As reported exclusively by Mediaweek earlier this month, Microsoft is shutting down Massive Inc., its in-game advertising division.
In a blog post late yesterday, the company said that it plans to employ Massive’s ad technology for its other properties, including Xbox Live and MSN Games. But the business—as conceived—will end. “Microsoft will wind down Massive’s third-party, in-game ad business and sunset the Massive brand name at year-end,” wrote Rik van der Kooi, corporate vp, advertiser and publisher solutions group.
Microsoft purchased Massive in 2006 for over $200 million, per sources. The company delivered live ads within Web-connected video games as they were being played—such as billboards appearing within a virtual city.
According to sources, one problem with Massive was that it was never fully integrated or embraced by Microsoft’s hugely successful Xbox group. Van der Kooi seemed to imply as much in his blog post, as he emphasized the company’s synergy going forward. “Game-oriented advertisers will find it easier to do business with all Microsoft properties with a singular focus, unified sales force and unique advertising opportunities across a suite of gaming properties,” he wrote.
Microsoft will retain a small group of staffers to manage Massive’ customer relationships through the end of this year, said van der Kooi. Microsoft has already begun placing several Massive employees in other parts of the company, said sources.