The format of viewing ads for a fee, popular in mobile, will soon come to the market of console and PC games. The new playerWON platform will embed small videos made on the principle of TV advertising into titles. EA and Tencent have already signed an agreement with it. However, many players and some developers took this news negatively.

What is playerWON and how does it work?

This is a platform created by Simulmedia. Initially, the company specialized in TV advertising, but now it has decided to apply its experience in the field of games.

To do this, Simulmedia has been testing the technology and the possibilities of introducing advertising into console and PC games for a year. The results of the study showed that gamers are willing to watch up to 10 similar videos a day in exchange for in-game rewards.

“The growth of free-to-play games on consoles and PCs, like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Warzone and Roblox, speaks to the growth of the audience and the time they spend in games. However, more than 90% of players still never spend money on freeplay projects, said Dave Madden, executive vice president of Simulmedia, in a conversation with Axios.

The company intends to change the situation with the help of playerWON. The platform will work as follows: users will be able to choose whether they are ready to watch commercials with a length of 15-30 seconds during the game. In exchange, they will receive various rewards — for example, skins for weapons and characters.

With the help of special Simulmedia technology, developers will be able to embed advertising in games and choose the rewards offered to users. playerWON, for its part, will monitor whether the player has watched the necessary video to the end.

According to Madden, Simulmedia has already signed agreements with Electronic Arts and the Tencent-owned Hi-Rez studio. The latter is known by MOBA Smite.

It was in this title that the company tested the capabilities of playerWON. It turned out that when viewing ads for a reward, users are more willing to spend money in the game. The share of paying players who interacted with similar videos in Smite was 11%.

By the end of 2021, Simulmedia plans to introduce playerWON into a dozen other games.

Reaction of the gaming community

It is not yet known whether playerWON will be used only in free-to-play games or will also be used in premium titles. However, many gamers on the web criticized Simulmedia and gaming companies, imagining how an advertising video would suddenly turn on in a conditional DOOM during action scenes.

However, most users in principle do not like the idea of embedded advertising on consoles and PCs.

“Any game that uses playerWON is immediately a “no” from me. I will not buy your game if you implement such a system, the user wrote on Twitter. “EA, I swear to God, if you add ads to the game for $70, you will never see a cent from me again,” another user added.

This idea was also criticized by some developers. “I swear, if I see such an advertisement, I will permanently delete the game. This is not possible, said Dmitry P., senior technical designer of Rainbow Six Siege.

“When EA doesn’t kill studios and expose their corpses, it tries to introduce mobile advertising into console and PC games. After all, this is exactly what users want!”,Bruno Beaudoin, founder of the indie studio Blazing Bit Games, sarcastically noted.

Sports journalist Joe Yerdon also spoke negatively about playerWON. “As a person who uses video games as escapism, my comment on this is: to hell with it, let it all fly to the darkest depths of hell, he wrote.

Financier and video game investor Stephane Rappeneau noted that he had long been talking about the convergence of the mobile and PC markets. This is indicated by the growing popularity of the free-duplex model, marketing attribution and cross-platform launches (for example, Genshin Impact).

Stefan Rappno

The appearance of playerWON is easy to explain from a business point of view. For gaming companies, this is a banal additional way to earn more money.

Advertisers are also looking for new ways to target their products to a young audience aged 18-34. In this case, in-game advertising, which is cheaper than other integrations, can help. As Axios explains, the CPM of such videos, shown twice an hour, will be around $20. This is significantly less than the budgets that major brands spend on advertising on TV or streaming services.

However, from the point of view of ordinary users, the introduction of such a model into big games looks like just another way to “cash in” on them. On consoles, players are used to paying for the finished product, and therefore the introduction of traditional mobile formats naturally causes a negative reaction.