playerWON is bringing video ads into games – EA, Hi Rez already on board

Players who watch ads can unlock in-game rewards

Update: Axios reported that EA had signed up with playerWon to bring in-game ads to their games. EA has since denied this by reaching out to PC Gamer to set the record straight.

“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 said. “Creating the best possible player experience remains our priority focus.”

Our original story can be found below, with all mention of EA removed.

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Original story: PlayerWON is a new in-game advertising platform that will allow companies to include video ads in PC and console games, in a similar vein to ads used in mobile games and TV.

The bigger comparison is with mobile, as the ads targets free-to-play games and is designed to reward in-game items and currency to players who watch them.

As reported in Axios, playerWON, owned by Simulmedia, lets users decide whether they want to watch a 15 or 30-second video ad in exchange for unlocking exclusive gaming perks.

Such a method is already popular in free-to-play mobile games, where players are incentivised to watch ads instead of spending real money to gain items such as in-game currency or skins.

Hi-Rez Studios is among the first studios to have signed up to the technology, with the free-to-play game Smite already used to pilot the tech.

Smite
Smite. Credit: Hi-Rez Studios

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The pilot campaign showed that players were “much more likely” to play a game and spend money within the game if they could acquire perks through watching in-game ads.

Simulmedia‘s Dave Madden said that 90% of players never buy in-game items, but its research showed that they are willing to watch up to 10 ads per day in order to unlock free perks, making them easier to reach than through conventional video marketing.

The company plans to launch in-game ads in roughly a dozen more games by the end of the year.

These in-game ads look set to fare better than Facebook’s attempts to implement ‘in-headset’ ads in Oculus VR games.

Last month, the developer of VR game Blaston decided to cut the test short after facing backlash from players.

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