Massive Adds Sound, Motion To In-Game Ads
The ads, which promote the Panasonic brand and the premiere of the American television series "Lost" on the U.K.'s Channel 4, originally ran as television spots; they were cut down to 15 seconds for the game. Panasonic's ads began running last week, and the "Lost" ads are slated to begin today.
Massive's tracking utilities can collect data on the demographics and geographical distribution of all players who view the ads, how many times they viewed them, and for how long they saw each ad. If a user stops viewing a video ad in the middle, that same ad will later continue where the user left off. Massive can also delivery purely audio ads, with the sound triggered when the player moves his character into a certain area.
Massive Chief Marketing Officer Nicholas Longano said the company focuses on making sure that the ads are integrated seamlessly into game play, appearing where players would expect to see ads in the game world. "Everything we try to do has to be contextual in the game and has to resonate to the gamer," he said. "This is their universe--and if you screw with their universe, they don't like it, and you're in trouble."
Game developers also try to place the ads in areas where players congregate, but where there's no serious action going on. "They're putting these billboards in areas that don't have much activity--community areas, corridors," Longano said. "They don't put them in places where there'll be a battle going on."
Massive began serving ads into video games in March, starting with online role-playing game "Anarchy Online" and "Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory," the third installment in a popular espionage series, based on the works of Tom Clancy.