Auto Assault to get streaming ads

NCsoft and Massive ink deal to put ads in upcoming online role-player.

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It's hard not to have an opinion about the trend to stream ads into game environments. Now, regardless of what that opinion might be, there's a bit more fat to throw on the fire.

Today, Massive Inc. and NCsoft North America will announce that the upcoming game Auto Assault will ship with the Massive SDK built in. That software application enables ads to stream into the game environment.

Calling the inclusion of ads in the Auto Assault gameworld "a great fit," NCsoft's VP of sales and marketing, Dorothy Ferguson, said, "Massive understands games and has the most seamless and sophisticated process for integrating ads that fit within the game environment." (Note the "billboards" in the two associated screenshots...likely positions where ads could be placed.)

Auto Assault is a Mad Max-like online role-playing game due at retailers next month. It comes from Colorado-based developers NetDevil and was first shown at 2004's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

In a statement, Nicholas Longano, chief marketing officer of Massive, said, "We're excited to team with NCsoft to incorporate real-life advertising into this cutting-edge, highly anticipated game."

Massive made waves back in 2005 when founder and CEO Mitchell Davis went on the stump to evangelize the Massive business model--a network of professionals that would supply the SDK to game developers and publishers and then solicit ad agencies and marketers to buy "space" inside the game as one would buy outdoor or magazine ads. The ad revenue would then be split between the game publisher and Massive.

The company says that it has deals in place with 34 publishers to put the Massive SDK in more than 100 games and that already the company has streamed ads into more than "45 million game sessions."

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