EA says “there is a place for advertising” in free-to-play games

There’s always money to be made somewhere.

Image via EA

In July of last year, it was reported that EA had signed a deal to run ads in its games. You don’t need to worry, as it turned out to be untrue. At least it was then. Now, it seems EA is open to in-game advertising under the right circumstances.

The revelation comes from the big-name publisher’s Q4 2022 earnings call. CEO Andrew Wilson was asked about monetization in free-to-play games — an idea that has recently been on the minds of folks at Xbox and PlayStation, according to recent reports. “What we’ve seen generally though in entertainment media and even in games, particularly in mobile games right now, [is that] there is a place for advertising when done right,” Wilson responded. “There is a portion of the community that, when given the choice, will participate in advertising where it benefits their gameplay experience.” Wilson’s words ring true: many a mobile title offers the ability to earn more in-game currency or quicker cooldowns if the player is willing to sit through an ad. It’s not a stretch to see this practice being extended to free-to-play titles on other platforms beyond iOS and Android.

“We want to ensure that the player experience is the best possible player experience that we can provide,” Wilson also stated. “That’s why you’ve seen us kind of test various [revenue] models over the course of time.” Those words seem to imply that EA would be willing to give free-to-play ads a try. Other than last year’s debunked report, there hasn’t been any buzz about such a practice though.

The same cannot be said for PlayStation and Xbox, however. A recent report claims that PlayStation is working with adtech companies to find ways to implement advertising in free-to-play titles. A similar report of Xbox doing the same thing came around the same time.