Microsoft could introduce ads to its free-to-play games

Microsoft would not initially take a cut of ad revenue

Microsoft is reportedly looking into opportunities to add real-world advertising to free-to-play games.

According to the report by Business Insider, (paywall, transcribed by VGC), Microsoft is exploring new ways that would allow its free-to-play developers to earn more money from their players.

“One of the sources speculated Microsoft isn’t currently interested in collecting a cut of ad revenue because it wants to provide more money-making opportunities to developers who make free-to-play games.”

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GTA Online
GTA Online. Credit: Rockstar Games

However, Microsoft is aware that this could cause some fan backlash. A similar example that happened recently was when Meta added in-game advertisements to one of its Quest VR titles to test a system that could be rolled out to other games in the future. Fans reacted very negatively, and the program was dropped, but it may return in another form. As such, Microsoft is being mindful of its own deployment.

Microsoft is also “moving cautiously and intends to create a “private marketplace,” where only select brands can insert ads into games in a way that doesn’t disrupt the gameplay experience.”

Business Insider said that its information suggests that current plans include the use of in-game build boards being sold as advertising space. “Insider was unable to learn if Xbox will also offer other types of in-game ad units, like avatar skins or video ads that play in gaming lobbies. Insider was also unable to determine if Microsoft has pitched the Xbox offer to advertisers yet.”

In other news, an update for Diablo 2: Resurrected makes balance changes to many of the game’s classes. This is the first time Diablo 2 has received a rebalance in more than a decade, with Amazon, Barbarian, Druid, and others receiving adjustments.

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