In-Game Advertising with Massive

I must confess, the first time I fired up WipeOut in 1995 and sailed under that Red Bull banner (scraping my way along the barrier), I was impressed by this new collision of real products and virtual worlds. Even though it’d been done before, this was, to me at least, the most impressive example at the time. Mind you, I’ve only just ceased being amused by the Dole logos in Super Monkey Ball.

Fast forward a few years and product placement and advertising is everywhere in games – sometimes it works, sometimes it’s intrusive. A football game without any ads on the pitch would look strange, yet fantasy RPGs with soft drink product placement would break the sense of immersion.

Massive Incorporated, a New York based company have come up with a solution for games development houses keen to acquire revenue through placing adverts in their games, and for advertisers desperate to reach all those gamers that don’t watch TV any more.

Massive Ad Server is a service for streaming advertising into games live through an internet connection – allowing more adverts in games, and hopefully keeping them focused. Advertising is traditionally hard coded into games, and so the ad is never updated – this gets fresh advertising in to games, and allows the sponsor and products to be changed and updated.

Massive back the service up with a sales team that have advertisers keen to reach gamers in-game, using information gathered about the game and its demographics. No point in streaming Barbie ads to young adults playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, is there?

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one really. Given that 20% fewer men between 18 – 24 are watching TV these days, advertisers need new ways to reach audiences. Gaming is a good way to do it – but the second I see Link wearing Nike, I’m taking up croquet.

Massive Incorporated

Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?