— Hearst, MTVN (NYSE: VIA) partner to launch virtual Seventeen : Seventeen magazine has launched a special issue within Virtual MTV, MTVN’s group of virtual worlds (including Virtual Hills and The Virtual Real World). Seventeen.com readers that enter the world can get Seventeen-branded virtual merchandise like gift bags, clothes and items for their virtual living spaces; and “meet” the magazine’s editors and celebrity guests at special events. Rival CosmoGirl (which ceased print publication in October, but still exists digitally) launched a similar effort in There.com last year.
— In-game ad growth to be sluggish: Massive may have had a huge in-game ad upfront last week, and companies like Double Fusion are brokering deals with game publishers left and right — but according to execs at the Reuters Media Summit, the gains still won’t translate into a major impact on the business costs publishers and console developers incur. Nor will they make a meaningful dent in the overall U.S. ad market. So while some analysts are pegging in-game ad sales to top $1 billion by 2011, execs like Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick aren’t nearly as bullish: “I have been saying ever since we took over Take Two that I thought in-game advertising was a very limited opportunity that applied mostly to the sports business, and I remain of that belief,” he said. “It’s a detail. It exists, it can be profitable, we’d be happy to have it. It’s just not going to move the dial.”
More after the jump.
— Over half of all adults play games : Maybe Zelnick and the other execs hadn’t had a chance to see the stats from the latest Pew Internet & Life study — as it found that 53 percent of all American adults play video games. And these grown-up gamers have more than enough disposable income to attract advertisers of all kinds: 62 percent of players have an annual household income between $50K and $75K. Of course, the younger generation plays more: 81 percent of respondents age 18-29 said they play, but nearly a quarter of older Americans (65+) also admitted to gaming. The research organization polled more than 2,000 people and found that they played games on a variety of devices, including consoles, PCs, handhelds and mobile phones. Release.
— Chinese game developer Perfect World (NSDQ: PWRD) to buyout InterServe Caymans : Beijing-based online game developer Perfect World is slated to acquire InterServ Caymans, the Caribbean arm of Taiwan-based game tech company InterServ International for about $23 million in a share purchase deal. Perfect World develops MMORPGs, and though most of its revenue is generated in China, its licensing agreements extend through Asia and into Europe and South America. Release.