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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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