Why aren't there ads embedded in mobile games?


I was wondering why wouldn’t popular games embed real ads in their game (such as we have everywhere in real life for general goods - food, furniture etc.). For example, in a 3D endless runner there could be visible billboards with real ads added to the environment . It would reduce the friction created by interstitials and I’m sure the audience reached would be higher than a real billboard placed somewhere on the side of a street (for games that have millions of downloads and an active player base).

I read a couple of reasons I found in a few searches on Google, but all of them were speculations and seemed a little far fetched to me.

Thank you!

One big problem with Advertisements placed in the game world is they are often only shortly visible or not good readable.

Advertisers have to make sure that the advertisements they give to apps to show are displayed in a way that the person on the other and that is paying for that advertisement is happy with it.

Checking how the advertisements are placed into the world would have to be checked by a human and unless you have a gigantic successful game it’s mostly not worth the work.

Just showing a full screen or a banner app makes it a lot easier to guarantee how the add is shown.

In-game billboards have been done, but user engagement is hard to measure with that format. It also breaks with whatever form or style your game world is trying to deliver. Imagine a space game and there’s an ad for Pampers diapers on a billboard. It would look lame, and break the style of the game.

Now you can counter with an argument that the advertiser could design the ad to fit the theme, but now you are talking about reaching out to the advertisers, negotiating custom ads just for that one game, etc. That’s a lot of effort! They will want guarantees that you’ll expose the ad to millions of eyeballs.

It’s been tried. It just doesn’t work that well. I think one of EA’s SSX games has billboards for a Honda vehicle and down at the end of the slope, there’s the vehicle sitting there. Nobody wants that in a game they’ve paid for. For a free game? Maybe. But you still need the size and influence of an “EA” to get those kinds of sponsors.

It has been done. Look up Superfrog and Lucozade for example. If you’re a massive franchise like GTA, you could possibly negotiate a deal (brand or developer) but then you have associations and what people might do to your brand in game. Typically big brands wanting gaming coverage will create their own game and maintain control rather than go to some unknown or risk some ghastly YouTube video of their brand being used in an unconventional murder or stupid virtual car stunt.