Google Gets Into In-Game Advertising

Google has confirmed it bought in-game advertising company AdScape Media, for an undisclosed sum. I’ve been talking about advertising and looking for opportunities in software piracy, and perhaps these opportunities might suit well for in-game advertising. Google is moving into in-game advertising, and it might be a sign about how the future might look like: more and more companies might be interested about product placement and ads in games. Even though this is a small deal – firecegamebiz.com reported analysts saying $20-30M deal – I still think it means something. I’m sure we will see more companies moving in the in-game ad business. Washington Post mentioned that Microsoft made a $200M in-game ad deal last year.

Some people criticize that in-game ads will make games less immersive. While I agree to some extent (like seeing Nike shoes being advertised in Edoiki is not something I imagine happening) I believe there are room for in-game ads. Sports games for example. I think it would be much more immersive to see players using real energy drinks and see real energy drink logos in the play field, rather than using fake logos and fake names. It is – in my opinion – almost the same as seeing Wayne Gretzky rather than Grayne Wetcky playing in the field. In some games these ads might fit very well – if done properly.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. @Michael: I’m quite confident that those advertisers will figure out where to stick ads… perhaps we just focus on making games ;)

    @Mason: I’ll give you couple of examples. First is “strengthening brand/imago”. Companies who advertise on major events might only display their logo there, like “Nokia”. The main reason is not to get people to buy instantly, but to increase the brand awarness.

    Other more practical example could be Pizza game. Let’s suppose there’s a game where you deliver or make pizzas. What if both in the start and in the end of the game there would be pizza ad (maybe even localized – with phone numbers). That would work bit simlarly as those movies on TV, that display pizza ads before and after the movie.

  2. I wonder how effective advertising in games can really be. Game advertising seems more like TV where you blast to as many people as you can hoping to attract 1 pct. and have no ability to track how effective the campaign is. So either it will be billboards in the middle of games that are read only, or clickable? I can’t image clicking on an ad in the middle of playing a game and temporarily disrupting the experience.

  3. Perhaps we as game makers should start to think about which games we could make to best facilitate ad placement??! Ok… maybe we shouldn’t. BUT – I can assure you that people are doing just that right now.

    Attack of the Killer Billboards, anyone?!

  4. I believe they will eventually end up their way into casual games. I wonder how they will affect on pricing: will “greedy companies” still keep charging the current prices… or would it mean more free casual games, that’s left to see. I suppose they will use it only as a means to expand business – which would mean no decreased prices for consumers.

  5. Yes i guess there’s a place for it in certain games, just not the sort I buy. Question is, will ads make it into casual games?

    Also I remember the fake ads in Duke Nukem 3D, they were cool.

Comments are closed.