Thanks to a number of bad decisions made by Electronic Arts in the past few years, their reputation isn’t exactly the best. Despite owning a number of game franchises that are greatly beloved, EA has a tendency to shoehorn something in that harms the experience: usually, something to do with money. Many still remember the loot box crises of Battlefront II and Halo Infinite.
However, even EA wouldn’t go so far as to literally put ads in their games, right? Or would they really force you to watch an ad between Battlefield matches, a la YouTube? Well, some concerns have arisen regarding this matter, following a report from Axios that stated that Simulmedia, the makers of the in-game ad platform known as PlayerWON, signed a deal with EA for exactly that: in-game ads.
Sounds pretty rough, but according to Electronic Arts and Simulmedia themselves, the report doesn’t mean what players fear. A spokesperson from EA told the media, “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.”
This doesn’t mean that ads in video games don’t or won’t exist, but as far as the PlayerWON platform is concerned, Dave Madden, the head of Simulmedia, claims that players will never see an ad unless they opt into doing so. If there’s an ad someone agrees to but doesn’t like, they can skip it entirely. For those that do choose to watch ads in their games, they will allegedly only exist in downtime (we assume loading screens and the like). They will also provide players with “rewards that enhance their personal experience without giving them an unfair advantage over players who opted not to watch the ads.”
Needless to say, most of this doesn’t sound that bad, but that’s operating on the assumption that it will all remain true whenever they are implemented into games. Unfortunately for EA, their word doesn’t inspire trust much these days, thanks to their many mistakes in the not-so-distant past. However, this mistrust and disdain may not be entirely warranted.
After all, while there’s no denying the mistakes EA has made over the years, they have generally done their best to correct those mistakes and striven to avoid them afterward. In this particular case, EA has had in-game ads before, in UFC 4. That time, the implementation of the ads was met with significant backlash, and EA removed them from the game.
With all of that said, considering their prior experience with how not to implement in-game ads, we hope that the publisher will manage to avoid those mistakes again, whenever they decide to implement them with the help of PlayerWON. It would be kind of embarrassing to make the same mistake a second time.