Startup Ready to Shoot Ads to Video Gamers

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES – Massive Inc. will announce Wednesday that it has developed technology for inserting and tracking real-time advertisements in video games.

The New York startup plans to announce the Internet-based technology at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles.

Massive’s new system will monitor how frequently and how long users see the ads and send that data back over the Internet for advertisers to analyze. Those ads will then be inserted in predetermined spots in video games, the company said.

"Massive's technology enables campaign-based advertising for the first time in video games,” Massive CEO Mitch Davis told XBiz.

The announcement comes as more corporate advertisers consider video games as a way to reach consumers, especially the core audience of 18- to 35-year-old males.

Industry tracking company NPD Group says video game retail sales in the United States – including software, hardware and accessories – totaled $11.2 billion last year.

And Playboy Enterprises, which hosted a party Tuesday night with the unveiling of the “Playboy: The Mansion” video game, said that its readers spent over $300 million on video games over the last year with more than 3.1 million readers owning a video game system.

Privately held Massive will not only track ads but also provide technology for uploading new ads to games on a continuing basis.

Davis said advertising in video games have been traditionally "hard coded" into the game so it is inserted during the development process of the game.

He said that because of production schedules, advertisers are normally required to commit to an ad buy a year or more in advance of the advertising appearing in the game. Those ads become a permanent feature of the game.

Davis said game publishers Atari Inc., Ubisoft and Vivendi Universal Games will include Massive’s technology in some games.