Dean Takahashi reports in VentureBeat that Google will begin offering a service that will place ads into online games.
The search giant's beta launch of AdSense for Games will initially target Flash games. Takahashi cites figures showing that 200 million games of this type are played online each month. Sony Pictures, Sprint and eSurance are among advertisers participating in the rollout.
Game publisher Konami is on board and will reportedly publish Flash versions of Frogger, Track and Field and Dance Dance Revolution with Google ads included.
Where does Google go from here? Not surprisingly, Takahashi sees further expansion:
Google’s entry into Flash web games is likely just the first step. After this, you can expect to see the company move into PC downloadable games, console games, and then mobile games. Rivals in those markets include NeoEdge Networks, Microsoft’s Massive, Double Fusion, IGA Worldwide.
This is one more ad market where Google and Microsoft can duel... The Yankee Group predicts the market will be worth $971.3 million by 2011. Proponents of in-game ads believe that gamers will embrace them because the ads can be integrated into storylines or environments. You can, for instance, put an ad into a billboard inside a game. That ad can change every time the user passes by the billboard. Of course, it’s hard to do that in genres such as fantasy games.