Google Offering In-game Advertising via AdSense [Updated with Sample]

By Chris Faylor, Oct 08, 2008 7:46am PDT Online search giant Google has launched a new public beta of its popular AdSense advertising software, which will allow developers to integrate ads into their games.

Dubbed AdSense for Games, the program is currently only compatible with web-based Flash efforts and stems from a partnership with ad middleman Mochi Media. "We don't make games," reads Mochi's official site. "We make games profitable."

While Google has yet to state if it will expand the program into other gaming sectors, such as full-fledged retail titles, the company is believed to be eying that segment, especially given its 2007 purchase of in-game advertising firm Adscape Media.

"It's a huge stamp of approval for a major company to come in and say they believe in the online games ad market," Mochi Media chief executive Jameson Hsu told VentureBeat. "It should awaken all of the major media companies."

Publishers Playfish, Zynga and Konami are already on board with AdSense for Games, with advertisers including eSurance, Sprint, and Sony Pictures. Flash versions of Frogger and Dance Dance Revolution will be among Konami's initial efforts.

Fitting with previous reports, developers using AdSense for Games will be able to feature ads during or after game play. One example has game characters introducing a video ad by saying something along the lines of "and now, a word from our sponsor."

"We've tried to integrate this in a user-friendly manner," noted Google senior product manager Christian Oestlien. The software can also provide video ads for the Google-owned YouTube, which will soon begin selling games as part of a new advertising push.

AdSense for Games marks the latest of Google's oft-speculated shift into the games industry, with the company also hoping that its web-based 3D social networking effort Lively will revitalize gaming.

Google has posted a video on YouTube showing an example of the ads at work in online game Word Challenge, which is reproduced below. Skip to close to the 1:00 mark to see the game take a commercial break.

[videofeature]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPAslXR6xCc[/videofeature]

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