EA wants to shove ads into AAA games, but in a ‘thoughtful’ way

The company has previously run in-game ads for the likes of Best Buy, The Boys and even Barack Obama

Mass Effect Commander Shepard

Electronic Arts (EA) has expressed interest in featuring ads across its portfolio of games.

In its May 7th earnings call, EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, said people within the company are exploring different methods of in-game ads. While he notes it’s “still early on that front,” he says the team is aiming for “very thoughtful implementations” of ads. For Wilson, advertising “has an opportunity to be a meaningful driver of growth for us.”

Of course, Wilson didn’t mention any of the times that EA has controversially shoved ads into its games in the past. In fact, those efforts go back as far as two decades, with the company featuring billboards for the likes of Burger King and Best Buy in 2004’s Need for Speed: Underground 2.

But the company took it several steps further later in the 2000s with the likes of Need for Speed Carbon and Battlefield 2142Burnout Paradise even had ads for then-senator Barack Obama’s presidential bid. Most recently, the company came under fire for quick promotional shots of Amazon’s The Boys mid-fight in UFC 4.

Of course, sports games like UFC 4 or EA Sports FC 24 (formerly FIFA) having ads for Puma and other athletic brands is logical, but promoting everything from electronics retailers to presidential candidates is something else entirely.

It’s also yet another example of corporate greed, especially considering that EA already makes billions from live services alone, on top of additional revenue from single-player experiences like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. The company even makes over $1 billion every year from microtransactions in EA Sports FC alone, not factoring in the likes of Apex Legends or The Sims.

It should be noted that EA is hardly the only gaming company that’s played around with in-game ads. A recent example is SCS Software, allowing trucking company Schneider National to feature recruitment billboards in American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2.

But EA’s track record in the likes of UFC 4 and Burnout Paradise doesn’t instill confidence. Hopefully, BioWare Edmonton’s next Mass Effect game doesn’t feature an ad for an upcoming Disney+ Star Wars show on the side of an N7 spaceship or something.

Image credit: EA

Via: Tom’s Hardware

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