In-game ads coming to Anarchy Online

Publisher Funcom, in deal with Massive, will stream advertising into the Anarchy Online gameworld.

Anarchy Online players will soon see advertisements on billboards stationed in central regions of the game's futuristic landscape. Online game developer and publisher Funcom, based in Sweden, announced today that it has inked an exclusive deal with New York City-based Massive, one of a small number of companies creating a viable market in in-game advertising.

Just a month ago, Massive nabbed $10 million in funding and stated that it was working with eight game publishers, including Ubisoft, Atari, and Vivendi Universal, on deals like the one announced today with Funcom. In December, Massive forged an alliance with Nielsen Interactive Entertainment to track the effectiveness and reach of its advertising efforts.

In a statement, Massive CEO Mitch Davis said, "We’re thrilled to add Funcom's leading titles into our advertising network and broaden our reach with their hundreds of thousands of gamers."

As consumers spend less time watching television and more time playing games (as indicated by numerous studies, including one from Nielsen), the game industry is turning its attention to understanding the potential to drive additional revenue from in-game advertising. "As opposed to a medium like TV, you know that the gamers' eyes are always watching the screen while playing games," Funcom CEO Trond Aas said in a statement today. "We are sure advertisers will cherish this revolutionary new opportunity to reach the extremely valuable 18-34 demographic...[and] we know that most gamers want in-game advertisement to heighten the sense of realism."

Since its introduction in 2001, Anarchy Online has seen a number of expansions, including The Notum Wars in 2002, Shadowlands in 2003, and Alien Invasion in 2004. It recently extended its free-play offer until 2006.

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