GOOGLE has agreed to acquire in-game advertising company Adscape Media for $US23 million ($29 million), according to technology site Red Herring, which cited sources familiar with the matter.
A Google spokesman declined to comment, saying the company’s policy is not to respond to “rumour or speculation”. Video game industry analysts said the acquisition could give a boost to the nascent in-game advertising market.Adscape competes with advertising start-ups Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide, which have already signed deals with major publishers.
It also has a rival in Microsoft, which last year paid $US200 million for in-game ad company Massive Inc – lured by Massive’s agreements to place ads in online games from UbiSoft Entertainment, THQ and Take-Two Interactive Software.
“My take on this probable deal is that it doesn’t make a lot of difference to Google but it does provide significant credibility to the game marketing space,” Forrester Research analyst Shar Van Boskirk said.
An Adscape spokeswoman previously said that the company struck deals with video game publishers, but that for strategic reasons it was not revealing names or commenting on the Google acquisition speculation. A company representative was not immediately available for comment.
While Adscape is seeking deals with virtually all major publishers, its value is expected to be based largely on its team and its technology that places dynamic ads on billboards, or vending machines that appear in video games. Adscape, which has received funding from HIG Ventures in Atlanta, is poised to be the big winner if a deal is struck because Google built its multi-billion-dollar web search advertising business with a huge roster of large and small marketers and now has a large, experienced ad sales staff.