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Xbox explores in-game advertising with new patent

At present, the idea seems to be pointed towards free-to-play games.

Halo infinite showing raid shadow legends banner
Image: KnowTechie

Microsoft is working on technology that will show personalized advertising to players while they are in Xbox games.

The existence of this tech surfaced by Gamesual, who noticed a patent filed by Microsoft early this year. The patent’s name is “Providing Personalized Content for Unintrusive Online Gaming Experience.”

That’s a long way to say, “we’re putting advertising in your games.” Earlier this year, a report from Business Insider said Microsoft was working on in-game advertising for free-to-play titles on Xbox.

This patent’s existence would back that report up, as the application was filed before the reporting. The patent mentions one possible use as advertising boards around a soccer field.

It’s a perfect match, to be honest. Sports games should have relevant advertising shown. It feels weird when the only in-game ads are for imaginary products.

Illustration from microsoft patent for in-game advertising that shows it being used on the hoarding around a soccer pitch
Image: Patentscope

Other in-game advertising uses might be on in-game radio stations. The patent also mentions billboards in urban locations.

Whatever your feelings on in-game advertising are, the inclusion of real-world products will make games feel more immersive. Advertising is everywhere in the world we live in.

Should the escapism of video games be immune? Or does bringing real-world products into game worlds anchor them in our shared experience?

We can’t decide, but there seems to be a place for tastefully done in-game advertising.

Xbox isn’t the only console working on in-game advertising. Sony’s PlayStation group is also working on in-game ads for free-to-play titles.

It is important to note that these in-game ads are one possibility. It’s also good that the programs only mention free-to-play games, which somehow have to recoup their development costs.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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