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Breaking: Microsoft Acquires In-Game Ad Firm Massive

Breaking: Microsoft Acquires In-Game Ad Firm Massive

May 4, 2006 | By Simon Carless

Tech giant Microsoft has officially confirmed that it is acquiring Massive Inc., the New York-based in-game advertising firm, in a move that the company says "will help deliver dynamic, relevant ads across Microsoft's online services, starting with Xbox Live and MSN Games."

Massive employees will continue to work from their current locations, including their headquarters in New York and offices in London, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Paris, Sydney, Cologne and Toronto. Financial details of the acquisition, which was heavily rumored last week, were not disclosed.

This significant announcement may significantly affect the in-game ad market, which has been fiercely competitive to date, with deals with major publishers swiftly expanding, as companies including Double Fusion and IGA Partners fight for game market share. There are now outstanding questions regarding how Massive will interact with other in-game ad firms in serving ads across Xbox Live to the Xbox 360, something which had not been allowed thus far by Microsoft, and how and when third-party ad serving solutions will be permitted for X360 titles.

The deal is also intriguing considering that Massive has already signed prominent deals with Sony Online Entertainment, a major division of Microsoft archrival Sony, and is providing in-game ad serving for some of SOE's MMO titles, including The Matrix Online and Planetside - the companies have not yet updated on the status of these deals.

Interestingly, Kevin Browne, General Manager, Xbox New Media and Franchise Development, Microsoft, is scheduled to give a keynote at the CMP Game Group-run Game Advertising Summit in San Francisco next month, where Mitch Davis, CEO, Massive, Inc is also appearing on a panel alongside Jon Epstein, Board of Directors, Double Fusion; Chris Gilbert, President & CEO, Adscape Media; and Justin Townsend, CEO, IGA Worldwide, putting a distinctly different spin on both the keynote and panel for the recently announced event.

According to the official statement, Microsoft also has begun exploring how to apply Massive technology to incorporate dynamic advertising into other online environments, such as Windows Live and MSN, and to make it available on the adCenter advertising platform. "We are committed to building an advertiser network that serves a wide spectrum of needs," said Kevin Johnson, co-president of the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. "Our acquisition of Massive will expand opportunities for advertisers and enable connection to a broader audience of digital consumers."

"Joining forces with Microsoft will allow Massive to deliver even greater benefits for advertisers, game developers and gamers through one of the world's largest, most comprehensive online networks," said Mitchell Davis, CEO of Massive Inc. "While our current business relationships will remain in place, with Microsoft we have the prospect of extending our technology into a vast array of new markets and online environments."

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