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WP8 Start Screen Now with Adverts

Will Windows Phone 8 have an Advert Tile?

There is still a lot we do not know about Windows Phone 8. What we do know is that it will share many things in common with the slightly newer Metro inspired UI’s of the Xbox 360 and Windows 8. Let us discuss the recent trend with Microsoft inserting advertising into its products using metro tiles. These adverts are already present in Windows 8 and the Xbox 360. Will those advert tiles be making an appearance in Windows Phone 8 too? 

WP Central Apollo Mockup with Ads

The Xbox 360 has changed its dashboard of late so that it now actually displays a reduced in size game tile that sits in the top left hand of the main screen. The rest of the UI consists of a huge central tile with rolling ads for content and features, whist in the bottom right there is an actual advert.

If we look at the Windows 8 Release Preview, we can see some similar ideas being tried out. Admittedly, not on the home screen (yet), but within the Music and Video Hubs there exists placeholders for adverts. It’s also worth noting that where an advert placeholder doesn’t exist in a hub, like Xbox live games, the first place you are taken to is a multi-tiled avert page for the Marketplace games content.

Windows 8 Music Hub Advert Placeholder

I happen to pay for Xbox Live Gold subscription; I find the ads on the main landing page pretty odorous. Adverts and promotions on Xbox 360 actually side-line my own paid content (you know the game I spent £40 on!) to a tiny tile on the screen. One would expect that the actual game would occupy the main tile in the centre of the screen.

The Xbox design is an extreme example of advertising being shoehorned into a Microsoft’s product. I do wonder will we see adverts supplementing more of their operating systems income. I see no reason why an advert tile couldn’t exist on the Start screen of both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, the potential income could be huge. After all, the adverts exist on a Microsoft product that folks are already paying a subscription for, why not take that further?

Would you object to adverts on your start screen? Where do you see this trend going? I’d love to know your thoughts..



There are 96 comments. Sign in to comment

I hate adverts, if it is in a free app, it is justified but even after paying!
It should be disabled by default and people who like to watch out for offers or something can enable it.
The new xbox dashboard is full of adverts and that is spam!!

jdep1 says:

+1 if adverts are present within the os I'll will move to another os. I don't mind on free apps

I agree. I've been a huge supporter & push Windows Phone everyday. But if they keep pulling this shit, I'll leave ALL Microsoft products for good!

Gmotagi says:

This is probably the only thing that would make me consider using another platform for my phone. If i've paid for a high end smartphone I don not expect to be spammed.

theboo says:

I just wont accept ads in the OS.

ousooner314 says:

Agreed. Displaying ads on a phone (without running an app) would potentially use our data plans and can be considered intrusive. It would cause me to re-think my platform of preference.

apocacrux says:

My feelings as well. If there were non removable ads on my home screen the I would immediately switch to another OS.

iamoniwaban says:

I too will move to an alternate phone. Adds in a free app sure, on a device that I paid for, and continue to pay for services is not. will there be adds in the upcoming windows 8?

nizzon says:


Saljen says:

I'm an AVID Windows Phone fan, purchased my HD7 on day 1 and plan to upgrade to a WP8 device asap. However, I agree with you. If this is the case, on principle I will switch to Android. I bought an iPhone 2g when they were first released (yes, I'm an early adopter) and havn't bought an Apple product since because of how they act in the court room. How a company conducts itself has an impact on their consumer base and I for one will not tolerate adds on my homescreen.

ade333 says:

Agreed. I wouldn't even consider a WP8 phone if there was and ad tile.

Pappa Ed says:

Agreed. I paid for my phone and I pay for my monthly services. If Microsoft starts cluttering up my start page with adverts, I'm done.

hurler64 says:

Yup, I feel the same way. I love the os but if I am not in control of the content I'll switch.

PhilR8 says:

Totally agree.  If there are advert tiles on the start screen that cannot be removed, my current WP device will be my last.
If there are advert tiles in the Zune app or the Games Hub, then I'm not so sure.  The XBox Live ads don't grate on me too much, even though I dislike them. 

ousooner314 says:

That would be a terrible move... I really hope they don't bring ads to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. They're already present in most free apps, and that's where it should be!

Sarang68 says:

Euww. That would destroy the Metro feel.

Verkunder says:

You're assuming something that is so ridiculous. It would never happen. And another thing--your game taking a small tile on the dashboard makes sense. You press A, then play it. You don't need it to update and show you information. This article seems written by a fifteen year old.

Agreed, writer is reaching for controversy here.
On Xbox it makes perfect sense. The layout for the game is on default to just hit A when Xbox is turned to play the game, I actually wished for the game tile yo change pictures, etc a bit. The center big tile is not your typical add. Its an xbox content add that shows you what's new Xbox live know the service you paid for...i like it so I am not browsing and figuring out OH that's now....the smaller bottom right tile is also part of the what's newpaid content but focuses on games... Halo 4, or mass effect(currently what I am seeing)...that the only one that can be a bit annoying to some but it's pretty non intrusive. I've actually paid for a game I like the mini preview on that small add tile... Lol

codylew says:

Agreed!! I actually enjoy and use the large tile in the middle of the start screen to see whats new to XBL. Without it I would have to go search through tons of XBL titles. The small title at the bottle right I could do without but it really does not bother me that much at all. If they use the XBL tile of the start sceen for WP8 to inform me of new XBL titles offered on the phone I am ok with that since it's nice to know whats new. Ads on WP8 start screen on the otherhand are not ok. Microsoft will lose more money placing ads in the start screen from people (loyal fans) jumping ship.

Jay Bennett says:

Verkunder, this is a discussion piece which is asking a question of our readers, it was filed under 'editorials' which I admit is not declared clearly in the app, I will look to improve this. Advertising on larger screen metro experiences will be a big discussion point because the UI lends itself very well to this form of ads rather than banner adverts.
For instance, a Windows 8 wpcentral app may well have tiled adverts rather than banners as they are less intrusive to the overall design of the app

Duffau says:

But I dont consider this an ad in the sense that it's advertising a car or some gum. Aside from the one tile that is an actual ad (which I guess can be annoying since we pay for live), everything else is showing off what the Xbox has to offer. Its advertising in the sense that the marketplace advertises featured apps or iTunes advertises new music. The space on Xbox is well taken up by content that the service offers as well as your purchases and options. It is incredibly unlikely that an ad would show up on the main page of WP8 and to suggest otherwise would be ridiculous IMHO.

schlubadub says:

I actually don't mind it on Xbox as they've *always* had advertising or featured content in some form - It's just more visible with the metro layout. Also, it's always relevant (games/apps/dlc) and not ads for coke or random crap... They're also very easy to ignore.
However, if there is a single shred of ads in W8 I will switch to Linux in a heartbeat... If there are ad tiles in WP8 that you couldn't remove I would switch to Android immediately - no matter how much I love WP and Windows in general, this would be an instant deal-breaker. The advertising is bad enough in MSN, I simply won't tolerate it in the OS itself.

apocacrux says:

The Xbox ads are not always relevant, with Axe, Starbucks and various car companies occupying those space. Not all of them even have a prize-winning promotion.

schlubadub says:

I'm not American so I've never seen such ads. I've only seen ads for stuff you can buy in XBL itself (games, music, videos, accessories, specials etc). So either I don't spend enough time on my xbox to notice, or they don't have the advert networks setup overseas.

venetasoft says:

If ads regard Ms ecosystem news (is new games/apps), or app deals, an ad tile will be nice (if I can disable it).

barry.weston says:

Agree. If it is ads for WP content or MSFT content fine. If it is for window cleaning... I would seriously consider android, despite how much I love WP.

theefman says:

Sounds like the same "complaint" since the new dashboard was introduced. Pretty ridiculous to think MS will actually place ads on a screen with limited screen real estate. The ads in windows 8 are where they should be, and in fact the same ads exist in WP7, just open the music hub and somewhere there's an ad for the Zune music pass. Discreet and unobtrusive and relevant to its context. Would not expect to see that on the start screen and even if it was, should be a simple task to unpin it.

Alternatively buy an android phone, I'm sure you'll be safe from advertising then. /s

gorebashd says:

That would piss me off. Grr

LordGreylock says:

Doing this would kill windows phone. At least for me. I would not deal with that on my phone. With xbox live it is a bit annoying but I can tolerate it. However not on my phone especially since I use it for business, it's more of a tool than a toy and I don't need distracting ads.

simplescheme says:

hahaha nice one although please do not speculate on such negative topics. I can already see the fandroids over at the verge doing an article where "sources familiar with the matter" ....

Its a trolling speculating article...

Jay Bennett says:

Quicksilver it is an Editorial piece designed to encourage discussion of how the large screen metro UI might lend itself to a different style of advertising. Please treat it that way and enjoy the discussion, rather than accusing our staff of trolling

brainimpact says:

I object to having a tile on my screen updating eating into my data that i buy from a third party for my use not microsofts

I don't think Microsoft is stupid enough to put adverts on the home screen of either Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8.  The only way I'd tolerate it is if I opt in to ads to get some additional service, just like I accept ads in Wordament and other apps that I get for free.

robert brand says:

Well I'd certainly hope they pull back on the trend of pushing ads (for content) on users.

vaultboy21 says:

I actually like the XBL ads, they're clearly marked as ads and provide engaging content.. as for Windows 8, at least on using the Release Preview, I can say there are absolutely no ad live tiles present whatsoever. I'm guessing WP8 will be much the same.

robert brand says:


The screenshot I took of Windows 8 shows the tile for ads?

Click on the Music hub, first screen bottom right, nice big tile with "advertisement" is there. There is no ad displayed right now, but it’s certainly coming. Perhaps MS is looking to supplement its OS income for lower cost SKUs of Windows 8. Put enough ads in and no reason why the OS couldn’t be free?


stormhit says:

That's the Music App/Xbox Music service. I don't think every app running in Windows 8 qualifies as being "Windows 8."

mmoses1978 says:

I hate ads , I also have an Android phone I play with and that's one of the biggest thing I hate about Android is the ads on apps.

bpgui says:

If they put a non removable ad tile on the WP8, I won't be using WP8

lippidp says:

+1 I'm not going to Android or iPhone because the reasons I didn't choose those in the first place are still there. I will just stay with WP 7.5 as long as possible.

cannon#WP says:

The only way I can see this working is if the phone is heavily discounted if you opt in for the ad phone. If the new Nokia Lumia 8 is $29.99 new with ads activated vs $149.99 w/o ads, that might be compelling to some people.

robert brand says:


Well if the argument for ads on Xbox360 is that they allow free promotions and content then how about they use the ad revenue to give WP8 users free Spotify or Pandora for instance?

fieldeffect says:

Or provide an API to let app developers do that on an individual basis themselves, i.e. let the developer choose to have Microsoft sourced ads put on the back of their own live tiles, or even adding a "third side" to live tiles for ads. That would have another benefit of getting developers to do more interesting things with their live tiles, because they'd all want to encourage users to pin their apps so that the ads get more impressions.
Personally I would find ads on my live tiles less annoying than ads when I am actually in the app, and if Microsoft did it this way then they'd be transferring the majority of the backlash from themselves to the app developers while still getting ads from their ad platform on lots of home screens. And if people really objected they could vote with their feet by not using the apps that do it.

DavidinCT says:

I would only accpet it if they paid for part of my data plan (for example 2gb is $30 a month but, you'll get $15 for 2gb or get an extra gb with your current plan).
Maybe they will do it like bing bucks or something, perks towards stuff for having the ads...

Big Supes says:

Advert tile? Yeah, do that and I'm off...

nizzon says:

double post damnit disqus

ChrisSsk says:

That would be a deal breaker for me, especailly since the selling point of metro and the start screen is all the info you want at a glance. Its the same problem I had with my.msn that made me use igoogle instead.

drg says:

I highly doubt this will happen. Must say this is the first article I've read on WP Central (and I've been reading since April 2011) that I've said that's a load of hog wash. I could be wrong and if I am I'll eat my shorts but seriously, MS are way smarter than to put advertising on the OS, of Win8 or WP8. I've got an xbox and it doesn't bother me a bit, but that's because it's a media device and most of the ads are for meda content, so I don't mind at all.

Hector1van says:

My guess is that it would be in the default start screen. But easy uninstall just like the Att apps. No neef for drama

zeke009 says:

No ads on my phone unless I bought the cheapest, most subsidized phone on the market (I won't do that though). Ads like this would drive me to another mobile OS after a long history with Windows flavored phones.

jkercado says:

I would place that tile right at the bottom. Problem, advert?

xmarklive says:

So Coke zone would be on the opposite side of the picture tile ,I would laugh and the throw my phone ......but they can put them In the apps.

robert brand says:

Good spot! Oh yeah, if it flipped over on the picture tile there would be some drama there!

sicnus says:

If I am forced to deal with ads for something I paid for, I will go someplace else that doesn't do that or keep my trusty HTC Trophy and WP 7.5

anseio says:

Currently, I refuse to pay for any OS that will force adverts on me. A free OS, sure. But never one that I pay for.
"Why am I paying you to advertise to me?"

bc3tech says:

Wow. if this happens... yeah, i'll interop unlock my device so fast...

ikissfutebol says:

I'm confused. Is this all a hypothetical or is there an actual rumor floating around about this becoming a reality? If the author made this all hypothetical, it's an awfully good way to start a bad rumor.

riot9 says:

I agree.   This seems like a rant against Xbox ads, disguised as an Windows Phone editorial/opinion piece.  I expect this kind of thing from WMPowerUser, but not from WPCentral.

Jay Bennett says:

This is an editorial piece for us to discuss thoughts with you, our readers. However assuming you read this through the app it is not perfectly clear, I will make sure the next app update labels the categories of articles

Curtieson says:

I thought the last editorial had the title:  "Editorial: yadayda, blahblhah, tonight at 6"?

Jay Bennett says:

Yes we do sometimes mark them ourselves, and will perhaps aim to mark them consistently in the future for app users

Curtieson says:

Don't forget lazy is helpful for those of us that constantly/always skip right over the article category to read half the article so we can then post some sort of semi-informed comment!

Advertising for Xbox 360 stuff would be cool

Well I'm sure u could take the tile off people come on lol

Movie preview on a home screen hell yeah I'm for it game previews I'm for it but a shampoo r body wash ad lol no but ill take a funny Doritos commercial any day on my home screen lol

ejb222 says:

Looks like an article written specificlly for trolls.

Et Tu, Robertus?

Bushybro says:

Hell no!!! Ads are annoying and intrusive. Like someone before said, if it's a free app then fine, but other than that no.

jabtano says:

If I have to have an avert tile I will not upgrade no matter what no if ands or buts about it.....i don't mind and understand 7.8 on current devices but I draw the line on adverts getting a bad feeling about metro right now

Glen Brady says:

Hell yes I'd object to adverts on my phone's home screen.

ctleng76 says:

As long as the tile can be removed I don't care.  If it cannot be removed from the start screen, then it is back to Android for me.

DavidinCT says:

Ok, targeted ads on my Xbox 360 it might be acceptable. For example if I was playing COD black OPS and they show  a ad with a new or DLC map, ok, I'm fine with that. Infact, I would prefer it as I would never know this game addon was available unless I looked for it.
Now, on my 360, I get car ads and other stuff that has NOTHING to do with the game I am playing or own. That I DONT LIKE. So, I pay for Xbox Live and You still are giving ads ? Offer it for free and have the ads like most products.
No ads period on my phone. I pay for the data plan, I pay for the timed calls. If Microsoft wants to pay for part of our data plan, then I am ok with ads on my phone but, otherwise, I would not get Windows Phone 8 if that was mandatory.
Maybe Microsoft will have a "bing bucks" type of thing. Run the ads on your phone and you get points toward gifts or products. That might be acceptable for some people..

pallentx says:

Maybe on the desktop or Xbox, but screen real estate is too precious on a mobile device.  

peterjr1boom says:

No chance. I hate the fact that my Xbox (which I have a gold memenership for) gets ads, if my phone and tablet also got these annoying ads I would not tolerate it and I will get a new phone.

BKsInBarre says:

This main issue with that would be MS would be using your data plan to update their ad. Most carriers don't have unlimited data plans..I am one who does until I upgrade to 4G.

MediaCastleX says:

I really don't see on the Start screen in windows or the phone actually having ads like the 360 apps and hubs it makes the most sense but the only reason we see them where they are on 360 is because of its TV location makes it prime real estate to sell sell sell...

stormhit says:

Content discovery is really not the same thing as advertising. I'd rather be notified what deals and content are available rather than having my screen taken up by a game launch image of something I'm already aware I own. I put it in the disc tray, I don't need to be reminded.

erasure25 says:

It should be an opt-in thing. If people don't mind ads in exchange for special deals, promotions, pricing, then they can enable it. Should be off by default.

johnmcd348 says:

If this becomes intrusive with paid apps, I can see myself moving over to Mac or another OS, maybe even Linux.  For a free app, I can fully inderstand, expect, and support the advertising.  If I pay Microsoft to have their OS installed on my computer, I do not and will not give them permission to display ads on my computer.  Unless there is a way to stop it, I will not use the OS and will move on.  I use pop up blockers to avoid dealing with SPAM and other adverts.  I would hope somebody will figure out the registry hack or "app" that will prevent them from becoming intrusive on my home screen.
I read a few posts about this already being an issue with xBox.  I don't have one yet, since I was waiting for the newer 360+, 720, 7.632......, whatever it will be coming out either this year or next so I cannot speak for that.  If it too is an issue, I can't see myself spending that kind of money on a system and games, only to have to deal with advertisements that probably aren't even targetted towards my demographics.
I'll wait and see after everything comes out and it all settles down.  We're in a huge world of speculation and rumor right now.  Sometimes, it's not as bad as it seems.

This simply isn't going to happen. Pure speculation.

With the Xbox being a gaming platform, it makes a certain level of sense. It is a device focused on gaming and for many, the only way that people know about new games and DLC packs is to see the advertising for it. Really, the dashboard is the hub for the marketplace, and we see advertising for various apps immediately upon hitting the WP marketplace.

As for W8, once again, you only get the advertising when you enter the Xbox hub, marketplace, music hub, etc. You only get advertising where it makes sense.

ATCraiger says:

Adverts would be completely ridiculous on a phone. For a device I paid for and signed a contract to get, I expect, and I think deserve, an ad free experience on a device I will be carrying around 24/7, storing very personal information. I have not seen ads on any other OS on the home screen and if Microsoft began doing them, it would seriously cause me to consider changing platforms.

kallemia says:

Will dump Windows and Windows Phone if this is the case.

haleme says:

Seems like there is a fundamental misunderstanding between managed and unmanaged content. The Xbox 360 and Xbox Music and Video apps in Windows 8 are managed platforms/apps with managed content. The start screen on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are unmanaged.
The Xbox 360 has a managed interface. You have very little control over the tiles that appear in the dashboard. Xbox Video and Music in Windows 8 uses the same concept, but is based off the content you consume.
In Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7.5, I can add or remove whatever I tile want from the start screen. If Windows Phone 8 follows Windows 8, this will continue to hold true. I can't see Microsoft making a big deal of how individual you can make the start screen, then prevent users from removing tiles. Even Joe states in demos that he doesn't want to pin items to the start screen because it will disrupt the flow.
This story appears to be a nonissue to me.

Wow lots of whining,complaining and threatening. Typical of WPCentral comments,are you guys really that gullible to think MS would do this?

gman1868 says:

Advertisements in a PAID PRODUCT? Is Microsoft intensionally trying to kill any acceptance of Windows Phone or Windows 8? This is greedy and foolish. I don't mind seeing ads in free apps, but as part of an OS that I paid to license? Thats CRAPWARE MALWARE.

The ads on my Xbox I actually kind of like, but if I had a live tile with ads playing, I'd switch to iPhone like that.

andy_wh2000 says:

I think that an advert tile wouldn't be too bad if implemented like amazon did with the kindle. Choose a subsidized device with advertisements or the regular price to get the platform into as many people's hands as possible. I finally bought a kindle for that reason. If they're open about it and allow you to buy out of subsidy after if you wish. Why not. It would only work if they do it right. If they do it at all.

Big Supes says:

If wp8 gets an ad tile, Blackberry 10 couldn't come soon enough... there's no way I'll go back to Apple or over to Android.

jamsjordn says:

I LOVE ADS. They make the world go round and can be interesting and funny at times.
I highly doubt they will put this on the home screen of either wp8 or w8 and the current advertising in w8 in the music hub doesn't ever effect me and is a good example to 3rd party apps of how they can implement non intrusive ads unlike the banner ads in WP.
In the long shot that there is an extremely cheap phone introduced that is ad supported then that is completely cool and I would consider getting one.

I think it would be pretty cool if Microsoft enabled developers to put ads on a live tile when it flips to the back side. Then developers could make free versions of their apps/games with ads on the live tiles! I hate ads, but I think this would be pretty cool.

vanadiumxero says:

Microsoft have told developers of Windows 8 apps quite a few times now that advertisements via live tiles on the Start screen aren't allowed. I see no reason they'd treat the phone any differently, or for them to violate that standard themselves.

jwinch2 says:

I hope that you are correct.  I am excited about Windows 8 Phones but if there are ads popping up on the start screen I will not make the switch from Android. I'm sick of being bombarded with advertizements everytime I turn around and I refuse to have it on my phone.  I delete every app on my android that puts ads anywhere but in the app itself and most of the time, I shell out for the "pro" version so that I don't have to put up with them.  I'm not having it on my start screen, or anywhere else for that matter.