Google invading gaming?

Search engine giant Google could be working towards an entry into in-game advertising, the controversial and worrying trend for publishers to flog virtual space inside games for brand name advertising - such as that seen on billboards in Electronic Arts' Battlefield 2142.

According to a report on CNET, Google is in talks to buy a company called AdScape Media, which has been developing tactics for inserting ads into games for five years. If the deal goes through, Google would be in a position to push ads into gaming and go up against the big boys of this new, young-male-with-income-hunting style of advertising - IGA (who brought the ads to BF2142 's billboards) and Massive, an in-game ad provider owned by Microsoft.

Obviously as gamers, we're worried about how this cut-throat competition is going to play out. However, at the same time, credit has to go to EA, which has managed to resist plastering My Little Pony ads across BF2142's futuro-world, opting instead for ads like the recent billboards promoting the Discovery Channel's Future Weapons series in the US, and at least shows a level of understanding about content that gamers might not mind invading their gaming space.

February 12, 2007