Loss of EA as a client this summer may have aided the firm's downfall.
Microsoft is preparing to close Massive Inc., the in-game advertising unit it purchased for over $200 million in 2006, according to a MediaWeek report.
MediaWeek's article, published today, suggests Massive's sales and engineering staff are currently being reassigned to other projects within Microsoft, and that general manager JJ Richards is seeking a new job. Microsoft has reportedly been seeking a buyer for the unit for months, approaching rival in-game ad-vendor Double Fusion, among others.
In response to a request for comment on the situation, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company "does not comment on rumor or speculation." Massive staff could not be reached by phone on Friday afternoon and did not return calls by the time of publish.
Video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) announced in March that it was effectively ending its relationship with Massive by taking ad sales for its newly released titles in-house. The firm was still responsible for selling inventory into EA's legacy titles, but with dwindling audiences for outdated games, that opportunity is likely contracting daily.
In one of its most high profile campaigns, Massive sold dynamic display inventory to the Obama campaign back in 2008, and ads were served into EA's Xbox-based NBA basketball game.
Explaining its decision to build its own sales forces, EA's SVP for global media sales, Elizabeth Harz, said the company recognized the opportunity to sell directly to advertisers. The expansion of video game audiences through family oriented consoles such as the Wii, and new platforms like social and mobile gaming, prompted it to build out its own sales force, rather than partner with a third-party, she suggested.
Meanwhile in the in-game network space, it appears Massive's rivals could be fairing slightly better, with IGA Worldwide completing an investment round in August. However, the fact that further investment was required could instead be an indication of continued immaturity of the market, and a lack of serious investment from advertisers.
Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live New York 2015
[ALERT] Super Saver Rates Expire January 30. With over 15 years of experience delivering industry leading events, ClickZ Live brings together over 50 expert speakers to deliver an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Quick! - Register today to secure your place at the best rate.
Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.
Singapore, 5-6 March
Bangkok, 17-18 March
Hong Kong, April 2015
Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.
5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.