Microsoft confirmed it will shutter its in-game ad network Massive in the next two months, and says it now plans to repurpose the unit's technology to serve its first-party gaming offerings, such as Xbox LIVE and MSN Games. News of the company's demise was first reported earlier this month, but the company declined to comment at the time.
Writing on the company's blog today, Microsoft's VP of advertiser and publisher solutions Rik van der Kooi said Massive's technology will be aligned with its Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), focusing initially on gaming, but eventually expanding to parts of Microsoft's ad business.
"Microsoft will wind-down Massive’s third-party in-game ad business and sunset the Massive brand name at year-end," van der Kooi wrote, adding that it will retain a small staff to help existing clients wind down their activity with the network. He did not indicate what will happen to the rest of Massive's staff, or whether they too will be redistributed across Microsoft's other businesses.
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.
Having purchased Massive for over $200 million in 2006, the unit seemingly struggled to gain sufficient investment from advertisers and inventory from game publishers. 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 The firm was still responsible for selling inventory into EA's legacy titles, but with dwindling audiences for outdated games, that opportunity is likely contracting daily.
Fellow in-game network IGA Worldwide could also be struggling to generate revenue, having secured further investment in August.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.