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Massive Incorporated
Type Subsidiary of Microsoft
Founded 2002
Headquarters New York City
Key people Cory Van Arsdale, CEO
Katherine Hays, COO
Industry Advertising
Products In-game advertising
Owner(s) Microsoft
Website massiveincorporated.com

Massive Incorporated is an advertising company that provides software and services to dynamically host advertisements within video games. Massive Incorporated was purchased by Microsoft in May 2006 for approximately $200 million to $400 million. [1][2]

Contents

Service

The service, collectively known as The Massive Network, allows game developers to place advertisements within video games by providing a software development kit (SDK) and servers to host advertisements to be streamed to clients when the game is played. The streaming of advertisements allows old advertisements to be removed and more contextual ones applied in their place. Where games such as Need For Speed: Most Wanted had static advertisements for Cingular and Burger King[3], advertisements supplied by a streaming network allow more temporary ads such as movie or TV show posters. Both the publisher and Massive can then continue to make money after the game has been sold.

The software is made so as to capture the proper demographic: it would be a problem to advertise an R-rated movie in an G-rated game or to place advertisements that conflict with a game's genre.

First, placement and layout of the advertisements is planned by the developers with help from Massive. Advertisements can be any texture, but to maintain realism, advertisements are generally placed on objects such as posters, billboards, storefronts, and other likely media. Massive calls this "Phase I: Design of the Inventory Elements."

Second, the SDK is integrated with the game to act as a client to Massive's ad servers. It allows the game to fetch the ad, display it on a surface, and analyze how the player acts around it. Massive refers to this as "Phase II: Integration of the Software Development Kit (SDK)."

Third is self-explanatory, "Phase III: Testing & Support." These are the software testing and deployment steps.

Criticism

Video games have in the past generally been seen as an ad-free medium by gamers. With the deployment of in-game advertising, especially by a major corporation, this so-thought "refuge" has been "invaded."

Another argument leveled at in-game advertising is the cost of a single video game. While the ticket price of a movie is usually under $10 US, most games cost $50 US or more. In addition, usually the revenue that the advertising generates is not passed along to the end user in the form of a lower purchase price, or improved game content due to extra funding for the game developers, and many games with in-game advertising still have pay-to-play downloadable content.

One of the major problems with any in-game advertising is its current pervasiveness. It will likely take some time to find a level at which the advertising still makes an impact while not detracting from the feeling of the game. Poorly-placed or overplaced advertisements will break the suspension of disbelief.

Some of the more obvious examples of Massive's advertising can be seen in the free version of Anarchy Online, where gigantic billboards are common place in the cities, although there are fewer excuses for free games. A running joke is the "Wanta Fanta" ads in a sci-fi setting.

Many Planetside players also became annoyed when small billboards appeared inside of bases. This was extremely unexpected as Planetside is a pay to play MMOFPS.

See also

References

External links

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