According to an unnamed source in this CNET article, Google bought in-game advertising vendor AdScape in a deal worth $23 million. Various sources are reporting that this would primarily serve console games, such as sports and car racing games on an Xbox, where “billboard-style” ads are prominent.
But in reality, as this other CNET article points out, Google’s strength is really in contextually-targeted ads, rather than simple banner ads.
Why is all this significant? That type of advertising also works well with casual games, something the second CNET article mentions as a potential target for in-game ads. In other words, the kind you’ll find on your cell phone as well as in your Web browser.
Cell phone gaming is pretty popular, and could easily become another front for in-game ads, especially since you can already find both cell phone and Web-based versions of popular casual games like Sudoku and Luxor. Mobile games aren’t specifically mentioned in either article, but it’s not a huge leap from PC-based casual games.