According to a report by Business Insider, Microsoft wants to create an ad program to allow advertisers to display their ads on Xbox Games, which is free to play. Multiple sources who were aware of this matter came forward to tell Insider that there are various ways to display these ads. For example, ads can be advertised as digital billboards in car racing games. However, Microsoft hasn’t yet clarified which types of ads it will display on the Xbox.
It isn’t the first time any company has tried this. Back in the 2000s, a company named Massive Incorporated did the same by allowing the brands to buy ad space to promote their products and services through billboards in games. Microsoft got this idea from there, although it wasn’t successful then. Many games had digital ad placements, but that was before the emergence of free-to-play games and when smartphones weren’t the norm.
A spokesperson of Microsoft stated that they are constantly looking for more and better ways to ensure that both their developers and players have a wonderful experience. Still, at this point, they refused to share anything further. TechCrunch also approached Microsoft to get some insight, but it clearly said that it has nothing to share besides what it has already stated to the Insider.
The Insider also added that Microsoft is aware of the sensitivity of this matter. It knows that users of these games might get annoyed by these display ads. So, it plans to create a private marketplace where only selected brands or advertisers will display their ads after buying the ad space. It would also ensure to show ads in a way that doesn’t cause any disturbance to the users. The ad content will blend in with the game format to prevent any distraction. Moreover, it will be keeping a check and balance to ensure that the limitations are being fulfilled properly. So, we can expect that there won’t be any video ads, pop-ups, or full-screen ads.
According to the sources, Microsoft doesn’t plan to earn commission from the ad revenues it will display on Xbox games. Instead, it is focusing on building the ad network for Xbox. It wants the ad revenue to be distributed among the game developers and tech companies. There have been speculations that Microsoft is not interested in getting money from the ads because it wants to provide game developers with an opportunity to make more money by allowing ads to run on their platform.
At the same time, it also aims to provide security to the consumer data and prevent any third party or outside company’s involvement in it. Moreover, it doesn’t even plan to allow advertisers to use consumer data for targeted ads after gathering it from other searches like Bing. It is evident that Microsoft is pretty concerned about the privacy of the consumer. Although it has collected data from search queries of Bing, Telemetry on Windows, and other platforms, it doesn’t want the advertisers to do the same. It has also brought in two companies recently, i.e., Activision Blizzard and Xander, to build the ad network on its platform.
Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed whether it has pitched the ad program to the advertisers or brands yet or not. However, sources have confirmed that it will launch the program in the third quarter of the year. The developers might be able to make more money through the ad program than the paid content in their free-to-play games. It would also help brands reach younger audiences who are not easy to target anywhere else in the digital media.
To Sum Up
Microsoft has recently proposed the idea of adding ads to Xbox. It has given a few statements to the Insider about it. It seems like it is looking for the best interests of both the game developers and the brands or advertisers. Sounds like a good plan so far; however, we will still have to wait until the third quarter of this year to see how Microsoft puts this plan into action and what results come out.