Game Developer Signs a ‘Massive’ Ad Deal

Massive Inc., operator of a video game ad network, agreed to represent ad inventory on Funcom’s PC-based game titles.

Ad placements will appear on billboards within the gaming environment on the free versions of Funcom games. Specific titles include “Anarchy Online” and “The Longest Journey,” which together reach “hundreds of thousands” of gamers, the company said. “Anarchy Online” is what enthusiasts refer to as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). Paying subscribers will not see advertisements.

“Through our own research, we know that most gamers want in-game advertisements to heighten the sense of realism,” said Funcom CEO Trond Aas, in a statement. “Seeing that the live billboards in Anarchy Online do not interfere with gameplay, I am confident our free players will welcome the permanent continuation of our complimentary subscription in the ultimate sci-fi MMORPG.”

Console and PC-based video games are thought by many marketers to be ripe for ad support. Until recently, however, a lack of independent measurement has been one factor that’s hampered widespread use of the channel.

That’s changing. Late last year, Massive struck a deal with Nielsen Entertainment to provide third party measurement of ads within the gaming channel. Earlier in 2004, Nielsen entered a similar relationship with Activision, one of the top three game publishers along with Electronic Arts and THQ.

Marketers who advertise on Massive’s network have a range of tools available, including day-parting and geo-targeting. The firm offers several trackable units, but typically only on connected games. The console gaming market still relies on fixed placement ads, since the machines aren’t connected.

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