EA Inks Ad Deals With Massive, IGA

NEW YORK Electronic Arts, publisher of some of the most popular video games on the market, has signed its first major deals to serve dynamic advertising within several of its titles. The company said today that it is has entered partnerships with two of the leading in-game advertising firms: Microsoft-owned Massive Inc. and IGA Partners.

Massive’s new partnership with EA will see it begin serving ads within the latest version of the popular racing game Need for Speed, with several more titles to come, according to officials. The deal is limited to games played on Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and thus does not include any titles played on Sony’s more popular PlayStation 2.

For IGA, the company will similarly begin serving ads within the futuristic war-themed PC game Battlefield 2142, with at least two other titles to be added down the road.

Both arrangements, which are global in nature, will allow advertisers to serve “live” ads within specific games to users who play while connected to the Internet. While video games have long carried “static” ads, or ads that are permanently programmed into games, in the past few years more games have begun featuring dynamic ad units, which can be updated and changed on a regular basis.

Up until now, EA, given the huge popularity of many of its sports titles, which include John Madden Football, has been one of the most attractive holdouts in the burgeoning in-game advertising business. “Analysts have been wondering what EA’s move was going to be,” said IGA CEO Justin Townsend. “They are the creme de la creme [in the game industry]. Lots of brands are clamoring to get in their titles. This is a really good thing for the ad medium.”

Neither deal initially includes access to any of EA’s most popular sports games, but Townsend said that these titles are being discussed as options for advertising down the road.