Norwegian-headquartered developer Funcom has signed an exclusive agreement with New York-based game ad firm Massive Incorporated to place advertising on selected billboards in Funcom's PC massively multiplayer online game Anarchy Online
Massive, the creators of what they claim is the world’s first video game advertising network, will supply ad content to free players of Anarchy Online
, since Funcom recently announced
a free subscription deal for the MMO which has been extended due to its popularity. However, paying subscribers to Anarchy Online
will not see the advertisements.
This move has become further viable since Massive Inc. announced, in December 2004, that it had joined forces with Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, who will provide third-party accountability and measurement for in-game advertising on the Massive network. By the end of 2005, the Massive network aims to deliver an advertising reach of over 4 million 18-34 year old men, as large as TV affiliate reach numbers today. The company also recently closed
an additional $10 million in new funding at the end of a Series C financing round.
In relation to the Massive Inc. deal, Trond Aas, CEO of Funcom commented: "As opposed to a medium like TV you know that the gamers eyes are always watching the screen while playing games. With official ad measurement methods from Nielsen we are sure advertisers will cherish this revolutionary new opportunity to reach the extremely valuable 18 - 34 demographic."
He continued by explaining that the advertising in Anarchy Online
is specifically designed not to be excessively jarring to players: "Through our own research we know that most gamers want in-game advertisement to heighten the sense of realism. Seeing that the live billboards in Anarchy Online
do not interfere with gameplay I am confident our free players will welcome the permanent continuation of our complimentary subscription in the ultimate sci-fi MMORPG."