Representatives from Electronic Arts have announced two separate agreements with video game advertising firms Massive Incorporated and IGA Worldwide to include global dynamic advertising in selected EA franchises, raising interesting questions about Xbox 360 in-game ad exclusivity.
The first Electronic Arts title to include dynamic in-game advertising via Massive will be Need for Speed: Carbon
, due for release this autumn. Although previous Electronic Arts games, including the Need for Speed
series, have used static advertising, primarily for other Electronic Arts titles, Need for Speed: Carbon
will feature both static and dynamic content from Massive’s advertising partners.
The dynamic nature of Massive’s service will allow the advertising to change in real-time, following online updates. The deal is one of the largest ever announced by Massive, which has previously serviced smaller online publishers such as Funcom and Webzen – as well as MMOs from Sony Online Entertainment.
In addition, the first of Electronic Arts’ games to include in-game advertising via IGA will be Battlefield 2142
for the PC, also due for release this year. Although the advertising is described as being “contextually relevant” the science fiction setting of the game will presumably make that task more difficult than in the contemporary setting of Need for Speed: Carbon
At least two other additional Electronic Arts titles will offer dynamic ad serving capabilities through the course of the agreement with IGA, although no other titles have yet been named.
Interestingly, since Massive’s acquisition by Microsoft
in May of this year it is been unclear how the company's network will interact with other in-game ad firms on Xbox 360, whether other companies such as IGA and Double Fusion will be allowed to run ads on Microsoft's console, and whether Massive’s services will ever be applicable to other hardware such as the Wii and PlayStation 3.
The new deals signed by Electronic Arts do not formally answer the question, but the fact that the publisher has signed with two separate in-game ad companies, and that Massive's announcement was the only one specifying Xbox 360, seems to imply that Massive is the sole in-game ad choice for Microsoft's next-gen console, at least for now.