Blizzard Bringing Massive Ads To Battle.netS

In-game advertising group Massive announced it has signed with Blizzard Entertainment today, feeding the Starcraft and Diablo publisher ads through its Battle.net service. But don't expect to see any actual ads in those games.

Blizzard COO Paul Sams put the fire out before it started, stating in the press release, “This partnership does not include in-game advertising, as Massive understands and respects our stance against advertising that might detract from gameplay or offend our players.” That's the way you do it — I mean, no one wants to be distracted by American Apparel ads while trying to fend off a Zerg swarm.

The full press release, announcing the contractual marriage between the World of Warcraft developer and Massive, is after this.

Massive Inc. and Blizzard Entertainment Form Multi-Year Advertising Relationship

Massive teams with Blizzard Entertainment for ads on its Web sites and Battle.net online game service.

NEW YORK — Dec. 3, 2008 — Massive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. and a leading network for video game advertising, and Blizzard Entertainment Inc., a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software, announced today a multi-year deal that names Massive as the exclusive advertising service provider for Blizzard Entertainment®’s Web sites and Battle.net® online game service in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South Korea and Australia.

In addition, Massive has teamed with Intergi Inc., the world’s largest Web-based video game and interactive entertainment network and advertising representation company, to manage Web-based advertising to reach Blizzard’s audience of core gamers and gaming enthusiasts. Intergi is powered by the Microsoft Atlas AdManager platform to deliver client advertising across its network of more than 700 sites.

Through this relationship, Massive will serve advertising to a highly engaged audience that visits Blizzard Entertainment’s collection of heavily trafficked Web sites and plays using Battle.net, the company’s online game service with millions of active users. On Battle.net, players can meet online to play with one another in Blizzard Entertainment’s “StarCraft®,” “Warcraft®” and “Diablo®” series of games, including the upcoming “StarCraft II” and “Diablo III.” Blizzard Entertainment’s Web sites include the home page for the enormously popular “World of Warcraft®,” a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) with over 11 million subscribers throughout the world.

“Our partnership with Blizzard Entertainment aligns Massive with the creative powerhouse behind some of the most renowned real-time strategy games of all time, as well as the world’s most popular MMORPG,” said JJ Richards, general manager of platform services for the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft. “This deal builds on Massive’s top-tier network of console games by giving us immediate credibility on the PC. And with Intergi, we are working with a highly targeted partner that knows the gaming audience to take a brand’s campaign from the Web site into the Battle.net game network.”

“Our decision to partner with Massive was based on several important factors, including their technical expertise, global sales presence, and willingness to work with us to ensure advertisements appear only in contexts and environments that make sense,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This partnership does not include in-game advertising, as Massive understands and respects our stance against advertising that might detract from gameplay or offend our players.”

“We are thrilled to work with two industry pioneers; both Massive and Blizzard are two of today’s leading names in the world of gaming, and their confidence in our network and advertising representation services is a true testament to what Intergi offers when it comes to reaching today’s gaming enthusiast,” said Jayson Dubin, CEO of Intergi.

About Blizzard Entertainment Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes ten #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active users.

About Intergi
Recently ranked as the largest digital network targeting the online gaming and entertainment sector, Intergi is both a leading online gaming and entertainment advertising network, and representation company offering a hybrid of online opportunities that connect today’s advertisers and media buyers with consumers comprising the $25 billion gaming industry. Offering reach capabilities of over 9 billion page views and 160 million unique visitors on average, each month, Intergi offers targeted advertising placements — site specific, channel-wide and run-of-network — through more than 700 specialized gaming and entertainment categories including massively multiplayer online (MMO) and first person shooter (FPS) genres. Intergi’s global market allows advertisers and publishers to connect from different parts of the world and access a more robust and viable gaming enthusiast. Based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the company was launched in May 2007 by a team of seasoned gaming industry veterans. For more information, visit www.intergi.com.

About Massive Inc.
Massive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., is the creator of a leading network for dynamic video game advertising. The Massive Network offers advertisers the ability to engage an aggregated gaming audience in real time across multiple platforms. Over 300 blue-chip advertisers have run campaigns across the Massive Network throughout North America and Europe. Publishers in the Massive Network generate revenue through dynamic in-game advertising, enabling them to fully realize the value of their content while preserving and enhancing the game experience. Massive’s technology allows for all forms of downloadable media and advertising content to be contextually integrated into the game environment, including image, audio, video and game object formats. More information can be found online at http://www.massiveincorporated.com.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.