EA Sports UFC 4 was released with a lot of product placements and which has always been the case for the franchise. Replicating the Octagon, for example, would not be the same without an array of printed advertisements.
EA Sports UFC 4 though took one step further by having full-screen promotions for in-game replay moments to mimic commercial breaks. Making the situation even worse, the in-game adverts, which promoted the ongoing second season of Amazon’s television series The Boys, were added about a month after release.
Following heated backlash, the said ad placements during replay moments have been removed. According to a statement given to Eurogamer on the weekend, “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.”
The main criticism to note here is that the ads were integrated after release, which players have taken as an obvious sidestep from Electronic Arts to ensure that early reviewers would be kept in the dark. On that front, the publisher admitted that players should have been communicated with beforehand. “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,” the publisher has assured.
Furthermore, global franchise lead Corey Andress admitted as well that players “were right to call this addition, and lack of an update on it, out.” and that the developer “should have been more clear about it ahead of time and our intentions.”
As far as players are concerned, EA Sports UFC 4 was just being used by Electronic Arts to test out the waters. The publishing giant has always been on the receiving end of criticism for a heavy focus on microtransactions and fleecing business models. Hence, the community believes that if the in-game ads were not called out, EA Sports UFC 4 would have started a new trend for future installments.