Double Fusion Buys In-Game Product Placement Firm

Double Fusion has snatched up Eiko Media, an in-game agency specializing in storyline integrations, also known as in-game product placements.

Eiko closed over $1 million in integration deals in the past year, according to its co-founder and solo employee Ashley Swartz.

Swartz will move from Detroit to New York and become Double Fusion’s senior director of creative strategy. In the role, she’ll lead Double Fusion’s global efforts to build customized in-game campaigns for marketers, and she’ll work with game studios “to develop contextual advertising opportunities” they can then sell to advertisers, the companies said.

“The starting point is to go in and sit with the publisher and look at the storyline, talk about where the opportunities are in the game,” she said, describing her new role. “To integrate a brand in a pervasive way so the developers don’t feel the script or integrity is compromised.”

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The acquisition follows close on the heels of Microsoft’s acquisition of Massive, operator of an in-game ad management platform and network.

Microsoft’s purchase of Massive will likely reap benefits for other in-game advertising firms, such as Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide. First, the buy-out legitimizes the space as a whole and ups the stakes for game publishers that compete with Microsoft. Second, publishers in Massive’s network may feel squeamish about letting a competitor manage their ad inventory. (Microsoft is a dominant game publisher.)

“It opens up the market to a field of players,” said Jonathan Epstein, a member of Double Fusion’s board. “Publishers want openness and advertisers want openness. We think ultimately those valuable constituencies will prevail. It shows publishers why working with multiple parties besides Massive is essential.”

Eiko has worked with agencies like SMG Play and publishers and game studios such as Ubisoft and Sony Online Entertainment to bring its clients’ products into the storylines of video games.

Its work has included the integration of DaimlerChrysler vehicles into Ubisoft’s “Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter” and of GMC vehicles into “CSI 3,” adapted from the TV show.

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