Critics complained not just that they were seeing ads in a paid game, but that the timing was dishonest. The ads appeared roughly two weeks after UFC 4’s launch, or well after initial reviews. If you were an early adopter, you wouldn’t have realized you were in store for a marketing blitz. While advertisers are clearly eager to reach gamers who might not watch much TV, EA appears to have overestimated players’ desire to sit through any ads that disrupt gameplay.
This isn’t the first time EA has had to change a game in response to an uproar over commercialization. Most notably, it revamped Star Wars Battlefront II’s progression system after gamers balked at a pay-to-win loot box mechanic. EA has been accused more than once of putting its desire for post-sale revenue ahead of the gameplay experience, and UFC 4’s brief dalliance with ads won’t help its reputation.