Microsoft Goes Massive With In-Game Ads

Microsoft made a massive move today into the world of video game advertising as it announced the acquisition of Massive Inc, a New York based creator of in game advertising. Massive maintains a large network of game developers with which it works to promote well known brands as in-game items such as soft-drink cans and pizza boxes, on billboards and posters, and in images on TV screens “where gamers would expect to see them in real life, adding realism to the overall gaming experience”.

Under the terms of the deal, of which the financials were not disclosed, Massive employees will continue to work from their current locations in various cities. Microsoft stated their move in this acquisition was to “deliver dynamic, relevant ads across Microsoft’s online services, starting with Xbox Live and MSN Games”. The computer giant promised to “prioritize gamer satisfaction, applying very rigorous standards to ads before they can be included in a game. These standards allow for only those ads that add realism and entertainment value to the overall game experience, not those that might detract from game play”.

This ad-funded model reportedly allows game developers a greater stream of revenue from which they can develop and push “the creative boundaries of video games to deliver the best gaming experience”. Besides in-game ads, Microsoft is also looking at how to apply Massive’s technology to online initiatives such as Windows Live and MSN, and to make it available on the recently announced adCenter advertising platform.

“Advertisers are having a tough time connecting with the elusive 18- to 34-year-old male demographic because this group continues to spend less time watching TV and more time playing video games,” said Joanne Bradford, corporate vice president of Global Sales and Marketing and chief media revenue officer at Microsoft, in a statement. “Massive and Microsoft can help lead with our shared vision of delivering more targeted, measurable and effective opportunities for advertisers to reach today’s youth audience in a largely untapped market.”

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