Microsoft’s Massive, THQ Agree to In-Game Ad Deal

Microsoft-owned in-game advertising network Massive signed a multiyear deal with THQ, it was announced Monday. The global contract covers dynamic in-game advertising for several of the publisher’s titles.

The Saints Row franchise, including the “Saints Row 2” game, is the only game disclosed so far. “Saints Row 2” shipped over two million copies in its first two weeks on the market in early October. It is often compared to the popular “Grand Theft Auto,” published by Rockstar Games. The game style is referred to as sandbox gameplay for its multiple missions players can complete in any order.

“We wanted to secure our relationships with top-tier publishers like THQ,” said Ian Ali, national sales manager for Massive. “As we got to market with our plans for upfront-type purchases and campaigns, we can add this predictable-type of inventory to our content.”

While THQ and Massive declined to disclose other candidates for dynamic in-game advertising, the publisher’s catalog includes titles from World Wrestling Entertainment, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and Juiced franchises. ClickZ has learned that additional titles are expected to be revealed at Massive’s upfront event held in New York the first week in December.

“THQ’s got some fantastic titles in their portfolio. We are going to look at the titles that make the most sense,” said Ali. “Is it a best of breed title? One that attracts the audience? Is the environment suitable for advertising?”

THQ, a $1 billion game publisher based in Agoura Hills, CA, isn’t new to in-game advertising. It has had deals with Massive in the past, as well as Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide. THQ is open to negotiate with other vendors such as Double Fusion or IGA for advertising on the PlayStation 3, Wii, and other platforms.

The current strategy for in-game advertising networks is to sign multiyear deals to attract advertisers. Massive, as well as other in-game ad networks, have focused their deals on multiyear contracts. Earlier this year the network signed an agreement good through 2010 with Electronic Arts for multiple titles. Neither the network nor the publisher have stated an end date for the agreement. Ali stated, “That is by design.”

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