Google has expanded its empire into the in-game ad market, with the acquisition of Adscape for $23m (£11.8m).

Adscape’s technology allows advertisers to place ads within games, as well as giving marketers the ability to measure ad performance.

The deal has been on the cards for a while, and the acquisition gives Google a chance to move into a new market. The video game ad sector is estimated to be worth around $100m (£51m) now, and is forecast to grow fivefold by 2010.

Adscape officially launched in February 2006 with $3.2m (£1.6m) funding from Atlanta’s HIG Ventures.

It doesn’t have any game publisher customers yet, but the deal gives Google the patents for Adscape’s technology and the experience and contacts of the current management team.

Microsoft also recently made a move into the in-game ad market, with the acquisition of in-game ad company Massive for between $200m and $400m (£102 to £204m).

blog@e-consultancy.com