In-game ads for Anarchy Online

Dynamic billboards for real-world products to be incorporated into free MMORPG.

Massively multiplayer game specialist Funcom has announced that the free version of its online RPG Anarchy Online is set to feature dynamic in-game advertising billboards, thanks to a new deal with Massive Incorporated.

Massive, one of the early players in the burgeoning market for in-game advertising, will supply advertising to the game from its network - with the billboards capable of changing their content dynamically over time.

"We're thrilled to add Funcom's leading titles into our advertising network and broaden our reach with their hundreds of thousands of gamers," commented Massive CEO Mitch Davis. "We're excited about changing the game development business model to provide a new source of significant revenues beyond box sales and subscriptions and delivering a powerful new medium to global advertisers."

Funcom will be using the system to provide revenue from free players of Anarchy Online, which became free to play at the end of last year. Paying subscribers won't see the ads - but the company believes that in fact, the move will be welcomed by gamers.

"Through our own research we know that most gamers want in-game advertisement to heighten the sense of realism," according to Funcom CEO Trond Aas. "Seeing that the live billboards in Anarchy Online do not interfere with gameplay I am confident our free players will welcome the permanent continuation of our complimentary subscription in the ultimate sci-fi MMORPG."

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