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Adsense for Games? Experimental or Coming Soon?

adsense gamesMention in-game advertising to video game fanatics and you’re likely to get one of two responses. The first will be bitter complaints that lament the scourge cluttering their virtual worlds.  The other will be an uneasy acceptance that harbors hope the included ads will somehow make future games more affordable or more realistic.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, however, in-game ads are here to stay.

Watchers like the Yankee group predict the marketplace for gaming advertisements will exceed $1b by 2012 and few companies invested in ad sales will let that pass by unattended.  For several years, companies like Massive (Microsoft), IGA Worldwide and IGN have been working to make ads streamed to consoles an accepted reality.  Publishers like EA and Activision have signed partnerships. Advertisers are lining up and anxious to see results. 

Today, Venture Beat reported Google may be gearing up to dive deeper into the market.  According to the article, Google has been quietly testing “AdSense for Games” for months.  Their technology, the report says, can be applied to console games, local PC titles, web-based PC titles and cell phone games. Wider spread deployment, the article suggests, could happen quickly.

At this point there is no official confirmation nor news to suggest if anything is imminent. It is possible, as the article also contends, that this will remain in Google’s labs.

If a launch does happen, it would help settle questions about what Google’s been doing with the technology they acquired with the purchase of Adscape for $23m  in February 2007. 

For the near term, AdSense for Games is a story to watch for. 

At the end of June, Google expanded Adsense for video into a distribution service (Metue coverage of that deal is here).

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