Double Fusion game for $26.5 mil financing

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Double Fusion Inc., a company that puts advertisements in video games, said Monday that it has raised $26.5 million in a financing round that included Time Warner Inc. and Hearst Corp.

Leading the round was Norwest Venture Partners, whose general partner, Jim Lussier, will join Double Fusion's board of directors. Participants also include IDG Ventures Pacific and Sedona Capital as well as existing investors Accel Partners and Jerusalem Venture Partners.

"No other new advertising medium starts with a worldwide audience of half a billion consumers or is projected to grow as quickly," Lussier said.

Double Fusion has raised $10.5 million since its founding in 2004.

In-game advertising is expected to grow from about $173 million this year to as much as $2 billion in 2010, according to estimates. Double Fusion president and CEO Jonathan Epstein is expecting in-game advertising to be a $10 billion-$15 billion industry by 2015.

So far, automobiles, fast food, beverages and athletic shoes are the primary buyers of in-game ads, though campaigns for a host of television shows and feature films are expected to roll out early next year.

Double Fusion places both static ads, which don't change, and dynamic ads, which do change, in PC, online and console games. Epstein said the proliferation of in-game commercials will help spur the free-games industry.

"It will enable high-quality free games, and the audience for gaming will increase," he said. "When people find the game that's right for them, they slip away from other media."
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