EA Is Putting Advertisements Directly Into Games

Bjorn Stokke

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During a recent investor meeting, the top management in EA discussed how they can squeeze more money out of their products. One of the questions raised was whether they could push advertisements directly into their games. This has been tried before, and the top management responded that they are already looking into possibilities for such implementation.

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Is EA Making a Big Mistake With In-Game Advertisement?

Money is the topic of the day, and for EA, this is not old news, nor is it for the biggest gaming companies in the world. Money is what drives these companies forward; it’s what their game developers, designers, janitors, and executives all have in common—they all need it. But how these companies acquire it is up to each one.

In a recent investor meeting, there was discussion on how to integrate more advertisement directly into games. If you’re unsure how this works, take a look at motorsport, where it’s common to see race cars covered in stickers from various sponsors. This is the concept we’re considering implementing, only more direct and perhaps more lively. In video games, the possibilities are nearly limitless. Would you like to see a TV in the game showing ads for Dr. Pepper or Coca-Cola? Or perhaps a plane towing a long banner advertisement as it flies by? These are simple features to implement, and it could actually become the reality for future games.

It’s still uncertain how directly players will be exposed to these ads, but EA CEO Andrew Wilson mentioned that they have always tried to be mindful of how they expose players to this in their games. It has to feel natural, so it doesn’t disrupt the gaming experience.

To answer your question on advertising broadly, again, I think it’s still early on that front. And we have looked over the course of our history to be very thoughtful about advertising in the context of our play experiences. But again, as we think about the many, many billions of hours spent, both playing, creating, watching and connecting and where much of that engagement happens to be on the bounds of a traditional game experience, our expectation is that advertising has an opportunity to be a meaningful driver of growth for us.

-Andrew Wilson

Sneaking advertisements into games is a sensitive topic for many. Some don’t care, some get annoyed, and for others, it’s completely out of the question. Nevertheless, it can actually have a positive effect. I draw parallels again to motorsport, something most of us can relate to. In motorsport, advertising is a major driver; without it, the sport wouldn’t survive. It’s not cheap to buy cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it’s not inexpensive to have an entire team behind you when you’re not an established winner.

If advertising is integrated into games in a natural way, we believe it could go reasonably well, as that’s the future. If EA starts with advertising in their games, you can bet that the rest of the big players will follow suit to increase their bottom line; after all, it’s “free” money for the company. It won’t be many years before advertisements are beamed directly into our minds, mark my words.

FURTHER READING: Game Streaming 101 and How You Can Get Started.

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