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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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December 3, 2008 9:56 AM

Xbox news roundup: Microsoft 'cautiously optimistic' about games biz; Massive's video game 'upfront' and deals; more

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is "cautiously optimistic" about its video games business, Shane Kim, vice president of games strategy and business development, told Reuters at the news service's Media Summit today. Kim said the business is on track for 20 percent this year, but "people are not projecting that kind of growth" for 2009. "Who knows, maybe flat performance will be considered a remarkable achievement."

The games industry had U.S. sales growth of 18 percent in October, according to The NPD Group.

Read on for details about Microsoft's in-game advertising deals.

Massive, Microsoft's in-game advertising subsidiary, is holding an "upfront" event, like the ones television networks hold to preview their upcoming shows and sell advertising inventory. "Game publishers and advertisers will gather at the event to preview next year's game content and lock down advertising opportunities for 2009," Massive said in a press release.

Additionally, Massive inked multi-year deals with Activision, making it the exclusive in-game ad provider on 18 titles including "Guitar Hero", and Blizzard. Massive will serve ads on Blizzard's, an "online game service with millions of active users." The site allows players to meet and play in Blizzard Entertainment's "StarCraft," "Warcraft" and "Diablo" games. The sites include the "World of Warcraft" home page, with more 11 million subscribers.

Also, Microsoft has appointed JJ Richards, a former Xbox Live general manager, to head Massive with an expanded role leading the Microsoft in-game advertising group.

For more details on Massive, check out this story from 2007, shortly after it was acquired by Microsoft.

New versions of Microsoft's Xbox 360 Arcade, the least-expensive version of the console, now have 256 megabytes of storage built it, Joystiq has confirmed. "The physical internal memory is the same size as the previous external memory units -- 256MB," a spokesman told the Web site.

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