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EA Signs Dynamic Ad Deal

  • Reuters, Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:45 AM
Electronic Arts, the world's largest publisher of video games, is taking its first big steps in the online ad business. EA has struck deals with in-game advertising providers Massive Inc., a Microsoft subsidiary, and privately held IGA Worldwide. The companies will provide in-game ads for a series of upcoming games. IGA will handle in-game placements for a new game called "Battlefield 2142" and two others, while rival Massive begins its EA partnership with the latest "Need for Speed" title, to be followed by three others. Both confirmed games come out mid- to-late October. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed; they are for in-game ad serving in the U.S. and Europe only. EA says they mark the first of many anticipated in-game ad partnerships. However, because Massive and IGA are competitors, the deals are separate. "It's too early for us to lock into a single solution," said Chip Lange, EA's vice president of online commerce. Microsoft's Massive is the leader in the nascent field, followed by IGA and Double Fusion. To date, most of their partner deals are with online gaming portals that allow them to easily serve dynamic ad placements. Because they use broadband connections to serve ads, in-game providers can dynamically change ads within games based on the ad criteria. About six months ago, Microsoft purchased Massive, making it the exclusive in-game ad provider for its Xbox 360. Microsoft could easily make Massive the only vendor of ads for games on that system, which would leave its competitors to look for exclusive deals for the new consoles from Sony and Nintendo. Massive's deal is for both Xbox 360 and PC-based games. IA is just PC-based games.

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