Officials from Microsoft Casual Games have unveiled plans to share a percentage of in-game advertising revenue from MSN Games with its developers.
Beginning this week, developers of Web based casual games hosted on the MSN Games portal will be eligible to take part in the new Ad-Share Program. According to Microsoft, the program is designed to help foster increased innovation in the casual games space, while also providing casual game developers with a new revenue stream.
Funds will accrue monthly, with developers sharing a percentage of the gross revenue received from the advertisements shown during online gameplay for their games, including ads served during the loading screens at the start of a game or in between levels, as well as ads placed in or around the game window. Microsoft estimates that the developers of the five most popular titles on MSN Games participating in the Ad-Share Program are likely to share nearly $250,000 annually, based on current in-game advertising revenue rates.
The program offers developers advertising revenue incentives at two levels, with the first requiring little to no change in the development and submission process and offering 10 percent of the total in-game advertising revenue generated by their games.
The second level offers an increased incentive of 20 percent and requires some additions to the game development process such as localization, Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings and the creation of a "deluxe" game experience that offers players at least ten hours of free Web-based gameplay.
"Casual game developers traditionally operate on a limited revenue model, typically receiving a set fee from downloadable titles or a small royalty associated with game subscriptions," said Chris Early, studio manager for Microsoft Casual Games. "Now, by sharing in-game advertising revenue, we're allowing a more diversified business model that gives our partners more resources to create new, innovative titles for the 13 million people we see every month on MSN Games."