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Google's got game, casual game that is

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casual-connect.gifWhatever tumbles its stock is taking, one thing is clear: the search giant is dead serious about casual games. That’s the gist from their “AdSense for Games” presentation at last week’s Casual Connect conference in Seattle, and if the specifics are still sketchy, the salient point is that Google is actively optimizing AdSense to work with Web-based casual games. If they deliver the goods, this is revolutionary news for game development, and the Net in general.

The AdSense for Games initiative is co-led by game industry veteran Bernie Stolar, whose experience is mainly in consoles, but the initial focus, according to a report from the presentation, is “ads in Web-based games, with plans to move into PC and console games later on.”

Why is this revolutionary? Well, let’s run with a specific example: when I profiled the creator of the enormously popular Desktop Tower Defense, he told me his Flash game was generating 20 million page views a month. At the time, his main revenue source was AdSense, and if it was a normal website, that would likely translate into tens of thousands in ad dollars monthly. But as it turned out, he was only making high four figures per month– great for a one-man development team, but not enough to build a larger business on.

The problem was that few players clicked through his AdSense strip, because it couldn’t be ideally integrated into the game’s Flash panel. An AdSense optimized to Flash and other game-centric platforms would mean more revenue, would mean more companies jumping into this space, would mean tremendous shifts toward an audience of casual gamers which is (as the presentation noted), upwards of 200 million. The size of this audience cannot be understated: 1 in 4 of all Web users visit gaming sites, primarily to play casual titles. So a system which monetized this usage better wouldn’t just influence the game industry, but the development and direction of the Web in general.

But once again, details remain vague, with Adsense for Games’ rollout planned “soon”. So whether it changes the Internet business or just enhances it remains to be seen.

Hat tip: The excellent and indispensable Alice Taylor of Wonderland.

13 Responses to “Google's got game, casual game that is”

  1. Google is nothing more than a search engine company. That’s it. The only real innovation and ideas that come out of their HQ all come from ideas from companies they have purchased. It great to see consolidation yea, but for what. GOOGLE IS A search engine. I haven’t used Google for over 5 years. For goodness sakes people have you ever tried or Great engines, and they don’t trach everywhere you go on the Internet. I laugh at this because when the first tech bubble happened I always said that it was very CLEAR the investment groups have absolutely no idea where this technology is headed. So, what is their response? Let’s get google to buy up every new idea that looks reasonable.

    Because of the Privacy concerns with Google, MySpace, YouTube, and FaceBook, I created It’s the only true website. Posting pictures and video of our kids on the web isn’t the best idea to protect our privacy. Companies want to invade you privacy by monitoring you habits, clicks, etc.. Why? Well I know why but it’s none of theri business and I’m not going to support any website or company that doesn’t 100% protect my personal data.
    James Hart, CEO, Inc.
    [email protected]

  2. I think it’s a good step for Google although they might have to modify it so as it’s not click-through.

    David – Can you shoot me an invite for Moola?

    Also, are you guys going to Vegas in November for the blogging conference – Postiecon?

  3. I think this is a good development for Google. I would like to see them get involved in advertising supported music. The search advertising model doesn’t work here, but Google is moving away from that anyhow. The market for advertising supported music is huge – dwarfs casual gaming – and untapped.

    Check out the Ad-Supported Music Central blog:

  4. Moola is probably one of the best models right now for monetizing casual gaming. Have you had a chance to look at it? Their games don’t cost anything, are casual, and give cash prizes. They use video ads before the game and the user must answer a question about the ad. Its more of a brand recognition bid than a click-through bid.

  5. Anonymous

    So according to a Giga article from last week, DTD is now using Mochi Ads. Any sense of how revenues from the game changed when he switched from AdSense?