Sony is reportedly working on its own advertisement platform that will inject ads into PlayStation games, complete with incentives to view the ads.
In a quest to maximize revenues by any means possible, Sony is currently developing an ad tech platform that will place in-game advertisements into PS4 and PS5 games. Sony plans to organically blend ads into games an non-intrusive way to make advertisements seem as if they're part of the game (for example, on signs and billboards).
Video game developers have traditionally created fake and offbeat commercial brands for their games. In-game areas like shopping malls, food marts, and cities typically feature humorous logos and made-up companies (look at Grand Theft Auto, for example).
Real-world product placement could become more common in video games, similar to the famous Energizer battery promos in Alan Wake,Hooters in shooter game Homefront: The Revolution, or more recently the Monster Energy drink promos in Sony's first-party game Death Stranding.
Sony may also directly reward players for watching advertisements. Watch-to-earn incentive rewards could include in-game currency, cosmetics and skins, and possibly exclusive items. Ads are expected to roll out in 2022.
This latest trend is another step towards blurring the lines between mobile and console gaming. Microtransactions, which have long been a staple of free-to-play mobile games, have become a tentpole for the console and PC gaming market. Now the dedicated console industry is embracing the extremely lucrative billion-dollar world of advertisements to further push monetization to new levels.
Sony's entire video games business is propped up by microtransactions and the company makes more revenues from add-ons than anything else. Sony made $2.17 billion from add-ons in Holiday 2021 (microtransactions, DLC, etc) as compared to $1.58 billion in digital games and $257 million from physical games.
This new layer of advertising revenue could inflate those earnings even higher.
Sources have also told Business Insider that Microsoft is making its own advertisement platform. Microsoft's ad system would place advertisements into free-to-play Xbox games for the benefit of developers, publishers, and rights-holders. Microsoft apparently has no interest in taking a cut of the ad revenues.
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