Massive Inc., the company that is taking the lead in in-game advertising, has just announced its first group of advertisers and brands. The list includes Verizon and RealNetworks (previously announced), as well as Universal Music Group, Intel, T-Mobile, Dunkin' Donuts, Nestle, Coke, Paramount, and Honda Element. Massive intends to have 40 games receiving its advertising stream by the end of 2005.
Massive's in-game advertising model moves beyond mere product placement to dynamic streamed advertising which changes over time and can be targeted based on geography, time of day, etc. Massive's CEO believes that this sort of in-game advertising is a huge potential market because a key demographic, namely 18 to 34-year old males, is shifting to video games as their primary source of entertainment (apparently the majority of males in this cohort spend about 20 hours a week playing games). The model is also said to add realism to games, and apparently a recent Harvard Business School study found that in-game advertising improved the gaming experience for a large majority of gamers. Combine this with increased per-unit profits for publishers, and Massive thinks it has a no-lose proposition on its hands.