Microsoft reportedly has plans to put advertisements inside of Xbox free-to-play games -- and this new initiative could begin as early as the summer of 2022.
Xbox has been happily chugging along ever since the launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The console's software continues to improve and the growth of Xbox Game Pass has been good for gamers and developers alike. Now, a new report says Microsoft aims to make the most of its massive audience of free-to-play gamers by putting advertisements within certain free-to-play games.
What We Know About Microsoft's Plans to Put Ads in Xbox Free-to-Play Games
As Business Insider reports (via ResetEra), two anonymous sources have claimed that Microsoft is planning to put advertisements within Xbox free-to-play games. Sources speaking to Business Insider expect that this program could go as live by the third quarter; that means that we could see it debut as early as July 1, 2022.
First and foremost, it's important to emphasize that this ad system would be used for free-to-play games; as far as this report goes, there are no plans to put any kind of advertising into premium games.
These ads likely won't be some kind of on-screen popup, either. Rather, it looks like Microsoft's plans will be to integrate ads natively into a game. One cited example is virtual billboards placed within racing games, just like billboards in the real world.
In-game advertising is not an entirely new phenomenon. Electronic Arts attempted the practice in its games back in the mid-2000s. Quake Live attempted something similar later that decade, but it was not enough to support the game's operating and development costs.
Microsoft has responded to Business Insider's request for comment and has neither confirmed nor denied that such a program is in development. If this report turns out to be accurate, we may see ads within free-to-play Xbox games later this year.