Rovio plans to add advertisements in games running on Google's Android and Apple's iPhone operating systems -- namely Angry Birds, which now counts more than 280 million global downloads.
Nexage will support the strategy through the RTB Exchange, making it possible for the game maker to integrate ads between game levels and before and after play.
Game developers for Rovio will integrate Nexage's software development kits in the games. The first ad buyer in China went live Wednesday through an unnamed ad network, according to Ernie Cormier, CEO and president of Nexage.
"When you download one of the free Angry Bird games, you'll see banners and interstitials between the levels in the game. Sometimes they will be static and other times video."
In some cases, Cormier explains rich media or interactive ads will take the gamer out of the game to the brand's landing page.
Mobile gaming revenue will exceed $16 billion in 2016, as in-app payments grow, according to ABI Research. The analyst firm points to Angry Birds as an early example of the dynamics between casual gaming and the discovery of new content.
Nexage's platform provides real-time bidding and makes ad units available in the game. The company will manage the ad impressions, reports, optimization and day-to-day relationships for brands that want to advertise in Rovio games through a combination of 80 ad networks, demand-side platforms, agencies and others that purchase the inventory.
Cormier said Nexage now approaches about 8 billion impressions monthly for 170 publishers and developers, and 600 sites and applications. The platform supports companies worldwide, but a little more than half of the traffic comes from the U.S.
Mobile advertisers have challenges, admits Cormier. "There are many," he said. "We're still in the early days. There are no standards for what the ad looks like and how it should behave. We're back to the days around 1995 when browsers and cookies were not supported by standards."
Finnish Rovio has other challenges, too. The tight integration between emerging technology, applications and mobile games puts developers in a precarious position. Texas-based Lodsys sued the company for patent violations claiming concerns on how people purchase new levels inside the Angry Birds game.
Angry Birds will also move beyond advertising and video games into toys and movies.
While Rovio currently has a hit with Angry Birds, it will need to add new features or make the experience evolve in some way. I have Angry Birds, Holidays, and Rio on my iPhone and there's no reason for me to download anymore version unless they enhance the gameplay.
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