Microsoft to split ad money with casual developers

Casual gaming branch of software giant announces Ad-Share Program, pledges to share up to 20 percent of in-game advertising revenue with developers.

Microsoft Casual Games today announced a new plan to split revenue from in-game advertising on its Web-based games with developers. Simply referred to as Ad-Share Program, the initiative allows developers to reap up to 20 percent of the money brought in from advertising in games hosted on MSN Games.

Ads can be shown within the game, placed around the game window during gameplay, or simply slapped onto loading screens. Microsoft Casual Games has estimated that the developers of the top five games in the program will share more than $250,000 each year.

There are two levels of participation in the program. Level I grants developers a 10 percent take of the revenue, and Microsoft Casual Games says it requires "little to no change" in the development and submission process for a game to qualify. However, to take advantage of the 20 percent revenue sharing for Level II titles, developers must have their games rated, address certain localization issues, and create a "deluxe" experience that lasts at least 10 hours.

Microsoft Casual Games has said the program is designed to foster innovative content and more immersive game experiences, while advertisers get more immersive ad vehicles that attract users for longer periods of time. Developers interested in the program can contact Microsoft at MCG@microsoft.com for more details.

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Discussion

56 comments
theKSMM
theKSMM

I hate to break the bad news to you guys, but the point of ads is just to create a new revenue stream for developers. Particularly at the small end of the development pool, it's difficult and risky to recoup costs just through straight purchases. Licensing and ads give smaller companies a potential way to keep afloat through lean times.

blackace
blackace

Probably because M$ is worth about 20x's what Sony is worth. Why do you think they are about to offer this program and give developers 20% of the advertisement profits. This is something you will NEVER see Sony do. Ever!! Sony is all about greed. Yes, this is for the casual developers who make shareware type games for MSN Games. You know, games like Bejewels, Luxor, etc... I'm glad M$ is doing this, as it shows how much respect they have for these type of gamers. They just need to get Vista fixed show these developers can play their games on the new O/S. ____________________________________________________________ hoverboy Why people choose to use a $ when spelling MS (M$) but *not* when spelling Sony (Sony) is even funnier.

CyphenX
CyphenX

Wow... that's really generous. Just goes to show how serious MS is about this hole gaming thing. (and, of course, that it's Sony, not MS that are the @$$holes of the gaming industry)

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

I didn't even know that Microsoft had a casual games department.... Anyway, don't most casual games already use Ad-Share?

thomasonfa
thomasonfa

Now since Ads will be in more games, can we get a break on the game prices. Because the point of Ads is to have someone else pay for a portion of the game. I would like to see the consumers get a kickback such as reduced prices on games or better yet REDUCED Xbox Live Fee.

waleywu_basic
waleywu_basic

maybe not only on the billboard in NFS, they will pave the road with ads?? Keep it up, 'cause Microsoft just knows that we are just in love with more and more ads!

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

I wonder if this applies to XNA games done for XBL. That could be very sweet.

anarchicgoth
anarchicgoth

crazy cool! Anything to help indie devs to get the cash to make more games! I was looking forward to start making my own games and this will only help me!

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

Cause MS has $$$ and Sony does not. And if you want to talk about slave wages...we'll lets just not look at working conditions in Japan, much less the rest of the world. This is good for the smaller guys...to bad is upsets the MS bashers who claim to be gamers.

hoverboy
hoverboy

Why people choose to use a $ when spelling MS (M$) but *not* when spelling Sony (Sony) is even funnier. Oh and UntoldDreams, the contractors had benefits through their company. And didn't they only sue for stock options? I thought that it was all about the stock options?

UntoldDreams
UntoldDreams

bloodyrooster : Take your rose colored glasses off and view all large corporations under the same light. If any large corp (even your beloved M$) figured out a way to earn money by selling you into slavery you would be sold in a heartbeat. You have singlehandedly forgotten about the last 15 years of Microsoft anti-trust litigation which has cost the US/Japan/UK/Korea taxpayers vast millions of dollars. Why you think EA is any more or less evil than M$ is funny. M$ was convicted of using Contract engineers like slaves without paying benefits for years. What say you now?

SpiderFreak
SpiderFreak

First of all, everyone, if you read this, is said WEB-based games. Meaning most likely games you'd play ON THE INTERNET, ON YOUR COMPUTER. Like LineRider or something. So, basically, they're giving developers some of the profits made by the ads that are in/around their games, rather than just the publishers. This won't mean that Bungie is going to be getting tons of money if they put Coke machines in Halo 3. This means that casual game developers who make Web-based games will get some of the money the publisher is making off of the ads, instead of NOT getting some of the money. Way to go, Microsoft. SF

XlpranksterlX
XlpranksterlX

seems like a pretty good plan. I don't like ads yeah, but since it's inevitable it might as well for better games (supposedly)

hoverboy
hoverboy

@kinglink2 "...If there's anything Microsoft needs to stop is the hemoraging of cash over the advertising system..." 0.o Did you read the article? It's about splitting ad revenue with developers. It has nothing to do with Microsoft's ad campaigns.

kinglink2
kinglink2

If there's anything Microsoft needs to stop is the hemoraging of cash over the advertising system. Crackdown probably is costing them a couple million in advertising not counting their halo 3 beta, or the time it took for their demo, and then they wonder why they arn't making a profit.

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

well thats nice for them to cheapen the load for the smaller developers

yanks1112
yanks1112

Ads in games are fine. with me. Just make the games cheaper for the consumer not the developer!!

Phaje
Phaje

awesome. good idea, promote developers instead of publishers. i like it

bloodyrooster
bloodyrooster

dgpilot00 Don't bash Microsoft, they are stepping away from the greedy, slaved-worked corporation (like Electronic Arts). What this will do, ladies and gentlemen, is fuel higher quality games from small to mid size studios, rather than rushed, buggy, CRAPPY games (like Electronic Arts). Microsoft is always thinking about money, but they do come up with ways where they can still make money as well as others in order to ultimately help both companies succeed, whereas EA is a very selfish company that makes very selfish decisions, but they are reaping from their actions as time catches up with them.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

What is it about ads in games that seems so weird to me

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

Re gozalo: seriously, I'm starting to miss those good'ol days.

JimBurber
JimBurber

as long as games don't start getting pop-ups... I don't wanna have to install a pop-up blocker on my xbox 360! lol

cspiffo
cspiffo

I could care less as long as the ads don't interfere with the game.

dgpilot00
dgpilot00

Don't bash Microsoft, they are stepping away from the greedy, slaved-worked corporation (like Electronic Arts). What this will do, ladies and gentlemen, is fuel higher quality games from small to mid size studios, rather than rushed, buggy, CRAPPY games (like Electronic Arts).

chiplambert
chiplambert

These are the games that is on MSN's game section. All the ads are pretty much just screen advertisements between rounds or games or play in a window to the side of the game. Nothing they haven't been doing for years with it. So don't worry its not the end of the world.

gozalo
gozalo

remember the good ol' days when you played a game without any ads?... good times, good times.

hellrazor06
hellrazor06

MS needs to make there xbox 360s more relible and actually WORK in stead of crashin all the freakin time, fix up MS seriously

balindos
balindos

MS is doing good things in the gaming category.

bossjimbob
bossjimbob

Provided the ads are tasteful (or at least non-intrusive) I have no problem with this, especially if the game devs are getting a slice of the action with little to no additional work (or selling) on their part. Good going, MS.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

shessh, at least do something useful please ... i dun want command and conquer soldiers drinking to coke or pepsi in the cut scenes as adveristments!!!

Agreb91
Agreb91

Ads in games are bad, but if used the right way, like this. They could help newer developers.

tisch
tisch

humorguy, that's not going to work. the developers could just as easely misuse that money and just write themselves big wages and cash in big. It's just to complicated to control. let the indies prove themselves and MS wil follow. anyway it's a great program. hats-off to MS

Spartan1017
Spartan1017

this is just to the first step to what your sayin Humorguy.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

What i'd like to see is companies like Microsoft giving $5 million to an independent publisher, getting them to use that money to develop 4 games, and Microsoft would then have first choice to publish under the Microsoft Games label. If Microsoft di not want to publish any of the games, the games could go out to tender to other publishers or the independent publisher could publish it themselves, with a portion of the income going back to Microsoft. The benefits of this would be more original games on retail shelves and more games that will run on average PC's. This is good for gamers overall and good for the industry as it expands the market. $5 million is nothing to Microsoft, but imagine what the producers of Space rangers 2 or Gal Civ or Sam and Max could do with that investment and imagine what games we'd get and how we'd feel about Microsoft! Everyone a winner! :)

ocdog45
ocdog45

don't know what this means to the business of gaming

Muzykmann
Muzykmann

I'll tell ya... after getting itself a reputation as the evil empire, big brother, yada yada... Microsoft gaming division has done a LOT for gamers recently. Rewards for high gamerscores, $100 off the 360 for some around xmas time, now rewarding developers with cuts of the advertising money... Where Nintendo has always been known for pushing gaming forward through first party development, Microsoft seems to be taking the role of pushing gaming forward through incentives for developers and gamers alike. Well done Microsoft. Nice to have a company like you in on the console wars.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Hmm... I'm defintiely skeptical too. Nonetheless, MS seems to be giving a lot of stuff away lately. Ever see that movie Batman (the one with Michael Keaton)? Where the Joker (played masterfully by Jack Nicholson) is throwing money out to people to round them up and then he gasses them all? Oh noes, I hope Bill Gates hasn't lost it.

shinrock_live
shinrock_live

this is a good thing 4 all! so what if there are ads in a game. did ads that have been put in games in the past stop you in your track keeping you in a trance not letting play your game.it dosn't affect me when im racing past then on need 4 speed at 200mph.

LordAndrew
LordAndrew

There are already ads on MSN Games. I believe what they're doing here is letting the game developers have a piece of the profit from the ads.

nikefreak
nikefreak

Gmacrusher - "see that proves that Microsoft support their developers...unlike the other competitors" Corrected for accuracy. "Oh hell no. So now I'm going to be pushed to view gaddamned ads on my games too? I don't dig this at all. " On MSN games? Dont you already view ads on there?