(Source: Kotaku)

One of Several Types of Ads Google will Sell  (Source: Google)
Google finally takes advantage of 2007 Adscape purchase

Google is the undisputed king of internet advertising and it is always looking for the next big advertising market to jump into. Expanding its advertising market is one of the main reasons Google introduced the open source Android OS for mobile phones.

In March of 2007, Google plunked down $23 million to purchase video game advertising firm Adscape. Everyone knew when the purchase was made that Google would be entering into the video game advertising market sooner or later.

In May of 2007, Google filed a patent for video game advertising technology that would monitor the player's in-game behavior and attempt to serve ads based on their needs. Privacy advocates took issue with the patent because Google said that monitoring would include in-game chats. Presumably, on Google's part, the in-game chat monitoring would be used for serving up ads for something like Taco Bell if a player said they were hungry.

It took over a year but Google has announced that it will be entering the game advertising field, and surprisingly even Google's competitors in the environment are glad it are participating. CNET News quotes DoubleVision CEO Jonathan Epstein saying, "By (Google) finally launching in the space, it confirms for all parties...that this space is of interest to one of the largest media companies in the world. Google does not enter into markets that don't have billion dollar-plus potential for them."

Google’s competitors hope that its entry will create a sort of "if it's good enough for Google, it's good enough for me" advertising mentality.

Google has announced its AdSense for Games program and says that its initial advertisers in the beta program will include eSurance, Sprint, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. At least for the beta launch of the program, advertisements will stick to placement of different ad forms in Flash-based casual games and a few larger game titles.

Considering how Google often comes to dominate markets it enters, it would seem competitors should feel at least some concern. Epstein said, "The battleground here is not between ourselves and Massive and Google. It's getting games their rightful share of the ad dollars, as opposed to TV, print, and (traditional) online ads."

Many industry analysts feel that Google won’t necessarily run away with the in-game advertising market as it did with traditional online advertising. Tim Hanlon, executive vice president of Publicis Groupe's Denuo media futures division says, "I would argue that Google is not going to be a home run in in-game advertising...any time in the immediate future. But pay careful attention, (it is trying to build the) foundational building blocks to be an ad server in many environments that could be very attractive to marketers and ad agencies, and I think the place where Google will be successful soonest is in the self-serve marketplace, or the long-tail marketer environment."

As with all in-game marketing, how well the platform ultimately performs depends on how well the ads are integrated into the game. If the ads are intrusive, gamers will revolt very vocally. If the ads aren’t intrusive enough they will simply be ignored. For many, the ideal in-game advertising method would be to use real products in games. A good example would be games like FEAR where you see drink dispensers and products lying around in the environment. If a vending machine said Coke on it rather than some made up brand, it would add to the realism of a game and be welcome by most gamers.

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