Fan backlash over recently introduced intrusive in-game ads sees publisher EA cave to the pressure and remove them from UFC 4.
After significant backlash from unimpressed fans, EA Sports has backtracked and removed in-game ads introduced post-release from UFC 4, even admitting that their intrusive nature may even be too much by its own lax standards.
Over the weekend, reports emerged of new ads worming their way into UFC 4, with Redditor Ydino sharing a clip showcasing ads for the second season of Amazon’s The Boys series. As the clip illustrates, the ads pop up during replays dominating the screen for a few seconds, appear etched on the octagon mat, and flash intermittently above the in-game round timer. You can the clip below.
As Ydino points out, these ads were not present in UFC 4 at launch and were introduced in recent days, roughly three weeks after EA released the game on Aug. 14. The Redditor adds that their late inclusion may have been an attempt on EA’s part to avoid criticism in reviews at the time of release. The timing certainly adds weight to that theory.
After the clip was posted, fans quickly vented their frustration in the comments, noting these types of ads are expected in free-to-play titles, but not from a full-priced $60 game.
Sensing a bubbling controversy, EA Community Team member CoreySA shared an update to the same Reddit thread yesterday. The team member noted, seemingly trying to rustle up some form of justification, that though this type of advertising is not new to EA’s UFC franchise, the publisher has taken steps to remove them from the game.
“It is abundantly clear from your feedback that integrating ads into the Replay and overlay experience is not welcome. The advertisements have been disabled by the team and we apologize for any disruption to gameplay that players may have experienced. We realize that this should have been communicated with players ahead of time and that’s on us. We want to make sure our players have the best possible experience playing EA SPORTS UFC 4, so ad integration in the Replay and overlay experience will not be reappearing in the future.”
While the stealth addition of new ads should come as no surprise from the likes of EA, the publisher tacitly agreed that it had gone too far this time around, raising hopes it may think twice before dropping them into future titles.