An advertising platform by the name of playerWON and owned by Simulmedia will allow companies to sign up for in-game advertising to be featured in their Console and PC games. These ads will function similarly to mobile game ads and are based on rewarding players’ in-game items and currency. The market strategy of the company is to target free-to-play games. PlayerWON is already starting to catch on with publishers like EA Games, who publish Apex Legends, and Hi-Rez, Publishers of Paladins and Rogue Company, have already signed up for the service.
A pilot version of the program has already run in Smite. According to feedback received from it, during that pilot, players were “much more likely” to play a game and spend money if the option to earn items through ads.
Since one reward from these ads is the in-game currency, it is possible this program could benefit both gamers and developers allowing games to not need to pay to eventually unlock items while the developer turns a profit. However, since most games have a free in-game currency and a paid one, this possibility remains to be seen.
The program is designed to target a younger audience between 18 and 34. This is because this market has proven to be more difficult to reach with conventional marketing. Similar to most mobile games, the only way to receive your reward is to watch an ad to completion.
Simulmedia’s own research has found that players are willing to watch up to 10 ads a day for rewards in any given game. Considering all the other ways humans waste our lives away, this number doesn’t seem too crazy. Not that this is the future I want to be living in, but I feel better sitting through an ad for Apex than I do sitting through any of the mobile game ad machines I have had to.
As Simulmedia’s own Dave Madden points out, 90 percent of the free-to-play market usually ends up not paying any money. This is another avenue for these companies to make a profit with them. So far the plan is to implement this feature into at least a dozen games by the end of 2021.