TV-Style Ads Coming to Console Games

Smite has been a testing ground for the new service.
Smite has been a testing ground for the new service. / Photo courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios

TV-style advertisements are coming to console video games, according to a report from Axios.

In-game advertising platform playerWON will launch this week, allowing marketers to insert their TV ads into video games that partner with the platform. PlayerWON, which is owned and operated by TV ad tech company Simulmedia, will offer players the choice between a 15- or 30-second video ad. Watching the ad will unlock exclusive in-game rewards.

Simulmedia's research has found players are willing to watch up to 10 ads per day if it means unlocking free rewards.

PlayerWON's platform is particularly appealing to marketers as it allows access to potential customers between the ages of 18-34 that may not watch TV. Streamers that serve these ads charge a premium to serve ads to this same demographic, whereas playerWON's platform is much more affordable.

So which games will you need to avoid if you're looking for even an instant's respite from the incessant advertising that permeates 21st American life? So far Simulmedia has inked deals with EA (shocker) and Hi-Rez Studios (ditto). These ads are already running in Hi-Rez' Smite, and the plan is to launch in-game ads in around a dozen more games by the year's end.

UPDATE 7/2/21 5:47 p.m. ET: An EA spokesperson has denied the company is exploring in-game ads. They provided the following statement:

"Following incorrect reports suggesting that we are looking to introduce ‘TV-style’ commercials into our games, we wanted to clarify that in-game advertising for console games is not something we’re currently looking at, or have signed any agreements to implement. Creating the best possible player experience remains our priority focus."