When a $70 upfront purchase, paid DLC, and microtransactions just aren't enough.
A screenshot from Battlefield 2142 showing an in-game advertisement for Pepsi on a billboard.

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson says that his company is now considering putting ads into traditional AAA titles. These "AAA" titles being those that already start at $70 each, especially on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

This reveal from Wilson came during a Q&A portion of the company's latest earnings call. This is the same earnings call where Wilson talked about the "tremendous live service" for the next Battlefield game. Eric Sheridan from Goldman Sachs asked Wilson about inserting dynamic ads into traditional AA games. Wilson's response is as follows.

…we have teams internally in the company right now looking at how we do very thoughtful implementations inside of our game experiences.
At least those ad additions will be "thoughtful." In the past, many in-game advertisements (IGA) were about as in your face and blatant as you could possibly get. Sometimes, entire games were built on the idea of just being one big advertisement. Soda brand 7-Up had the game Cool Spot, Pepsi had the infamous Pepsiman game, Chex had the Doom total conversion game Chex Quest, and so on. There was also Burger King that launched their own three-title lineup of games staring the King.

Some games were a bit more subtle in their ad inclusions. The Dreamcast release of Crazy Taxi included Pizza Hut restaurants in the game world. Naturally, a ton of sports games, including those from EA, also rather seamlessly incorporated ads in the form of official sporting good brands that actually fit well into that sort of environment. More recently, the Yakuza and Judgment franchises often incorporated real world locations and businesses to make their game world feel more real. Some of these places include, but are not limited to, Don Quijote stores, Club SEGA arcades, Pronto cafes, Gyu-Kaku, and more. Those games also often incorporated many products and services into their game worlds such as the DARTSLIVE dart machines, Japan Tobacco brand cigarettes, and more. Still, some of the product placements in these titles do stand out like sore thumbs, such as flat out being able to buy a can of Pepsi or Mtn Dew from convenience stores and an Uber Eats billboard in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name.

Other games just added ads in the way of billboards to the game environments. One of the more notable times this happened was back in 2008 when then presidential candidate Barack Obama purchased in-game ad space across 18 different Xbox titles. One of those 18 titles was Burnout Paradise, where ads urging young adults to vote early, or to just vote in general, were adorned on several roadside billboards within the game world.

Electronic Arts continued this whole billboard advertising thing in at least one other game: Battlefield 2142. EA partnered with IGA Worldwide. Within Battlefield 2142 these soldiers of the future would often come across billboard advertisements for products and companies such as Intel, the Ghost Rider movie, the DVD release of I Am Legend, and even for Pepsi. When the billboards weren't promoting third-party products, they were used to promote upcoming content updates and even entirely new games such as the case where Battlefield: Bad Company ads appeared within Battlefield 2142.

The ad placement within Battlefield 2142 was not exactly what most would consider to be subtle or "thoughtful." It will be very interesting to see if their second attempt at pushing ads in non-sports titles will be any better than their first attempt was.

(Top image via TechSpot)