Microsoft is working on an in-game "advertising program" for free-to-play games on the Xbox platform, at least according to a new report from Business Insider which cites "two people who are involved in the talks."
The website says that "Microsoft wants to let advertisers place ads inside free-to-play Xbox games," such as "digitally rendered billboards in a car racing game." Talks about this apparently began a few years ago, but have accelerated in recent years due to the launch of the Xbox Series X and S, along with the popularity of free-to-play games.
"This new program will boost Xbox's limited ad inventory by adding more games that brands can advertise in and by allowing more developers to sell ad space."
It's mentioned that Microsoft is "worried" inserting ads into Xbox games "could irritate people," and therefore the cautious plan is to make sure only select brands can insert ads in a way that "doesn't disrupt the gameplay experience." Another key mention is that Microsoft "has no immediate plans to let advertisers use [consumer] data to target people on Xbox", and the company supposedly isn't even interested in taking a cut of ad revenue, with one source saying "it seemed more interested in building out the Xbox ad network."
Microsoft had nothing specific to say in regards to the report, stating that the company is "always looking for ways to improve the experience for players and developers but we don't have anything further to share."
According to the two sources, this program is expected to go live by the third quarter of 2022.
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