Xbox mulls free access to ‘slices’ of games via ads

Microsoft is considering adding advertisements to the console gaming experience, perhaps as a means of giving gamers free access to portions of Xbox games.

In an interview with Rolling Stone UK, a key Xbox executive says the firm is looking at ways developers can be more flexible in maximising the revenue from their games.

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The exec Sarah Bond (who is the Xbox Corporate VP for Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem, to use her full title) hints that Game Pass subscriptions might be the only way for users to access the library, or at least portions of it.

While free to play experiences, backed by advertisements, are part-and-parcel of mobile gaming and underpin that entire business, it’s far less common in console and PC gaming. Any attempts to shoehorn ads into console games has been met with huge resistance from gamers.

“We invest a lot of time in how we introduce more business model diversity; how we create more options. 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,” Bond says (via Ars Technica).

“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? 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.”

Precisely what Microsoft has in mind here remains to be seen as Bond is typically vague for a corporate executive rather than someone on the gaming side.

Would you be interested in enjoying the first half an hour of a new triple A title like Starfield, for instance, if you had to contend with a few ads beforehand? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.

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