According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is preparing to purchase in-game advertising company Massive for a reported $200 to $400 million. Massive, one of the leading in-game advertising companies specializes in placing dynamic changing ad content like billboards and branded objects in video games.
Microsoft’s online gaming service Xbox Live has a number of income streams, including user subscriptions, Live Arcade, Live Marketplace, and music video and movie trailer deals. Xbox Live currently shows ad-style banners on the dashboard, Live’s non-gaming waiting area. Game play over Live, however, is currently subscription-only with nary an ad in sight, but Microsoft is no stranger to experimentation when it comes to online gaming.
Microsoft has so far remained tight-lipped on the Massive buyout, and the purchase announcement has yet to be released officially. But there’s been major movement over the last few months by in-game advertising industry players like Massive, DoubleFusion and IGA. Microsoft owns one of the largest online video game delivery systems, and the in-game advertising industry could be worth $2 billion by 2010, according to Massive CEO Mitch Davis at the second annual Advertising in Games conference earlier this month.