Google to launch AdSense for Games

Game publishers can add video, display and text ads

Google is making an aggressive play in the online gaming world, as the search giant announced it will expand its AdSense product to various Web-based gaming sites and platforms.

Like Google AdSense for publishers, which allows Web sites and blogs of all sizes to add text links to ads delivered by Google to their pages on a self-serve basis, Google's AdSense for Games has been designed to enable game publishers large and small to monetize their game by adding video, display and text ads from the company. However, at launch, Google is limiting AdSense for Games to publishers, who produce games that have a minimum level of usage.

Among Google's initial partners is Mochi Media, a company which provides distribution and analytics tools for a network of small game publishers, many of whom create games that are built to travel across the Internet--anywhere from pure gaming sites to personal blogs. Google's deal with Mochi will initially focus solely on international ad inventory.

It appears with this move, Google has decided at least for now to focus more on the low hanging fruit in the nascent in-game ad world--casual Web based games that easily accommodate online advertising. Back in February of 2007, the company acquired the startup in-game ad firm Adscape Media, which to many signaled that Google may look to aggressively challenge companies like Microsoft's Massive Inc., which specializes in delivering ads within PC and console games. Yet to date, Adscape has been conspicuously quiet, though there have been whispers that Google will eventually launch an ad-supported virtual world.

Mike Shields is a senior editor for Mediaweek.