Home EA readying plan to load in-game advertising into its full-price AAA games as “meaningful driver of growth”

EA readying plan to load in-game advertising into its full-price AAA games as “meaningful driver of growth”

Electronic Arts is internally discussing the best way to get external advertising into its full-price games, looking at how to best “do very thoughtful implementations” So says EA CEO Andrew Wilson who made the statement on Electronic Arts’ latest earning call.

“…Advertising has an opportunity to be a meaningful driver of growth for us.” Wilson went on to say, “…we have teams internally in the company right now looking at how we do very thoughtful implementations inside of our game experiences.”

While many players will likely see this as yet more opportunist cash-grabbing by an industry that seemingly can’t wait to lay off all its staff the minute a game goes to market, it is perhaps surprising that swathes of in-game advertising are not already with us.

EA has of course dabbled before. Burnout Paradise featured in-game ads back in 2008 for Senator Barrack Obama’s run at the Presidency. There was also a much-maligned backlash against in-game ads in UFC 4 which had to be removed after it the advertising actually affected playing the game.

Most gamers probably won’t mind, or even notice as long as ads are restricted to in-game billboards and the like. Things will not go as well if we eventually end up with a Youtube-type scenario with adverts interrupting the action every five minutes but accurate billboards in games such as EAFC could actually lend to the realism on offer.

While this is unlikely in mainstream games it is already a problem in many mobile offerings. The industry also needs to deal with the perception that is it just continuing to milk gamers for every last penny while posting record profits and slashing jobs.

While many will not be surprised that it is Electronic Arts raising the issue, at least its past experience in the in-game ads field should stand it in good stead to pull it off as unobtrusively as possible. That’s the dream.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Paul McNally
Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media. Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020. Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine,…

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