According to a recent report by Business Insider, Xbox seems to be hard at work on what’s being described as an “in-game advertising program” for free-to-play games on the platform. The report in question cites at least 2 people who are involved with the program.
The idea is to let advertisers use virtual space to showcase their ads for players to see in free-to-play games. For instance, a car-racing game could have ads on virtual billboards. It’s also been mentioned that Microsoft acknowledges that such type of behavior could end up backfiring and irritating consumers, and as such – it’s working to keep the ad-viewing experience as non-gameplay intrusive as possible.
Furthermore, the report also states that Xbox wouldn’t share any consumer data with advertisers and it isn’t even taking a cut of any generated ad revenue (though plans could definitely change sometime in the near future).
Microsoft has reportedly been planning the program for many years, but the project really started to gain traction with the launch of Xbox Series X/S and the sudden rise in popularity of free-to-play games. On the topic of release dates, the program is expected to launch sometime in the third quarter of 2022.