Internet giant Google is making its entry into the in-game ad market with the launch of a public beta version of AdSense for Games.
Google is initially targeting online web games based on Adobe's Flash platform, but could potentially expand to downloadable, console, and mobile titles against in-game advertising rivals like Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide.
Despite this, Double Fusion CEO Jonathan Epstein gave his vote of confidence to the move. "It’s further proof that in-game advertising is becoming the mainstream multi-million dollar ad medium the industry has been predicting for some time," he said.
Publishers who sign up for the program can use Flash software development kits to designate points in a game (or in videos for Youtube) that will make an ad request, according to a report
from VC news weblog VentureBeat. Google takes a portion of the ad revenue generated, while the rest goes to publishers, distributors, or developers.
For example, casual games company Playfish, who has been testing the in-game ads for months, provides players ending a game session with a 30-second video that shows a game character promoting a sponsor.
Advertisers who've signed up for Adsense for Games's network during this trial include eSurance, Sprint, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Ad network operators Demand Media, Boonty, and Mochi Media have also partnered with Google to provide AdSense for Games ads.
Social gaming service Zynga and Konami will incorporate the technology into their web titles, with the latter planning to publish a line of Flash games -- such as Track and Field, Frogger,
and Dance Dance Revolution
-- that will take advantage of Google's in-game ads.
AdSense for Games's public beta launch comes over a year after Google confirmed that it acquired
video game advertising firm Adscape, the base for this in-game ad program, for a reported $23 million.
“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 CEO Jameson Hsu told VentureBeat, a similar vote of confidence to Double Fusion's Epstein. “It should awaken all of the major media companies.”
Added Epstein, "Google’s bet on PC and Internet based gaming targeting a broader set of demographics is exactly where Double Fusion thinks the market is going, and their involvement will help move the games industry towards better standards that ad community has been asking for."