Microsoft to share Casual Games ad revenue

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft Casual Games has unveiled a new revenue sharing plan that would let game developers grab a share of in-game advertising money. The new "Ad-Share" program will give a percentage of gross advertising revenues in the form of monthly checks. Microsoft estimates that annual amount could be substantial and thinks the top five MSN Games could pay out $250,000 a year.

Casual Games are small and free online games that resemble the included Windows games in complexity. The ads are typically served up during the loading screen and while levels are being loaded. Developers can choose to continue regular development for 10% of in-game ad revenue or they can choose "Level II" which gives substantially higher revenues at 20%, but also requires more development including localization and the creation of a "deluxe" game.

Microsoft says more than 13 million people a month play casual games through MSN Games.