At some point over the last week, Electronic Arts took a game already full of ads—it’s a sports game, it comes with the territory!—and added more. Only this wasn’t an in-world kinda deal, it was a literal commercial flashing around in the middle of a fight.
You can see an example in the gif above, with the flashing logo—appearing after quick mid-round action replays—accompanied by matching ad placement in the middle of the octagon.
Once folks noticed, a Reddit thread popped up and quickly moved to 90k likes and a comfortable spot on the site’s front page. Reddit’s collective “durh EA bad” default mindset obviously contributed there, but it’s also some genuine bullshit, given the fact previous series’ ads have been relegated to menus and not the middle of a fight.
Responding to the backlash, EA’s community team posted a statement:
Earlier this week, the team turned on ad placements in EA SPORTS UFC 4 that appeared during the “Replay” moments in gameplay. This type of advertising inventory is not new to the UFC franchise, though we have typically reserved displaying ads to specific main menu tiles or Octagon logo placement. 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. Thank you for your continued feedback on EA SPORTS UFC 4.
So they’re gone and won’t be coming back, which is nice.
While we’re on the subject, and because I’m in the middle of reviewing 2K21, this is a good time to remind you that the NBA 2K series has been running lengthy, mid-game and unskippable Gatorade commercials for years now, and they are 10x worse than this (you can see one near the bottom of this post).
I don’t point this out in the hopes it too gets a 90k Reddit thread, but just to say it’s surprising EA backed down so quickly given 2K simply don’t seem to give a shit what people think.