Sony Wants to Put Ads in PlayStation Games: What We Know So Far

You’ll find advertisements on YouTube videos, on the radio, on websites you visit, and on television channels, but usually not when you’re playing video games.

That could change very soon, however, as Sony looks to place ads in PlayStation games, perhaps following suit from Microsoft. Let’s dive in.

Sony Is Developing In-Game Ads

According to a Business Insider report (article behind paywall), Sony is looking to put ads inside PlayStation games in a way that feels natural to players. Business Insider previously announced that Microsoft was looking at a way to incorporate ads into games without impeding on users’ gameplay experience, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a shock to you that Sony is also pursuing this.

Currently, you can find ads on PlayStation menus that are used by developers to try and promote their games. You’ll also have ads on video apps, such as YouTube, and listening apps, such as Spotify (if you have a free account). This move could see you being served ads while on a free-to-play game.

What Do We Know About Sony’s Plans?

Sony is working with adtech partners to try and incorporate ads in-game without impeding your experience, with the ads going for a naturalistic feel. This suggests that you won’t find yourself taken out of the gaming experience mid-game to watch an ad, but rather would have ads on the menu or elements in-game that you don’t need to interact with.


For example, this could be digital billboards on sports titles such as Madden and FIFA, or tiles on a menu with different ads displayed that you can interact with should you so choose.

It could be that you’re rewarded for engaging with certain ads, such as getting in-game currency or special cosmetic icons similar to how free-to-play mobile games operate with their ads. According to the Business Insider report, Sony is looking to make sure that personal information, such as your name and email address, will not be collected through the advertisements.

The plan is to roll this out by the end of 2022, so you can expect to see this before long if you play free-to-play games.

What Are the Implications of In-Game Ads?

With any development like this, it’s a good idea to take a moment to think about how this could affect your gaming experience.

So far, it looks as though Sony and Microsoft are looking at rolling out this development with your experience at the forefront of their focus. Having in-game ads is unprecedented, and it’s good to see that companies looking to introduce these are keeping in mind consumers’ experiences and trying to make sure you’re as uninterrupted as possible when gaming.

However, we’ve seen that a lot can change quite quickly, for example with YouTube first starting with one ad before a video and then bumping it to two ads. It isn’t unreasonable for you to predict that, in the future, companies may completely litter games with ads.

If you predominately play free-to-play games then you likely already recognize that companies need to find some way of monetizing it, otherwise releasing the game for free wouldn’t be possible. The danger is of ads becoming such a forefront of a game company’s focus that it impedes your gaming experience.

Companies also need to be mindful of creating an environment where watching ads rewards you so much that it makes it unfair to other players who would rather focus on actual talent in the game over watching ads they don’t care for. If you’re in the camp of disagreeing with in-game ads and so choose to boycott them, you could very well be put at a disadvantage if ad-watching is turned into a way to earn rewards or cosmetic items.

So far, it looks like Sony is playing it safe, but this can quickly change.

Is Sony Making the Right Move With In-Game Ads?

Sony is looking to put ads in its games to encourage developers to continue creating free-to-play games. It’s possible free-to-play gaming on PlayStation may look a lot different for you by the end of 2022.

So long as they aren’t targeted and aren’t invasive, it looks like the fairest compromise between gaming companies and you as the consumer.


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