Google turns to in-game ads with new AdSense tech

No matter where you go on the Web, you're likely to run into Google AdSense ads every few pages. Now, VentureBeat reports that Google intends to extend its advertising empire to cover video games. "Sources close to the matter" claim Google has been testing AdSense for Games technology for several months—and the search giant "could launch the technology fairly quickly, if it so chooses." Google could target not just PC games, but also console and cell phone titles.

In a demo of AdSense for Games, VentureBeat says Google showed a character introducing a brief video ad with a lead-in like, "And now, a word from our sponsor." This particular approach departs from that of other in-game ad firms (such as Microsoft's Massive), which tend to stick to believable ads on in-game billboards and the like. Of course, Google could conceivably do something similar in addition to more intrusive video ads, but VentureBeat doesn't mention that possibility.

As an interesting side note, the site says advertisers are pushing to increase their presence in video games because "it's one of the only ways to reach young male gamers who have stopped watching TV." Research firm Yankee Group estimates that the in-game ad business will grow to almost a billion dollars by 2011.

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