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Google Preps Joystick for In-Game Ad Invasion

Even gamers won't be safe

For the last several months, Google has quietly been testing an "AdSense for Games" platform, reports VentureBeat.

Sources say the technology enables advertisers to place video ads in games. In some demos, a character from the game even introduces the ad with a preface like, "And now, a word from our sponsor." And in addition to online games, Google in-game ads can reportedly be added to console games, disc-based games and mobile games.

It is unclear why the technology has not been released. Google announced in July 2007 that it was planning an in-game ad expansion after filing an in-game ad targeting patent in April of last year.

Since then, a number of rivals have beat it to market. Notably, game maker Electronic Arts (EA) joined Microsoft's Massive to debut a dynamic in-game ad platform for the Xbox 360 and PCs. Double Fusion began pushing ads in online games in August; three months later, Eyeblaster launched a slew of ad-enabled online gaming titles.

The Yankee Group estimates the in-game advertising market will be worth $971.3 million by 2011. Parks Associates is even more optimistic, forecasting ad spend of $2.1 billion in 2012.

But Massive may be the most zealous company of all. In 2006, it suggested in-game advertising would hit $2 billion by 2010.

Earlier this month Google launched Lively, a virtual chat environment. The platform may serve as a useful, and private, launch pad for AdSense for Games.

Image credit: Put Gamers on TV.


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