Ubisoft has found itself at the center of controversy due to an unexpected fullscreen pop-up ad that appeared in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This incident, which has been widely discussed on platforms like Reddit, occurred on both Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game. Players expressed their frustration and disappointment, particularly as the ad disrupted gameplay by appearing on the map screen.
In response to the backlash, Ubisoft spokesperson Fabien Darrigues issued a statement to The Verge, acknowledging the issue. According to Darrigues, the pop-up ads were the result of a “technical error,” which the company addressed promptly upon discovery.
Intrusive advertising in gaming: A new concern
The ad, intended to promote Ubisoft’s latest Assassin’s Creed title, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, was originally planned to be displayed only in the main menu of other Assassin’s Creed games. However, due to the technical mishap, it intruded into in-game menus, leading to player dissatisfaction.
Ubisoft’s experience with in-game advertising is not an isolated incident in the gaming industry. Microsoft recently faced criticism for using fullscreen Xbox pop-up ads to promote its games. These ads, appearing during the Xbox boot-up process, have been a source of annoyance for many players. However, the nature of Ubisoft’s pop-up ads, appearing in the midst of gameplay, is a relatively uncommon and more intrusive practice.
The gaming community has long been familiar with in-game advertising, with examples like billboard ads in Saints Row 2 or various EA Games titles from the mid-to-late 2000s. However, the idea of fullscreen pop-up ads interrupting gameplay in premium, paid games is a new and unwelcome concept for many players.
This incident with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey raises concerns about the future of advertising in video games. Players and industry observers alike are hoping that such intrusive advertising methods do not become a norm in the gaming industry, especially in games that consumers have paid a premium price to enjoy. Ubisoft’s quick response to fix the issue indicates an awareness of player sentiment, but the incident serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between monetization and player experience in the gaming world.