In something of an unusual twist of late, Google would appear to be playing catch up to Microsoft for once. The Redmond giants bought the market leader in the in-game advertising business, Massive Inc, last May for close on $200 million. Today Google has confirmed it has finalized the deal to buy an in-game advertising business itself, namely the relatively small San Francisco based Adscape. Relatively small describes the cost of the acquisition as well, although Google is keeping the actual figure close to its chest, the word on the vine is that $23 million is the order of the day. Whether that turns out to be a good value investment remains to be seen, especially as Microsoft/Massive already has hugely important deals with Ubisoft Entertainment, THQ and Take-Two Interactive wrapped up.

A Google spokesperson said that “as more and more people spend time playing video games, we think we can create opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audiences while maintaining a high quality, engaging user experience.”

The new Google ‘Dean of Games’ is Bernie Stolar, a former president of Sega Entertainment and Adscape executive. He claims that the cost of producing a single game has risen from an average $100K in the 1980’s to $25 million today, and that something is required to help fund these movie style productions. “The good news is there are some very passionate gamers out there that have come up with some interesting new ways to introduce non-intrusive and targeted advertising in order to make gaming accessible and affordable for all” Stolar insists.

I cannot say that I am overly excited by either deal, to be honest, as the thought of being immersed within the fantasy game playing environment only to be confronted by some very this worldly advertising fills me with dread. Sure, there is always the Hollywood movie product placement type marketing, which is less in your face. However, trying to find a product which fits perfectly into the background of an alien dreamscape or a World War Two scenario is rather unlikely.

It looks like I may well be in the minority with such an opinion, as a recent Forrester Research report suggests that only 33 percent of online households object to in-game advertising compared to 85 percent that dislike online pop-up ads.

About the Author

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

it would be so cool if google made a gbox

Concerning the last para, my guess is that you are not in the minority, rather enough time has not passed for people to really get upset with it yet. As pop-up ads increased, so did our disgust with that form of advertising.

(Do I have to mention were scammers, phishers, the hosting site and/or the advertisers themselves tried to have a user execute a program if you were innocent / naive enough to use the Pop-Up's 'X' Close box!)

As ads in games increase, watch the poll results change. Let them (advertisers, 'host'ers, whoever...) start installing their Adware that either slows down a gamer's PCs, shares gamer's personal data or 'accidently' erases information on gamers PC then watch people get upset.

Give it time.... unless of course the miracle of miracles happens and advertisers actually learn from the past.... LOL, you think Vegas would take odds? And if they did would you play them?