Google AdSense has become one of the most widely used ad networks on the web, because it makes it really quick and easy for both advertisers and developers to begin building an ad-based business model for their web sites. Now, after months of testing and development, Google is launching the public beta version of its AdSense for Games software.
The ad market for games is predicted by the Yankee Group to be worth $971.3 million by 2011, so it is no surprise that Google is interested in the market.
In response to the announcement, Jameson Hsu, chief executive of in-game Flash ad company Mochi Media, said, “It’s a huge stamp of approval for a major company to come in and say they believe in the online game market.” It really is a huge deal, as now it is highly likely for other major media companies to begin making a move into this market.
The new Google AdSense for Games software will be targeting Flash based games and will incorporate the ability to include ads both during and after game play. The casual Flash games space alone averages around 200 million games played per month, which creates ample opportunity for ad integration.
Google is also tauting the usability of its ad software. According to Christian Oestlien, senior product manager at Google, Google’s advertisers will be able to insert ads into games where there is an “ad request.” This request comes from the developers of a game who will be able to utilize a Flash software development kit that allows them to simply designate any point in their game where they want to place advertisements. Then once the game is live, the ads uploaded by advertisers appear where a “request” is found.
In addition to everything else, Google has partnered with a number of developers as well. One of these is Playfish, a major Flash developer within Facebook. At the end of a game session for one of their games, players will actually see one of the game characters presenting the ad as a sponsor.
However, Playfish is not alone in supporting Google’s endeavors. Other major players include Zynga, another major social game developer, and Konami, one of the largest mainstream game companies in Japan. Over a dozen other companies will include Google AdSense for Games at release, and with the millions of users that play casual games online, the number of ad impressions available quickly compounds to several hundred million.
At this time, we do not know whether Google will incorporate their ad network beyond Flash games. However, with competitors such as Microsoft’s Massive working its way deeper into this market as well, it is likely to see some significant competition in the future.