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  Massive Launches Game Ads  
Posted 2004-10-18 by Tony Walsh
Massive, Inc. launches its in-game ad network today, bringing Real Networks advertisements to selected online games. No word yet on which games will be blessed with ads, but publishers include Vivendi Universal Games, Atari and Konami. [source]

Also See
- Watercooler Games
- Banner Ads Invade Gamespace
- Massive's Ad Invasion
- Massive Advergaming on the Horizon
  Game Ads March On  
Posted 2004-10-14 by Tony Walsh
Players whose games were published by members of the inGamePartners network will be treated to ads supporting the upcoming DigitalLife tradeshow this week in New York. No word on which publishers have actually signed up with inGamePartners, but two million ad impressions have been purchased by tradeshow proprietor Ziff Davis.

Meanwhile, across the pond, UK-based ad agency Cocojambo believes it has the formula to in-game advertising success, and will be pontificating 4 times annually on the subject. "The Cocojambo Guide" will debut online and in print December 1, 2004: "...advertisers and agencies will finally have a single destination where they can view and review forthcoming video games. In-game advertising has grown strongly in the past two years, but the lack of transparency of forthcoming games has limited the number of advertisers using this exciting medium." In my view, any advertiser or agency that relies on a single source for information is digging its own grave. All an industry publication is going to do is blow smoke up your ass--if you want to know what's really going on, check the weblogs and fan sites.
  Mindjack - Banner Ads Invade Gamespace  
Posted 2004-09-01 by Tony Walsh
My latest Mindjack article, "Banner Ads Invade Gamespace" has been posted. It covers in brief the plans of companies like Massive Incorporated and Neilson--namely the pursuit of internet-style advertising in online games; the focus of the article is on the value of this type of advertising to the media that carries it and to the gamer that consumes it. Thanks to Liam for a great editing job.

Supplemental Reading
Clickable Culture- In-Game Ads Get Mainstreamed
Water Cooler Games- In-game advertising
  In-Game Ads Get Mainstreamed  
Posted 2004-08-26 by Tony Walsh
Last week I began collecting research on a new type of game advertising modelled after internet banner ads. You may recall I've posted about Massive Incorporated before [1, 2], one of the main technologists bringing trackable ads to games. To my dismay, MSNBC posted two articles on the subject yesterday [1, 2], which have since been Slashdotted and otherwise circulated widely among gamers and game scrutinizers.

With a half-cocked article already underway for Mindjack, I've had to make some major changes in order to still be able to say something fairly interesting on the topic. Now that there's a fire lit under my ass, the article might show up in the next few days. Hopefully it will still be relevant.
  Massive Advergaming on the Horizon  
Posted 2004-07-22 by Tony Walsh
Massive, Inc., whose plans I derided recently, has been given a $5.5M infusion from venture capitalists, according to Terra Nova. Elsewhere, eMarketingIQ reports that advergaming is "newly viable," and heavily features Ian Bogost of Bogost's bullish on integrated branding being part of the gameplay experience, since "It’s not enough to just have your brand in a game." Bogost's assertion bolsters my theory that once Massive gets a foothold in games, we're going to see their network used less for "billboards" and more for "advertorial" messaging. This follows the footsteps of other media, such as TV, movies, and periodicals.
  Massive’s Ad Invasion  
Posted 2004-07-08 by Tony Walsh
Massive Incorporated intends on dynamically-inserting ads into partner video games via an internet-based serving system. Advertising will be targeted to specific audiences based on information supplied on an "opt in" basis. Massive will work with game publishers " insert registration screens and other voluntary input fields into games..." Ads will of course be tracked, much like traditional Web banner ads. This will allow payment based on ad exposure that hasn't previously been seen in online games.

Massive claims that "...gamers are ready for the real world environment that dynamic advertising creates in a game. A Massive survey of gamers aged 12 to 36 revealed that 70 percent of those polled felt real-world advertising would positively enhance a game's realism, provided the ads and ad placement were appropriate to the game and fun." Appropriate and fun, gotcha.

Continue reading: Massive’s Ad Invasion
  Advertising and Branding in Virtual Worlds  
Posted 2004-04-27 by Tony Walsh
Virtual Worlds Review site manager and Terra Nova contributor Betsy Book has made her paper "Advertising and Branding in Virtual Worlds" available as a PDF download.

The paper covers in-world citizens who've create marketing for their own creations (as I've seen recently in Second Life), official ads for products made by the world developer/owner, marketing by real-world companies in a virtual world (see my editorial Big Mac Attacked), and lastly entire worlds created to market real-world brand (such as the US Army).
  Quoted in PCZone  
Posted 2004-02-24 by Tony Walsh
I got quoted in a special report about in-game advertising and sponsorship in this month's PCZone print magazine (UK version). While the article misidentifies me as a "Sims fan," it does dig deep into the history advergaming as far back as 1983's Tapper/Budweiser tie-in as well as reveal contemporary developments such as the sinister integration of the Red Bull drink into Judge Dredd vs. Judge Death's plotline.

My best few lines: "The worst thing you can do to a game is cheapen it be either forcing a player to 'experience the brand' as marketing sharks put it, or by rewarding the player for using the product. There need to be other options. If I don't want to drink that virtual Coke (or even look at it), my game experience should be the same as someone who drinks six virtual cans of the crap."
  Big Mac Attacked  
Posted 2002-11-12 by Tony Walsh
Remember when movie theatres only showed a few previews before a film? Remember when they added commercials to the mix? Videogames were advertisement-free once, too. Long lusted after as a vehicle for commercial messaging, games have finally joined the ranks of the rest of the entertainment industry.

In the soon-to-be blockbuster The Sims Online, players could find it difficult to avoid getting their fingers soiled on virtual McDonald's hamburgers. A deal struck between Sims publisher Electronic Arts and the fastfood mega-corporation allows Sims players to open up their own McDonald's kiosk and improve their game stats by consuming McD's greasy goodies. While news of this groundbreaking sponsorship deal fades quickly from memory, failure to address this latest barrage in the war on ad-free gaming could result in a super-sized sandwich of misery. Based on the success of previous Sims offerings, The Sims Online is an ideal high-profile backdrop in the war against "advergaming." The McDonald's kiosks that dot the imaginary battlefield are mere burger bunkers to be ad-busted in an anti-advergaming mission that could go down in the annals of gaming history.

Continue reading: Big Mac Attacked
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