Microsoft confirms Massive closure

In-game ad division to be gone by year's end; technology to be used in Microsoft-owned businesses like Xbox Live and MSN Games.


Four years after Microsoft purchased in-game ad firm Massive in a reported $200 million to $400 million deal, the Xbox 360 maker is shutting down the business. In a post on the Microsoft Advertising blog, community manager Rik van der Kooi confirmed the closure, which was first reported by Adweek earlier this month.

If publishers want truck and taco ads in their games from now on, they'll have to do it themselves.
If publishers want truck and taco ads in their games from now on, they'll have to do it themselves.

While Microsoft is shutting down the service that worked with third-party publishers to put up dynamically changing ads, it will still attempt to salvage some value from its acquisition. According to the blog post, Microsoft will be taking the Massive technology and incorporating it into its own properties on Xbox Live and MSN Games.

"In the future, game-oriented advertisers will find it easier to do business with all Microsoft properties with a singular focus, unified sales force and unique advertising opportunities across a suite of gaming properties," van der Kooi wrote.

The blog post did not address the reasons for the closure given in the Adweek report. The trade publication blamed Massive's closure on two big factors. First was Xbox Live, which it said Microsoft was favoring because unlike with Massive, Live's ad revenues didn't need to be shared with third-party publishers. The second reason given was one of those third-party publishers--Electronic Arts--decided to take all of its own in-game ads in house earlier this year, thereby depriving Massive of a large chunk of its business.

Massive will continue to work with existing third-party partners through the end of the year, when the brand will be terminated.

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