EA Faces Backlash Over Potential In-Game Ads in AAA Titles

EA is exploring dynamic advertisements in AAA games, sparking concerns and mockery from gamers. The company aims to implement ads thoughtfully, but players fear disruption to their gaming experience.

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EA Faces Backlash Over Potential In-Game Ads in AAA Titles

EA Faces Backlash Over Potential In-Game Ads in AAA Titles

Electronic Arts (EA) is exploring the possibility of implementing dynamic advertisements in their AAA games, sparking concerns and mockery from gamers. On May 7, EA CEO Andrew Wilson stated during an earnings call that the company is looking at "thoughtful implementations" of advertising in games to expand marketing opportunities.

The process, known as Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI), involves relaying commercial content to users based on their habits, history, and interests. EA had previously experimented with DAI in 2020 with UFC 4, which received negative feedback and prompted an apology from the developer. Wilson acknowledged that EA has been "thoughtful" about advertising in gaming experiences and is exploring ways to implement "very thoughtful projects" within its games.

The issue of advertising in video games is divisive, with some players viewing it as a natural evolution of the industry, while others are opposed to it. Advertising revenue is a significant source of income for many sectors, and EA believes it could be a "significant growth driver" for the company.

Gamers are concerned that in-game ads could compromise the integrity of their gaming experience. When purchasing a full-priced game, players expect a coherent and advertising-free experience. Any implementation of in-game ads would need to be done "thoughtfully" and without disruption, as Wilson acknowledges.

EA's official advertising website outlines three ways ads can be integrated into their games: dynamic in-game ads, sponsored content, and product placement. The company has a history of partnering with top brands like Nike, Pepsi, and Uber Eats for advertising in their sports games. EA has also experimented with unusual ad placements, such as billboard ads for President Barack Obama's campaign in Burnout Paradise and splash screen ads for Amazon's TV show The Boys in UFC 4.

In response to EA's consideration of in-game ads, players of Baldur's Gate 3 have taken to mocking the idea by inserting plugs for Raid: Shadow Legends into romantic scenes in the game. This move is seen as a tongue-in-cheek response to EA's potential plans.

As EA continues to explore the possibility of implementing dynamic ads in their AAA titles, the gaming community remains divided on the issue. While some see it as a potential revenue stream for the company, others fear it could disrupt the immersive gaming experience they have come to expect from full-priced games. The backlash from Baldur's Gate 3 players serves as a humorous reminder of the challenges EA may face in balancing monetization efforts with player expectations.

Key Takeaways

  • EA considers dynamic ads in AAA games, sparking gamer concerns.
  • EA CEO Andrew Wilson promises "thoughtful" ad implementations.
  • Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) relays ads based on user habits and interests.
  • Gamers fear ads will disrupt immersive gaming experiences.
  • Baldur's Gate 3 players mock EA's plans with humorous ad inserts.