Some players were met with an unexpected surprise this week when they encountered in-game pop-up ads for Assassin’s Creed: Mirage while playing Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. These ads would appear when players opened the map screen and showed the deal instead of a map. This is something you’d expect from a free game, not a premium one.
Ubisoft has since addressed the issue, stating that the in-game ads were the result of a “technical error” and have since been fixed. This was highlighted through a Reddit post showing the pop-up coming up when the map menu was pressed.
“We have been made aware that some players encountered pop-up ads while playing certain Assassin’s Creed titles yesterday. This was the result of a technical error that we addressed as soon as we learned of the issue.”Ubisoft spokesperson to The Verge
I don’t believe this was a technical error for a second. I wholeheartedly believe Ubisoft was testing the idea of introducing in-game ads into Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. This was the worst way to do so because it’s intrusive and unwelcome.
I don’t believe it was an error because of Ubisoft’s track record of monetization. I also don’t believe it was an error because it was set up so that you could press a button to go through with the ad and buy the game, or press another button to close the ad. This was set up a bit too well for it to be an error.
This isn’t the first time a company has experimented with in-game advertising. In 2019, 2K Games tried unskippable loading screen videos in NBA 2019, where you could watch an ad while your game loaded. This was pretty insulting. Pop-up advertisements for products are generally considered intrusive and unwelcome by gamers, even when they are relevant to the game world or support good causes.
If you paid for a game, it should not come with any form of advertising. You only agree to advertise when the game is free because that makes sense, the company has to pay the bills. However, developers need to leave gamers alone when they’ve already paid for a game.