Throughout last year, Stan and Pete both reported the acquisition by Google of an in-game ad providercalled AdScape. AdScape’s assimilation was described by Pete at the time as a sign of Google’s changing mission statement from “organizing the world’s information” to “cramming as many ads into the world as possible.”
Rumors have been floating ever since that the company would be put into action any minute now. Word filters down to us today that the time is now. Google says that AdSense for Games is now available, and Web-based games are now invited to integrate text, image and video advertisements in “new ways” (more on that in a second)
They’ve been working, apparently, with some select game developers and publishers including Konami, Playfish, Zynga, Demand Media and Mochi Media so far, hitting many of the recognizable social and casual game networks we cover fairly regularly here at Mashable.
The real question is, though, what does this do that plain old vanilla AdSense won’t do already?
If you look at most online games, both casual and flash, most of the monetization is done through one the side bars, away from where most people are focusing their attention. Couple that with the fact that when you’re playing a game, the last thing you want to do is go check out that limited time offer blinking at you, and it’s no wonder that the low ad conversion rates on gaming sites rival only those from social network.
As you can see from the video above (be patient, the money shot is towards the end), with the new AdSense units, they look more or less the same, but they show up in game instead of off to the side. Because the user is already acclimated to bells, whistles, lasers and other noisy what-not, the video ads are allowed to auto play.
This turns the gaming experience into something a little closer to television viewing. The ads are likely going to have lower conversion rates than standard AdSense units on a content site because of folks not wanting to leave the experience, but will probably function quite effectively as a sort of brand impression unit, similar to how standard TV works (of course with the added benefit of being clickable).
All in all, not a total bust, and given the scope of the beta partners and the reach of Google, this could very quickly become a major profit center for Google, and a game changer for monetizing online games.
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