Ads in paid games will always be contentious, as Capcom has shown with their attempt to further monetise Street Fighter V before this. With that being said, it looks like both PlayStation and Xbox are looking at putting ads into their free-to-play games.
Business insider reports that both Sony Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft are building a program to let advertisers buy ads in each platform’s games. Their implementation would be similar to the SFV situation, being put in more innocuous places like in-game billboards.
This will be a major change to the current ads climate on both console platforms, where they only show up on the dashboard menu. Both companies also began discussing the matter internally pretty early. For Xbox, this started around 2018 or 2019. As for PlayStation, it was after the launch of the PS5.
On Microsoft’s part, sources claim that the company does not intend to take a cut of the ad money. Instead, Xbox ad revenue will go to the devs of games that use the ads, and the adtech company involved. The company is aiming to simply build the Xbox ad network.
SIE, on the other hand, has yet to decide if it wants to take a cut of PlayStation ads. On the flip side, it may even charge developers and publishers for data on consumer activity.