EA: Potential ads in video games is a terrible idea

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Video games and commercials are basically like oil and water. They do not mix. News broke recently that the company Simulmedia struck a deal with Electronic Arts (EA) and High-Rez Studios that will potentially bring TV-style commercials into video games. This news is outrageous and if it holds out to actually happen, it would be a terrible mistake.

UPDATE: EA has responded to the report of in-game advertising in console games, denying it.

What would these ads look like?

These commercials that would potentially be in future video games wouldn’t just be there for show, but they would involve some sort of incentive to players, similar to how mobile games handle their ads. PlayerWON, a platform designed by Simulmedia, would provide either a 15- or 30-second ad that would provide gamers with in-game rewards for watching those provided advertisements.

Data that Simulmedia has been studying and researching indicated that users would watch up to nearly 10 ads a day in exchange for free in-game rewards. While getting free in-game rewards in exchange for a few minutes of your times may sound like a good idea, commercials and ads are not meant for video games whatsoever.

Why do developers and publishers think this is a good idea?

The whole reason behind why developers and publishers aren’t totally brushing away this idea is that it would be way cheaper to integrate ads into video games rather than trying to integrate brands and campaigns for millions of dollars. You might play a video game that has ads in the background, but that requires a lot more money to have those brands in the game without throwing out a quick 15/30 second ad.

Regardless, this news couldn’t be more of a terrible idea. It always seems like developers and publishers are trying to cut costs and save on money. I believe that if a game is successful enough to create a large enough revenue, there is no need for in-game advertisements.

Let’s be honest, no one like ads. Even when it comes to free-to-play mobile games, no one likes playing a game on your phone only to be interrupted by a 30-second ad — but it’s typically an accepted trade-off versus paying for a game. But inserting in-game ads into traditional console and PC games, which already cost upwards of $70 for next-gen, it just doesn’t make sense.

I guess it all depends on the approach that games want to take with this idea. If they have an option to watch videos for rewards in-game in a side menu that doesn’t take away from the overall experience of the game, then they can try that. While I am still not a fan of that idea, I guess it would a compromise. If they were to make it where ads just pop-up throughout the game, then those games would ultimately be destroyed because no one would want to buy those games.

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EA has already said the goal is to continue building out a network of advertisers and games that they can connect through its platform, growing the nascent in-console ad market. It plans to launch in-game ads in roughly a dozen more games by the year’s end.

This approach is not going to make many gamers happy and is not going to be too well-received by the gaming community. EA already tried integrating ads last year in UFC 4 and due to massive fan backlash, they were forced to remove those ad integrations as they were ruining the games experience. 2K tried something similar in NBA 2K21 and it failed spectacularly. If they didn’t work in one of EA’s “smaller” games, what makes them think ads would be a better idea in Madden or FIFA. Things don’t really seem to check out.

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Regardless of whether gamers like the idea of ads in-game or not, the deal with EA and High-Rez Studios has already been made with Simulmedia and ads will be added to games in the future in some form. Depending on how much backlash these ads get will most likely decide how long they stay. Being a gamer myself, I just have a feeling I know what gamers are going to think about this idea and I don’t believe it is going to get the best of feedback.