February 9, 2007 1:03 PM PST

Can Google score with in-game ads?

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"It's not clear," said Jonathan Epstein, chief executive of Double Fusion, a competitor to AdScape, IGA and Massive. "It doesn't mean it can't get there, but when you look at how markets evolve it's always the specialists that drive innovation and focus in the market."

Eva Woo, vice president of marketing at AdScape, said her company has a technology that allows advertisers to interact with consumers without interrupting the game, something that could appeal to Google. If a gamer opts in, AdScape's Real World Virtual World Gateway will deliver messages via SMS or e-mail from the advertiser, Woo said.

When the game detects that a player has reached a certain level in the game or that a player is having problems getting beyond an obstacle in the game, for example, the advertiser could offer hints, rewards or coupons. "We've been developing this (advertising) technology for five years," she said. "We have one patent issued and 15 patents pending."

A risk for Google, of course, is getting shut out of Microsoft's growing Xbox market, and the question remains whether gamers will rebel against publishers who allow advertisers into their gaming worlds.

"Male gamers playing core games don't mind ads if they help make the gaming experience more realistic rather than disrupting their gaming activity," Cai said.

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18 comments

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not exactly organizing the worlds information
How exactly does in-game advertising fit in with their stated mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful"? Stick to search, Google.
Posted by ronpadz (62 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Neil Kelty
Well, they ARE organizing relevant ads to your experience and introducing you to content that enables you to SEARCH for free.

I don't see why people are getting pissed about this , they need to make money you know. It's not evil.
Posted by NeilKelty (9 comments )
Link Flag
Have they forgot "Don't be evil"?
What about the mantra "Don't be evil."? Being the company providing annoying, unexpected advertisements to likely already stressed & annoyed gamers does not seem like a good move. This seems like the opposite of the intention to not get on people's nerves. They're sitting on the edge of the evil side of the fence. Don't jump, Google. Don't jump!
Posted by esterud (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re: dont be evil
I agree. Everyone loves Google, they better not **** that up.
Posted by extinctone (214 comments )
Link Flag
There's a fine line there
In some cases, in-game ads can add to the realism of the game. For a racing game, a billboard in a racing game which displays a real ad adds to the realism. Also, the ability to have various companies sponsor your virtual vehicle so you can buy upgrades to it---sponsorship would be based on your racing skill and reputation.

But there is a fine line between adding realism and annoying players. Putting real ads in a virtual GTA is a good thing if they are exactly where their real life counterparts are. If they interfere with gameplay, it will really turn people off.

Other genres don't really have non-intrusive ways to add ads, so that concerns me more. I just can't see a contemporary ad in World of Warcraft, for example.
Posted by bluemist9999 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
Are we talking about on-line gaming?
where these ads are delivered over the 'net while the game is sending and receiving info to/from the game server?

If so, is Google prepared to take the blame for every perceived bit of lag or other in-game glitch? They had better be because, responsible for it or not, they will get blamed. When we do things like spend over $1000 for video cards and pay for top-tier broadband service in order to squeeze the last bit of performance out of a $50 game, any kind of real-time intrusion into the server-client data stream will not be view favorably.

One of the great paradoxes of modern video gaming is that we gamers demand, and pay through the nose to get, maximum eyecandy from our games. Then, when actually playing, we don't even see it while concentrating on the objectives of the game. I see no benefit to anyone in putting advertising into video games...like I'm really going to click on an ad, or make note of a place to redeem an offer while in the middle of a firefight in Unreal Tournament 2004 or, when it comes out, UT3. Somebody needs to get a grip on reality here.
Posted by dvthex (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DON'T MESS WITH MY HALO, Microsoft
I am still debating if microsoft buying out Bungie was a mistake, but if I see a Google ad in Halo 3 I Will .....................

I don't know what I'll do, probably cry...
Posted by SiXiam (69 comments )
Link Flag
MMORPGs and stuff like that
I agree that a fast paced action game is not very suitable for this kind of things, but I think it could work in games that are more open in terms of gameplay, I'm counting MMOs but other games like GTA could use something like that.
Posted by latin_nerdy (5 comments )
Link Flag
Please no
Please no more ads, I hate them... and now in games :(
--
Pixel image editor - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.kanzelsberger.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.kanzelsberger.com</a>
Posted by firstlast (35 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No. No. HELL No.
I refuse to play or buy any game that has adverts in it so
blatantly. I don't mind the graphics in a given level or map if
they blend in (for realism purposes), but otherwise no fscking
way.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
way not?
In fact, in game add can contribute to its realism and also it can be a usefull addition to the gameplay. It is a matter of design.
Posted by zzarkov (2 comments )
Link Flag
The real question...
is who wants to advertise to an audience of no-life geeks. My guess is you'll be seeing a lot of ads for pimple cream, dating services and work-from-home schemes.
Posted by Hardrada (359 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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