Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S owners have threated to sell their consoles and boycott Xbox if Microsoft goes ahead and implements a controversial feature in Xbox games. In a new interview, Microsoft’s Sarah Bond suggested that Xbox has “talked” about running ads in games similar to mobile games. Bond is not the first gaming executive to talk about this, nor will she be the last. In fact, companies are patenting technologies for this as we speak. At this point, it seems inevitable, but it’s a future Xbox fans want no part of. As you would expect, Bond’s comments have been making the rounds within the Xbox community, and the reception has been very negative.
“We invest a lot of time in how we introduce more business model diversity; how we create more options,” said Bond while speaking to Rolling Stone. “We talk a lot about Game Pass because subscription is the latest option that we scaled: you have pay-to-play, then there was free-to-play, and then we introduced Game Pass. We’ve talked about how we’re experimenting with other models, like what does it mean for advertising in games which is more prevalent in mobile – are there models of that that work well in PC and console? Are there other models where you might have timed slices of games and stuff like that?” she continued. “Providing creators with options and choice enables them to experiment and do what they like, and actually create more immersive and creative experiences without having to fit into a mould.”
As you can see, Bond doesn’t make any commitments, but simply notes there have been talks about these new advertisement models. That said, it’s enough to have some Xbox fans sharpening the pitchforks.
“I’ll sell my Xbox the moment they start doing games with ads. Imagine being so far behind the competition and your response to that is… more ads to play from your ad filled dashboard,” said one Twitter user while responding to a tweet from industry account Idle Sloth relaying the comment. “Same! Turn my back on Xbox the moment they will do this,” added another Xbox fan.
It remains to be seen what will come of this, if anything. That said, the industry has been seemingly heading in this direction for a while. And the more prevalent free-to-play games get, and the more prevelant subscription services get, the more ads will be incorporated into games and the consoles that play them. This seems inevitable, but perhaps the potential backlash for those that try it on the grand stage first will be enough to keep it at bay for a while.