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  Microsoft’s Cross-Platform Ad Play  
Posted 2007-07-30 by Tony Walsh
Advertising Age looked into Microsoft's "Live Anywhere" ad strategy last week, finding that audiences are being offered to advertisers by demographic or game preference rather than by platform. Live Anywhere spans the Xbox 360, Windows PC, and according to Ad Age, mobile spaces. One identity is tracked across platforms, so Live users could be targeted by personal details--such as age, sex, and location--submitted when signing up for Microsoft services. As far as I can tell from using Xbox Live in San Francisco and Toronto, users are already being targeted with local ads based on where the system is accessed (common in internet advertising).

The Ad Age article quotes an analyst, who says Live Anywhere is "easy to leverage for advertisers. You can integrate advertising that won't be intrusive, [and] you can also target ads more effectively." Well, sure, you can integrate non-intrusive advertising, but from personal experience, Xbox Live is cluttered with banner ads, demonstrating that the people in charge don't care about intrusion. Given that Microsoft's ad play results from last year's purchase of Massive--an in-game advertising company with a habit of ruining games--I doubt the power to target gamers across platforms will be used responsibly.

When I first subscribed to Xbox Live, there weren't any advertisements. Now, the service is littered with blatant ads, yet the service still costs me sixty bucks a year. A brave new wave of cross-platform ads may soon wash over Live Anywhere, but what benefit do gamers receive?
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