Sony is reportedly to introduce ads for -to-play games on PlayStation consoles, including PS5 and PS4, to help game developers earn extra revenue. Free-to-play games have grown in popularity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A few days ago, it was reported that Microsoft was exploring monetizing free-to-play games through advertising. Promotions can run in-game, and publishers can reward gamers for watching ads with skins and other cosmetic items, while helping developers earn more from their games rather than in-game purchases.

Sony is currently working with ad tech partners on a software development program to help developers create in-game ads for -to-play games, Business Insider reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. The company has yet to decide it will get a cut of these in-game ads, the report said.

Publishers can now display promotions in in-game menus that point gamers to other games on the PlayStation Store. Certain apps that allow users to stream video can also serve ads. Meanwhile, new advertising opportunities Sony is reportedly exploring will allow developers and publishers to add promotional content directly to PlayStation games, encouraging them to keep developing those games, which are said to have grown in popularity during the pandemic.

The PlayStation maker is reportedly developing non-intrusive ads that can be integrated into games, such as those on digital billboards in stadiums. The ads will be sold through the private market, but the company is reportedly very strict about which ad tech companies will be part of the program. In any event, the collection of personally identifiable information such as names or email addresses is not permitted.

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Rival Microsoft is also working to bring ads to games on its Xbox consoles, which could go live as early as the third quarter of 2022, according to a recent report. The Redmond-based company has been building an in-game Xbox ad network since 2018.

Meanwhile, an Insider report suggests that Sony considering adding in-game advertising to -to-play games about 18 months ago after its current-generation PlayStation 5 debuted. In-game ad support is expected to launch by the end of the year. Vintage for PS5 and PS4.

By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...