As rumored, the Redmond giant will acquire the game network.
Microsoft has announced it's acquiring in-game advertising network Massive, confirming a published report last week that set the price at between $200 and $400 million. The software giant declined to provide details of the financial terms of the deal.
The company acknowledged the buy at its Strategic Account Summit, its annual gathering for advertisers and agencies.
The deal expands Microsoft's offerings to advertisers by giving it access to a network of game publishers, to which it can add Xbox, MSN Games and MSN Messenger. In a statement, Microsoft's VP of Global Sales and Marketing Joanne Bradford boasted the combination of Massive and Microsoft would help advertisers more easily reach "the elusive 18- to 34-year-old male demographic."
The purchase also serves a larger purpose. The company plans to employ Massive's ad serving technology to deliver ads across its online services. The gaming-related properties will be first, but the system may eventually serve as the foundation for ad serving across all of Microsoft's online properties such as Windows Live and MSN. The company is exploring how Massive could deliver ads into those properties and it's considering integrating it with the newly-launched adCenter platform.
Kevin Johnson, co-president of the Platforms and Services Division at Microsoft, said the company would build "an advertiser network that serves a wide spectrum of needs."
In recent months, Microsoft has been working to capitalize on the booming online advertising market by re-tooling its existing Web offerings and by beginning to offer new ones.
Massive employees will continue to work in their current locations. The company is headquartered in New York and has offices in London, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Paris, Sydney, Cologne and Toronto.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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