Google Files Patent For Targeting In-Game Ads

    March 29, 2007

With its purchase of Adscape, Google sent a clear message that it was looking to establish an advertising presence in the worlds of both online and offline gaming. In a patent filing, the company outlines particular strategies that it is seeking to implement to gather specific information on gamers in order to tailor personalized advertising toward them.

You’ve been in a marathon session of Perfect Dark Zero for almost eight hours now. As several would-be assassins are chasing you throughout the city, you come across a billboard for Papa John’s. Suddenly, you’re reminded that it’s been about twelve hours since you’ve eaten so you pause the game, pick up the phone, and order yourself a piping hot pizza with all the fixings.

This is just the scenario that Google is looking to accomplish with its recent shift toward in-game advertising.

In its latest patent filing, Google is looking to gather specific user information so that it can deliver relevant, targeted advertising to gamers. The patent abstract reads as follows:

Information about a person’s interests and gaming behavior may be determined by monitoring their online gaming activities (and perhaps making inferences from such activities). Such information may be used to improve ad targeting. For example, such information may used to target ads to be rendered in a video game being played by the person.

Bill Slawski theorizes other ways that Google might make use of the information:

This kind of user input might help select relevant advertisements. Someone drives a racing car from Dodge, they may be show ads for Dodge cars. They pick a Miami sports team, and get ads for tickets for events in Miami. A Beastie Boys soundtrack selection might trigger rap or hip hop ads rather than Britney Spears.

Hopefully Google has ideas on how to secure all this information and doesn’t plan on selling it to third party advertisers, something Comcast is notorious for doing.