Microsoft to buy in-game ad company

— 10:39 AM on May 5, 2006

Microsoft has announced its purchase of live in-game ad firm Massive, confirming a report by the Wall Street Journal last week. Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Group President Robbie Bach says the Massive staff will join Microsoft and the MSN group, and that it will become a "key part of what [Microsoft is] doing in this space." Reassuring potential naysayers, Bach notes in-game ads must be done "carefully." He claims the ads shouldn't interfere with gameplay, since doing so would break what he calls "a very immersive experience."

The Wall Street Journal report claimed the Massive purchase would be in the order of $200 to $400 million, but Microsoft did not disclose any financial details of the buyout. Nonetheless, Microsoft may benefit from Massive's impressive repertoire of partners and advertisers, which includes Atari, Eidos, Konami, Ubisoft, and Vivendi on the publishing side and Coca-Cola, Dunkin' Donuts, Honda, Intel, and Verizon on the advertiser side. Massive CEO Mitchell Davis says the real-time in-game ads business has the potential to grow to a $3 billion-plus global market by 2010.

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