Microsoft Patent Suggests that Personalized In-Game Ads Might Soon be a Reality


‘Personalized advertisements’ may soon become a reality in video games as Microsoft files a patent describing a system to display ‘personalized content to players.’

Although the concept of in-game advertising is not new and has been employed in games such as Epic Games’ and Fortnite in some capacity, the ‘personalized’ aspect has yet to be fulfilled. This may soon change, as a recently filed patent by Microsoft implies that the Xbox parent company is working on a system that would allow such targeted adverts to be integrated into online gaming.

The patent, titled “Providing personalized content for the unintrusive online gaming experience,” was first discovered by Gamesual. It outlines an intricate system that video game publishers could use to display ‘content personalized for every player’ in cloud-based online games. Without altering the features of the specific video game, these ads would be concurrently shown in real-time alongside gameplay.

Included in the filing are three noteworthy diagrams: one displays the positioning of an advertisement billboard with the XBOX logo inside a racing or open-world game, another displays a FIFA-style game with digital advertising banners covering the field, and a third displays a sports player sporting the Xbox logo on their jersey. These illustrations point to potential areas where sponsors may place their player-facing adverts.

Stating that cloud-based gaming platforms are gaining popularity, the patent published at the start of this month reads, “Having a computer-implemented system that provides seamless integration between gaming and content placement without changing the underlying game is advantageous in many ways. The disclosed system can be integrated into cloud-based gaming platforms to provide smart advertisements in live streams of games. By providing personalized content to users without losing the inherent quality of the game, users can enjoy the game without interruption and, in some situations, without providing any payment.”

This technology may be favorable in certain respects, such as enabling independent game developers to generate revenue by displaying real-life brand commercials in their games and sustain them better. However, it could push designers to have a set minimum number of locations where the players can more easily notice and hear advertisements. It might not be as “unintrusive” as promised since players could begin seeing adverts on things they interact with more frequently than others.

Despite subsequently rejecting it, EA appeared receptive to including such advertisements in its games. Regardless, the fact that a significant entity like Microsoft Corporation is getting things started in this arena indicates that other companies will soon follow suit.

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