December 9, 2023

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Microsoft is looking for new ways to open up more ad slots in Xbox games

2 min read


Microsoft is looking for new ways to open up more ad slots in Xbox games.

Microsoft plans to sell more ads in its Xbox games, Business Insider reported Friday.

The Xbox maker plans to allow developers to create ad slots and display ads in logical spots within free-to-play games on Microsoft’s Xbox consoles.

Currently, in-game advertising is limited, as developers must include advertising while developing the game, or release it as game content after the game is launched.


Microsoft is looking for new ways to open up more ad slots in Xbox games


Microsoft’s plan would allow game makers to specify certain locations in games where ads can be played, such as billboards in racing games.


“We’re always looking for ways to improve the player and developer experience, but we don’t have anything further to share,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email Friday.


This report, from Business Insider, essentially says we’ll see ads in free-to-play games at some point in the future, as Microsoft is working on such technology.

This new project will boost Xbox ‘s limited ad operations by adding more games that brands can advertise and allowing more developers to sell reasonable ad space within games.


Microsoft could implement this feature as soon as the third quarter of this year.

These ads can appear as digitally rendered billboards in racing games or open-world adventure games.

Of course, there are other ways of ad serving, from non-intrusive to fully intrusive, but there’s no word yet on whether Microsoft will handle those avenues.


Interestingly, in terms of revenue, Microsoft doesn’t plan to take a cut of advertising revenue, it seems to be more interested in building an Xbox advertising network.

Advertising revenue will be shared between the game developers and the ad tech companies that deliver the ads. In other words, it won’t benefit Microsoft alone.


Of course, not just anyone can place ads on Xbox’s free games. Microsoft is currently concerned about how disruptive these ads are to gamers, the sources said.

As such, it is treading carefully and intends to create a “private marketplace” where only selected brands can insert ads in games in a way that doesn’t disrupt the gaming experience.


And for those concerned that consumer data is already being acquired by Bing (and other apps) via Xbox, the source also mentioned that Microsoft has no immediate plans to let advertisers use the data to target players on Xbox.

It looks like this technology will allow F2P game developers to earn more money from their games. Whether this works or not depends on player acceptance and the overall community.



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