Xbox Games Could Get In-Game Ads in Future

This strategy isn't new but it might finally make sense.

by Chris Park


Ads within video games isn’t an entirely new concept, but with free-to-play games on the rise in popularity it looks like Microsoft is looking for another way to make money from them.  A new report suggest that Microsoft wants to work with advertisers to offer premium digital space in free to play games which won’t disrupt the experience.

Digital Billboards in Free to Play Games?

The report which was published by Business Insider claims that Microsoft will work with advertisers and allow them to purchase and place advertising in free to play games, and that the stage this has progressed to is still in the planning and negotiations phase.  However, it’s revealed that the plans are for this to arrive by the third quarter of 2022 which is fairly soon.

Exactly how this will be implemented is anyone’s guess, but the details from the report claim that this could be anything from digital billboards to other in-game advertising tactics.

The Angry Mob

Most purists will argue that placing advertisements in a game will take away from any sort of immersion and it’s likely that if this program does make it into popular games, there will be some level of backlash from the community.  It sounds like Microsoft is cognizant of this and will be trying to implement the system in a way that does not disrupt the normal game experience and that the pool of advertisers will be with only a handful of selected brands.

This isn’t the first we’ve seen of in-game ads.  We saw advertisements make their way into full-priced games in the Xbox 360 era, though it wasn’t a common practice and it seemed to be a developer (or probably publisher) choice.  With Microsoft targeting free-to-play games it could make sense and avoid some backlash since it’s free after all.

Though this tactic does make you wonder what the future could hold for other titles.  If the advertisements prove to be something that gamers accept you could see this as another revenue stream for titles on Game Pass or way for Microsoft to add an ad supported version of the subscription service which gives Xbox/PC players a catalogue of titles to play each month.

- This article was updated on April 16th, 2022

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