EA Expands In-Game Ads, Crows About Potential Profit

In a somewhat off-putting press release in-game advertising company Massive and Electronic Arts bragged today about their ability to shove more advertisements down gamers' throats with the extension and expansion of the collaboration of the two companies.

The deal will extend the contract between the two for two years, but more importantly expand the number of games that Electronic Arts will allow Massive to place ads in.

With the latest agreement, EA will further expand the opportunities available to advertisers by extending the participation of current titles in the Massive network as well as incorporating additional, highly anticipated games over the course of the deal. The wide range of EA content that will be available in the Massive network includes the next two iterations of popular EA SPORTS(TM) franchises including Madden NFL* football, NBA LIVE basketball, NASCAR* (R) racing and NHL(R) hockey.

While the press release spends lots of time explaining how wonderful this is for advertisers and how profitable it will be for Electronic Arts, it fails to mention the impact it has on gamers. I don't mind some in-game advertising, but reading a release like this makes me feel like these games are little more than glorified vehicles for advertising... and we're still paying top dollar to get them. How crazy is that?

Agreement Enables Integration of In-Game Advertising and Premium Video Game Content into Long-Term Campaign Planning and Media Buying Processes

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. & NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)—March 18, 2008—Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Massive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT) and a leading network for video game advertising, today announced an expansion and two-year extension of their agreement to offer dynamic in-game advertising for EA video games. The new global agreement provides unprecedented opportunities for advertisers to engage with EA's highly coveted audience — especially males ages 18 to 34 — through its roster of blockbuster games on the Xbox 360(TM) platform and exclusive rights to a majority of EA's premium PC products.

With over three years of experience in dynamically serving advertisements in video games, Massive is the definitive in-game advertising solution for advertisers around the world, including Ford Motor Co. in the U.S., Rogers in Canada, and Puma in Europe. Massive's long-standing relationship with EA, publisher of many of the world's most popular games, provides advertisers with extensive reach through EA's portfolio of premium content video games. This agreement represents a critical point of differentiation for Massive as the in-game advertising medium continues its momentum as a more attractive and effective medium compared with traditional forms of established advertising.

With the latest agreement, EA will further expand the opportunities available to advertisers by extending the participation of current titles in the Massive network as well as incorporating additional, highly anticipated games over the course of the deal. The wide range of EA content that will be available in the Massive network includes the next two iterations of popular EA SPORTS(TM) franchises including Madden NFL* football, NBA LIVE basketball, NASCAR* (R) racing and NHL(R) hockey.

Massive will continue to be the exclusive in-game ad network for PC and Xbox 360 platforms of the world's largest racing franchise, EA's Need For Speed(TM), including current live titles Need for Speed Carbon and Need for Speed ProStreet. Massive is also working with marketers to incorporate dynamic advertising into another popular EA racing title, Burnout(TM) Paradise.

"We continue to utilise the breadth and depth of Massive's content to market a range of our clients' key brands," said Brian Bos, senior vice president, Convergence Director, Mindshare - Team Detroit. "With this expanded partnership, we will be able to plan dynamic in-game campaigns several years out, which is critical in making Massive's content platform a more integral part of our video game marketing strategy."

"EA strongly believes that dynamic in-game advertising is an important growth area for our business, and is one of many opportunities we are pursuing in growing the advertising market," said Kathy Vrabeck, president of the Casual Entertainment Label at EA. "We selected Massive because they are the industry leader in this space with a global sales footprint, solid brand recognition and in-depth experience in video game advertising."

By providing certainty around Massive's ad inventory for years into the future, the multiyear agreement enables advertisers to plan in-game advertising on a calendar year basis as part of a holistic campaign development process alongside other mediums such as TV, online and print media.

Rouwen Bastian, Coordinator European Media Strategies at Opel, said: "In-game advertising plays an essential role for us in reaching today's young adult consumers. The multi-year agreement between Massive and EA makes it possible for us to make greater strategic use of in-game advertising by incorporating it into the same long-term planning as other media forms."

Richard Dance, Group Account Director at MindShare Interaction UK, said: "The growing channel of in-game advertising provides an exciting and creative medium in which to work. Although we are only scratching the surface with regards to the opportunities it provides, more and more of our clients are keen to include in-game advertising as a part of their multichannel strategy."

"Our latest agreement with EA expands advertisers' unprecedented access to EA's world-class franchises to reach young male gamers around the world," said Cory Van Arsdale, CEO of Massive. "This multiyear partnership reflects both the maturity of the dynamic in-game advertising medium and the benefits that our network continues to deliver for both publishers and advertisers."


Comments

    It all comes down to the delivery method. If gamers are forced to endure 'commercial breaks' between levels then there will be, no doubt, an outcry from frustrated gamers. If, however the ads are unintrusive - say advertising hoardings at a sports ground or a radio advert in a GTA style game that wouldn't be too bad. I would like to think that revenue gained from in game advertising will lead to cheaper games, but that may be little more than wishful thinking.

    As these in game adverts ramp up I am yet to see prices tags on games drop. It seems that games containing in game adds are either free or full price. Surely any of the shelf game containing adds should come with a reduced price tag. But then again, maybe this is just the fact that Australia gets shafted on price for every title.

    I remember the days - some few years back - when advertising based games were free to play.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now