Sony patents method for PlayStation in-game advertising that stops games to show you a commercial

sony patents method for playstation in game advertising that stops games to show you a commercial god of war ascension

In-game advertising is not new. When you fired up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game by Konami back in 1989, there were Pizza Hut signs covering about 75 percent of the levels. Hell, the turtles themselves were a brand being promoted through the game! In-game advertising has never become the pervasive force everyone though it would though. You may run into a strangely out of place billboard for Under Armour in Nigeria’s slums while playing Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, but you’re not going to come across a 2 minute commercial telling you to “Eat Fresh!” at Subway to max your character’s stats. At least, that is, not until Sony implements its patented “Advertisement Scheme for use with interactive content” technology in PlayStation games.

NeoGAF user onQ13 spotted a patent describing said technology on Thursday. The method of advertising described should be familiar to anyone who’s ever watched television: You’re playing a video game, the video game stops while an advertisement is shown, and then you continue playing the game.

At least the game will warn you first. In the images detailed in the patent, a message warning you that the game is about to stop will pop up before the ad, followed by another warning that the game is about to start back up. The examples show pictures of “Best Brand Soda!” with the slogan “You’ve Got to Try It!” which, while generic, seems horrifyingly similar to what would actually appear in a game.

As Eurogamer notes, this is an extended version of a patent previously filed by Sony in 2006, well before the launch of the PlayStation Network which would host these ads as described in this version of the patent.

In game advertising has always been a sticking point for players because, unlike television, video games aren’t a free service. That copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was $60, so you’ve paid for the product already, and additional advertising in the game is placed in the environment so as to not intrude on the play experience. Watching an episode of Community on NBC meanwhile is entertainment paid for by advertising, so interrupting the program for that purpose is understandable. There’s also the issue of multiplayer gaming. Unless all participants in multiplayer games are paused to view advertising, these interruptions could irrevocably break the game.

These contentions against in-game advertising still hold true, but not for free-to-play games–Many free-to-play games online, especially browser games, are supported by advertising in addition to microtransactions. Sony’s technology could feasibly be implemented in free-to-play versions of retail games unsupported by microtransactions, making the ads more palatable for players on a budget.

Would you play a version of God of War: Ascension that was free but was interrupted by commercials every ten minutes?

Digital Trends reached out to Sony’s PlayStation Network team to discuss the possibility of advertising-supported games on the service. We will update this article when they respond.


The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

Among hundreds of choices, these are the 25 best SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System just might be the greatest game console ever made, but which are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.

From first-person to arcade, these are the best shooter games on the PS4

The PlayStation 4 is one of the most popular video game consoles of all time, and it has a ton of different shooters available to choose from. These are the best PS4 shooter games of all time.

These Xbox One games will let you use your trusty mouse and keyboard

A select number of Xbox One games support mouse and keyboard control schemes, and more are being added in future updates. Here are all the Xbox One games that support mouse and keyboard.

From the games to the hardware, here's what we know about the Sega Genesis Mini

The Sega Genesis Mini console was just announced, and it's set to release later this year. Here is everything we know about the console, including its hardware, as well as a list of included games.

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.

Cuphead is like a Saturday morning cartoon I never want to end

Revisiting Cuphead on Nintendo Switch is just as memorable as it was on Xbox One nearly two years ago. Cuphead's aesthetic has a magical quality that transports you back to the childhood joy of discovery.

How to get into the Halo: Reach beta on Xbox One and PC

Halo: Reach is coming to The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One and the recently announced PC port. Ahead of its unknown launch date, Microsoft and 343 Industries will host a Halo: Reach beta for both Xbox One and PC users.

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console.

Kick off your streaming career with our complete guide to Twitch broadcasting

Streaming games on Twitch for the first time can be daunting to say the least, but with a few simple steps, it's remarkably easy to do. Here's how to do so using a PC, Mac, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 console.

How to share your best gaming moments on the Xbox One and its app

The current generation of consoles makes it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

Make some room in your backlog. Here are all the games to look out for in 2019

2019 is already a huge year for video games, with a large number of series getting new installments, including some that have been dormant for years. Brand new franchises are also being created.

Halo: Reach beta might be delayed, PC version needs more work

Halo: Reach is coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection this year for both PC and Xbox One players. Invites were expected to go out toward the end of the month, but 343 Industries now says they may be delayed.