Microsoft might not be the only console maker hoping to place more ads in games. Insider sources (sub. required) say Sony is testing an initiative that would sell and place ads in free-to-play PlayStation games through a private marketplace. This would include billboards and other environmental ads, but also character skins and similar collectible items.
Some details are reportedly in flux. Sony isn’t certain if it will take a slice of any ad revenue, the tipsters claimed, and it might instead ask studios to pay for data. The PS5 creator is apparently “strict” about screening the ad tech companies it works with, however, and won’t allow the collection of personal information like email addresses.
If accurate, the leak has Sony launching the PlayStation ad program by the end of 2022. We’ve asked the company for comment.
The rumor comes just a week after Microsoft was said to be planning a very similar strategy. The objective would be simple: the easier it is for developers to place in-game ads, the more likely they are to release free-to-play games. While that could irritate gamers who’d rather not see obvious product plugs, it could also help companies release free-to-play games that don’t rely quite as much on paid skins, season passes and other gated content.