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EA boss thinks ads in triple-A games would be 'meaningful' growth driver

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Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

May 10, 2024

2 Min Read
Gabriel Kruger in Mirror's Edge Catalyst.
Image via DICE/EA.

At a Glance

  • Wilson wants EA to be 'thoughtful' with how it puts ads in its games, but can that be done when ads are already interruptive?

What could help triple-A games get even bigger right now? According to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, the answer lies in ads.

During a recent earnings call Q&A, Wilson was asked by an analyst about "dynamic ad insertion" in triple-A titles as a means of revenue. While he thinks it's "still early" for that, he noted its potential as a "meaningful driver of growth" for the publisher.

In fact, internal teams at EA are already exploring "very thoughtful [ad] implentations," Wilson revealed. For him, the important thing is to build up communities in games, then figure out how ads are potential growth drivers.

"We have looked over the course of our history to be very thoughtful about advertising in the context of our play experiences. [...] As we start to build community and harness the power of community beyond the bounds of our games, how do we think about advertising as a growth driver in those types of experiences?"

Do video games (and EA) really need ads?

EA's not the only company considering placing ads in games. Back in January, it was reported Netflix was eyeing in-game ads for its game service, but only for customers on Netflix's ad-included tier.

Netflix Games is a small (and free) arm of the streamer, and the ads are one of many options Netflix is considering. It was also looking at in-app purchases and simply charging money for "more sophisticated" titles.

It's worth noting that live-service titles like EA Sports FC (née FIFA) and Madden have consistently brought revenue to the publisher on a yearly basis. In fact, EA ended its 2023-2024 year with revenue of $7.56 billion, up two percent from last year.

Full game (read: not live-service) titles like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was said to have made up $2.02 billion of that revenue. Unlike TV, it appears that games are doing fine sans ads, despite how "thoughtful" they're intended to be.

Game Developer reached out to EA to ask about which games the publisher would put ads in, such as Apex Legends or its next live-service Battlefield title. We'll update when a response is given.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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