Confirmed: Microsoft getting Massive

Software giant buys into the in-game advertising market; new subsidiary to continue working with Sony Online Entertainment.


Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Xbox 360 manufacturer and software giant Microsoft was acquiring the in-game advertising firm Massive Inc. That proved accurate today, as the company made its latest purchase official at the seventh annual MSN Strategic Account Summit in Redmond, Washington.

Massive makes its money by placing ads into games that have already shipped, typically slapping the ads onto in-game objects like vending machines, billboards, and TV screens. The ads are dynamically served, which means they can be changed on the fly, so a billboard advertising a fast food restaurant this week could be updated to plug a new movie next week. According to Microsoft's announcement, purchasing the company "will help deliver dynamic, relevant ads across Microsoft's online services, starting with Xbox Live and MSN Games."

Massive's client list includes NCsoft, Atari, Eidos, Konami, Codemasters, Vivendi, THQ, 2K Sports, Spark Unlimited, Acclaim, Ubisoft, and Sony Online Entertainment. Currently, Massive provides in-game ads for SOE's The Matrix Online and PlanetSide, which brings up the unusual situation of having a working agreement between businesses owned by rival console manufacturers Microsoft and Sony.

Unusual though it might be, Microsoft isn't planning on cutting that tie to its competitor. Not yet, at least. A Microsoft representative told GameSpot today, "There will be no change in Massive's relationships with third-party publishers. Massive will continue to function as [an] independent subsidiary of Microsoft for some time."

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal report had it pegged in the range of $200 million to $400 million.

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