed frustration that the ads were added weeks after the game’s release and thus were not able to be scrutinised in press reviews.
EA later acknowledged the community’s reaction to the UFC 4 ads and published a statement claiming that the feature had been removed and would not reappear in the future.
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