When I was Tucows’ Technical Evangelist, one of the areas the company was researching was casual gaming and the opportunities it presented. During the research phase, our casual games guy Scott Murff pointed out the difference between the ads on casual and hardcore game sites: while the ads on hardcore game sites were generally about other hardcore games, the ads on casual games sites were aimed at a broader audience, and many were aimed at women.
The next logical step is to take the ads on the page area surrounding casual games and and move them inside casual games, and it’s now possible with AdSense for Games, which makes it possible to insert AdSense advertising into Flash games. Here’s an example provided by the Inside AdSense blog, which shows gameplay and a “and now, a word from our sponsors” moment featuring an AdSense ad (the ad comes on at the 0:53 mark):
For the time being, your casual game will have to be a hit to qualify: it has to have half a million game plays a day and 80% of its traffic must come from the U.S. and U.K.. As with original recipe AdSense, it’s likely that the “long tail” crowd will eventually be admitted if AdSense for Games takes off.
For more details, see the Google In-Game Advertising page.