Google gets into video games

Google is muscling in on video game territory, though it won't exactly be in the form of a shoot 'em up game.

An Associated Press report said Google is launching the beta version of 'AdSense for Games,' a technology designed to put relevant advertising in web-based games.

It is an expansion of Google's AdSense program, which matches ads to the content of web sites. Similarly, AdSense for Games will show, for example, ads targeted at young men in sports and action games. The ads themselves would be videos that players watch before or after a game, or after completing a level.

AdSense in Games lets Google offer advertisers 'yet another place' to reach customers, Christian Oestlien, senior product manager at Google was quoted as saying.

Google's entry into the gaming space has long been anticipated and could be a hedge against slippage in online advertising from the economic downturn. Google bought Adscape Media, a small in-game advertising company, in early 2007, less than a year after Microsoft Corp. bought in-game ad company Massive Inc.

Google's chief rival, Yahoo, already offers ad-supported, downloadable games. Double Fusion and NeoEdge, two in-game advertising companies, are selling video ads integrated into the games.