Xbox may add advertisements to free to play games

Microsoft is reportedly assessing plans to add advertising spots to its free-to-play games.

As reported by Business Insider ($) (opens in new tab)  (thanks, VGC (opens in new tab)), the megacorp – seemingly aware of the possible backlash from fans – is reportedly “moving cautiously” with its plans, but is considering creating “a ‘private marketplace’, where only select brands can insert ads into games in a way that doesn’t disrupt the gameplay experience”.

BI acknowledges that it was “unable to learn if Xbox will also offer other types of in-game ad units, like avatar skins or video ads that play in gaming lobbies” and was “also unable to determine if Microsoft has pitched the Xbox offer to advertisers yet”, so it doesn’t look like we’ll see ads in our games any time soon.

Interestingly, one of the sources that discussed the plans with BI pointed out that Microsoft “isn’t currently interested” in boosting its own revenue by taking a slice, but instead wants to support partners that make free-to-play games. 

“One of the sources speculated Microsoft isn’t currently interested in collecting a cut of ad revenue because it wants to provide more money-making opportunities to developers who make free-to-play games,” Business Insider said.

Microsoft recently revealed that ID@Xbox has helped its indie partners generate $2.5 billion in royalties (opens in new tab) since the program launched nine years ago.

Microsoft says the results “have exceeded our wildest dreams”, with independent developers securing more than $2.5 billion in royalties, and the total revenue generated by ID@Xbox partners on Xbox almost doubling over the last three years. “These are staggering numbers, and it speaks to the power of independent developers,” Xbox said at the time. 

Did you catch the news that a new Xbox-related product called “Keystone” has been datamined (opens in new tab)? Dataminer Tero Alhonen claimed they’d unearthed details of a new Xbox product codenamed “Keystone” and said it has been explicitly highlighted as a “product” in the datamine rather than an event or game. 

There’s more good news for Xbox fans, too – it looks like Xbox is holding an E3-style showcase later this year (opens in new tab). Whilst not formally confirmed by Microsoft just yet, the rumor comes courtesy of an industry insider who recently claimed that the show’s organizers are talking to publishers about its own digital event expected to be held sometime in June.

Here are our picks of the best Xbox Game Pass games (opens in new tab).

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