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International: Google acquires in-game advertising startup for $23 m

19-February-2007
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International: Google acquires in-game advertising startup for $23 m

Google has made a foray into in-game advertising with an agreement to acquire Adscape Media for $23 million. The acquisition is expected to enable the search giant to extend its online ad-serving system to a growing online gaming market.

The San Francisco-based Adscape is a small startup that delivers so-called dynamic advertisements for video games. Launched only last February with a $3.2-million funding from the Atlanta-based HIG Ventures, Adscape has not announced any game publishers as its customers yet.

Adscape has an interesting technology that enables advertisers to send brand messages and many other transactions that are relevant to a video game, benefiting both the advertiser and game publisher by offering exclusive offers and content directly to the game-player, but without interrupting game. You can imagine a product placement that's smarter than what you see in a television show, because it's targeted demographically and geographically. It's also a good way to reach teens and to improve the image of a brand by making it playful.

Making the announcement, a Google official said, “We are always considering new ways to extend Google's advertising programme to benefit our users, advertisers and publishers. In-game advertising offers one such possible extension among many others. Google tries to expand offline and to become the one-stop shop for advertisers, regardless of the medium.”

The move comes after news broke last month that the Internet advertising giant was in the final stages of buying the startup, a deal that could give Google an entry point into a new advertising category.

In 2006, Microsoft acquired a much bigger player, Massive. Unlike Massive that had big clients like Coca-Cola and Honda among others, Adscape prides itself only with a list of patents, so this is just a starting point for Google.

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