Meet the person responsible for the ads in your Xbox

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Allen Murray, co-founder of AtomJack, has been working in video games for ten years. During that time, he worked on Plants vs. Zombies 2, multiple Halo games, Marathon: Durandal, and helped make the Xbox Live Arcade ecosystem. Part of that early work on Xbox included the bane of gamers – advertising. In fact, as Murray recollects, he’s the main guy responsible for those dreaded banner ads on your console home screen. His tale begins with his innocent suggestion to Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb that there should be a way for the team to promote Arcade content to gamers.

“Wait, banner ads? Like on websites?”
“Sort of, but these aren’t like ads for Mt. Dew or anything, these are just…”
“No way.”
“Gamers are gonna hate ads. No way.”

Despite the initial thumbs down from Major Nelson, Murray felt they really needed a way to highlight game releases on the Xbox 360. Through persistence, Murray was able to get the Banner of the Day concept off the ground. Ten short years later, and the Xbox interface is a bewildering chock-a-block of advertising! Let this be a lesson to do-gooders. The road to Hell and all that.