Facebook have announced that they are to start testing adverts within VR games that run on Oculus devices, a move that should surprise literally no one. Blaston from Resolution Games and ‘a couple of other games’ will be the first to get in the in-game adverts which seem to be limited to, at present, to billboard type advertising.
“Our primary focus at Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) is to bring more people into VR, advance the consumer experience, and make progress on our longer-term augmented reality initiatives,” say Facebook. “We’re also exploring new ways for developers to generate revenue—this is a key part of ensuring we’re creating a self-sustaining platform that can support a variety of business models that unlock new types of content and audiences. It also helps us continue to make innovative AR/VR hardware more accessible to more people.”
“For now, this is a test with a few apps—once we see how this test goes and incorporate feedback from developers and the community, we’ll provide more details on when ads may become more broadly available across the Oculus Platform and in the Oculus mobile,” they add.
The adverts will follow the same rules as the Facebook platform in that they will be targeted and players will get the same sort of controls over advertising as they do in on the social media platform. “We’re including controls to hide specific ads or hide ads from an advertiser completely. Users can also access more detailed Ad Preferences from any ad via our “Why am I seeing this ad?” explain Facebook.
The media giant will be scraping their massive database of likes to target the ads but will not be using any data from the headsets themselves, things like movement, height, weight, or voice chat from Oculus will not be used.
We’ve seen this sort of advertising before in games, in the past racing titles like Burnout Paradise have had billboard adverts that promoted real world products, but Facebook have plans for other types of advertising within VR games.
“We’re currently investing in unobtrusive ads as a new way for developers to build businesses—and though we’re not quite ready to test them yet, we’re also exploring new ad formats that are unique to VR,” they say, concluding “A more profitable content ecosystem is a critical step on the path to consumer VR becoming truly mainstream.”
Interesting thinking, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo all became mainstream without in-game adverts, it’s only recently with the dawn on mobile games that advertising became only way to make money.