EA wants to try in-game advertising again, but promises a ‘thoughtful’ approach this time

"This time will be different!" -Andrew Wilson, probably


This year has already provided all kinds of CEO-level lunacy, so what’s one more to the pile, right? This latest case of C-suite brainworm brilliance comes courtesy of Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson, who confirmed in the company’s latest earnings call that he’s considering another round of real-world ads in video games. 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. We’ll be very thoughtful as we move into that, but we have teams internally in the company right now looking at how do we do very thoughtful implementations inside of our game experiences.”

Exactly where these thoughtful ads will be thoughtfully applied isn’t clarified by Wilson beyond a suggestion that they’ll be present in “more traditional AAA games” as opposed to ones that could be found in mobile games currently.

As referenced in the opening, this is not the first time EA has attempted this sort of thing — and arguably with all of the subtlety and grace of a pro wrestling elbow drop from the top turnbuckle. Real-world ads were applied to Battlefield 2142 and Need for Speed Carbon in 2006, as well as to several sports games in EA’s catalogue in 2007; Barack Obama had campaign ads for his presidential bid in 2008 within Burnout Paradise; and ads for a Netflix TV series were introduced into UFC 4 in 2020, though they were quickly removed after fan backlash.

source: Gamespot via Kotaku
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