Google testing “AdSense for Games”
The video game market generates something like $7 billion a year, much of that coming from people who might not otherwise watch a lot of television.
It seems that Google is looking to tap into that potential consumer market, with the acquisition of Massive in 2006, a company set up to power in-game ad networks. There's talk in this article about Google using their new 'virtual world' (a competitor to second life) lively as a testbed for the ads.
As long as it's not overt advertising like the first part of this article suggests, with characters actually doing ads, then I might be ok with it. I mean, if you're running around in a city, there's going to be posters, and ads and billboards all over the place, right? Why not at least make it relevant.
If it means more money going into video game production and development, I'm all for it.
In buying Adscape, Google was reacting to Microsoft’s own move into in-game advertising. In May 2006, Microsoft bought Massive, the pioneer of in-game ad networks that was founded in 2004. Since the acquisition, the market gathered steam. Alison Lange Engel, global marketing director for Massive, said that the company now has more than 200 advertisers in its network. Those companies can insert either fixed or live ads into games. The live ads are more suitable for short-term campaigns because the companies can change the ads on the fly, using Internet connections to pipe new content into video game consoles. More than 70 games now use Massive’s in-game ads.
The battle lines have been drawn. Yahoo, which draws 18 million gamers a month to its Yahoo Games portal in the U.S., recently signed up NeoEdge and Double Fusion as its in-game ad partners. Electronic Arts has a variety of partners. And Sony has signed up Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide. Sony is thought to be a prime potential customer since it is launching its Home virtual world for gamers in the fall on its PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3. Among the console makers, only Nintendo has been quiet when it comes to in-game ads. At this rate, there may not be much left for Google. It better not wait too long.