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From the publisher that popularised loot boxes comes... in-game ads - didn't we do all this in in the late 2000s?

Growth is king in the big-budget video game industry, and EA CEO Andrew Wilson has an idea of how to spur it on.

Need for Speed Underground 2 in-game ad
Image credit: VG247

EA CEO Andrew Wilson has stated in a company earnings call that considerations towards adding advertisements into future video games are very much alive within the company. However it's not a surefire thing - and he stresses that they have to be "very thoughtful" about it.

Wilson says, "To answer your question on advertising broadly, again, I think it's still early on that front. And we have looked over the course of our history to be very thoughtful about advertising in the context of our play experiences. But again, as we think about the many, many billions of hours spent, both playing, creating, watching and connecting and where much of that engagement happens to be on the bounds of a traditional game experience, our expectation is that advertising has an opportunity to be a meaningful driver of growth for us."

That history is worth noting, as this wouldn't be the first time EA has dabbled in video game advertisements. Indeed, Need for Speed Underground 2 was ripe will billboard ads that players could see while driving around, Barack Obama even put political ads in Burnout Paradise in a somewhat controversial move. So the company on a macro scale does have a history with this, it knows what works and how far it can push before people start kicking off.

In-game advertising in video games has been this funny little experiment that gaming companies have been doing for ages - the temptation to throw marketing in the face of a traditionally young audience has proven devilishly strong. When overdone, you start seeing folks wondering why they paid a premium for a game throw ads their way, but some have managed to get away with it. Sports games, for example, have managed to chuck them in and keep things immersive. But there's a clear difference between that, and slapping a car into Overwatch 2.

Either way, it's something to keep an eye on. The video game industry is in a seriously rocky stretch of road right now, with suits looking for any opportunity to squeeze growth out of their games and IPs. Fingers crossed that if EA does decide to go ahead, the company will use a soft touch.

Let us know what you think about this below!

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