You might start seeing a few more advertisements pop up in Xbox's free-to-play games soon as Microsoft is reportedly looking for adtech companies and ad agencies to help developers sell more ad space.
This is according to a new report from Business Insider that claims things like billboards in racing games could soon be used as advertising for real-world products. Insider's sources claim that this change could go live as early as Q3 this year, although Microsoft hasn't confirmed that it's moving ahead with these plans. Microsoft has responded to the report though, explaining that it is "always looking for ways to improve the experience for players" but doesn't "have anything further to share."
It's unknown how intrusive these advertisements are going to be, although Insider claims that Microsoft is fairly worried about irritating players with them. Microsoft is also reportedly worried about protecting consumer data as advertisers would likely want to use the data that the company has stored to specifically target players with certain ads. However, Microsoft is apparently unwilling to let advertisers use this data.
As for why the company is allegedly doing this, Microsoft apparently wants to build an "Xbox in-game ad network" to help support developers making free-to-play titles. Microsoft itself wouldn't be making any money from these ad placements, instead distributing any revenue between the developer of the game the ad is placed in and the adtech company behind it. It's likely that Microsoft sees adverts as a viable way to fund the upkeep of free-to-play games and is potentially doing this to make the business practice seem more appealing to developers.
Whether or not these adverts will extend to first-party free-to-play titles is unknown, but one of Xbox's most high-profile free-to-play titles at the moment is Halo Infinite. If this report is accurate – and depending on how Xbox wants to roll out this ad network – we could potentially start seeing real-world advertisements in Halo Infinite before the end of the year. Whether or not this will go down well with Halo fans remains to be seen.
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