A rumour that Sony and Microsoft could put virtual ads inside their video games has sparked an uproar among gamers.
Just days after Netflix's CEO revealed the streaming giant is toying with the idea of a cheaper 'ad-supported' subscription tier, Business Insider has claimed Playstation is looking at placing ads for real-world products on virtual billboards inside its video games.
Players will reportedly earn free in-game items for engaging with ads by looking at them or even clicking. Sony has been working on the program for around 18 months.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is reportedly working on a 'private marketplace' where it can sell in-game ads for free-to-play games on Xbox. It claims this is to generate money for game development and that it would not take a cut.
Both companies look set to trial or implement the ad programs by the end of the year.
Many gamers notoriously hate the presence of advertising in games, as demonstrated when Battlefield 2042 added an in-game billboard promoting Logitech products.
On Twitter, gamers have shared their outrage at Sony and Microsoft's apparent plans. One user, dickdickens69, said "if they do [it] I'll never buy a game again."
Another user said: "Hell to the no. There's a reason why people hate mobile games. The ads. If Microsoft forces you to watch ads on their games, people will stop playing / buying them."
Other gamers are more receptive to the idea. One user said: "As long as it's not video ads in between games and it's only on free to play games, I'm fine with that."
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Another user, Perlrulez, even wrote: "Honestly I love more ads on the Xbox. I wanna be shown what's the next best thing to buy."
Sony and Microsoft have been approached for comment. This article will be updated with their response.
This week it was also revealed that Netflix could slash its subscription prices in half if it goes ahead with suggested plans to introduce ads to the service.
After the streaming giant lost hundreds of thousands of subscribers, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told investors that his firm "is quite open to offering even lower prices with advertising, as a consumer choice", and plans to trial an ad-supported cheap tier in the next year or two.
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