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BizReport : Advertising : May 17, 2007


Google patents in-game ad targeting methods

Just a few months after its purchase of Adscape Media, Google has filed a patent application detailing complex in-game ad targeting methods.

by Helen Leggatt

Google purchased Adscape Media in part for its ability to integrate advertising with a game’s storyline and plot. The patent application abstract states that, by monitoring a user’s in-game behavior and making inferences from that person’s online activities and preferences, ad targeting could be improved.

"Publishers are becoming more like media companies," said Justin Townsend, chief executive of in-game advertising company IGA Worldwide. "More games are being optimized for advertising."

Apart from collecting user data from game profiles, such as preferred car brand in a racing game or team in a basketball game, Google’s patent goes further by proposing the monitoring of game play and dialogue to ascertain a player’s state of mind, or predict a need. An example from the patent reads, “If the user has been playing for over two hours continuously, the system may display ads for Pizza Hut, Coke, coffee.” Even game soundtracks selected by the user can be tracked and ads targeted around specific music genres.

Concerns have already been raised around privacy issues. Sue Charman of online campaign Open Rights Group said, "I can understand why they are interested in this, but I would be deeply disturbed by a company holding a psychological profile.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Google said it had no plans to introduce any such technology in the near future stating "We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications."

Tags: ad targeting, Adscape Media, Google, in-game advertising










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