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We had been working on this story for more than a week, and now WSJ beats us to it (darn it): Google is about to buy its way into in-game advertising, paidContent.org has learned, and WSJ is also reporting the same. It has been in talks to buy a small in-game advertising firm AdScape Media, in an attempt to bring its technologies, mixed with Google’s own contextual technologies, into the console and casual games market. We were expecting the deal to be announced Monday or Tuesday this week, but that didn’t happen. WSJ says it could be announced next week.
This comes after Microsoft bought Massive, Inc for a reported $300 million last year, making its way into console in-games ads. Other competitors in the space include Double Fusion, IGA Worldwide and others.
AdScape was founded in 2002 by former Nortel engineer Dan Willis in Ottawa, Canada (now based in San Francisco), and in 2006, it got a boost with two senior Sega execs joining the company. Not much seems to have happened after that in terms of it closing console gaming deals, as rivals have locked up most of the other major game publishers.
Because other rivals have been bundled up with the game publishers, it could mean Google will mainly focus on online casual gaming, though it would be interesting to see if it is able to pay its way into console gaming as well.
A Google spokesperson said: “We can’t comment on market rumor or speculation”.
WSJ: Adscape Chairman Bernard Stolar said he “has spoken to every major player” about a possible acquisition of Adscape, but there currently is no such deal.