Apparently tired of giving space to "Knobby Tires" and "Synthetic" on its virtual stadium walls, Electronic Arts is dropping its two in-game advertising partners and moving that sales operation in-house, beginning with Madden NFL 11.
EA, according to the digital marketing site ClickZ, will end its partnerships with IGA Worldwide and Massive Inc., after their deals with the two in-game ad companies expire in August. That, of course, is when Madden NFL 11 ships, so EA's internal operation will debut with what appears to be an attractive ad property.
Of course, in-game ads are much more than whatever appears on the billboards in the arenas of a sports game. Madden last year ramped up its broadcast presentation, bringing along sponsorships from Snickers, Burger King and a rotation of pop-ups that some found annoying. And it's more than console games, as well. Earlier this week at EA's first "upfront" event, where the publisher pitched its products to advertisers, EA gave emphasis to Apple formats, such as its growing line of mobile sports games, and the iPad. Social networking such as Facebook will also be a focus.