If you’re looking for a new Lexus or soft-drink, don’t turn on the
TV. Go gaming.
Ads delivered by Microsoft’s newest acquisition,
Massive Inc., will soon start appearing within games played with Xbox
LiveR, MSN Games and other Microsoft online services.
Integrating two areas receiving greater attention from the
software giant, Microsoft’s purchase of New York-based Massive links
its new AdCenter with its successful Xbox LiveR subscription service.
Analysts believe the in-game ad market will be worth $700
million by 2010.
Typically, in-game ads are 15 seconds long and inject themselves
into a videogame as a poster, billboard, television screen or soft-drink can. Advertisers include brand-name entertainment, auto or
Massive, a two-year-old company with 80 employees, will serve up
ads to nearly 200 game titles by the end of 2007, according to Mike
Goodman, a Yankee Group analyst who has surveyed the practice.
While Microsoft hopes to use in-game ads to capture the elusive
18- to 34-year-old male market, who increasingly are turning away
from television in favor of video games, the software maker also
plans to extensively use Massive to reach their full online audience.
Targeting users of MSN and MSN Messenger will reach women 35 years
and up who are casual gamers, according to a statement.
The Massive ad technology will also extend to serving up ads to
mobile users of Windows LiveT and the AdCenter platform.
Goodman questioned whether Microsoft will limit Massive to serving
only Xbox Live subscribers and whether competitors will be shut out
of serving ads to Xbox users. Such a practice would balkanize the
nascent in-game advertising market, according to the analyst.
Microsoft also announced the purchase of Vexcel, a Reno, Nev.-based imagery and remote sensing company. Vexcel will deliver dynamic
data to MSN Virtual Earth.