Casual Games Get Ad-Driven Widget For All

The thumbnail on the left depicts a service that, if it fully delivers as promised, has a decent chance to transform the web as profoundly as AdSense. Launching today, it’s the NeoEdge Game Channel, an ad-driven game widget from NeoEdge, the Mountain View startup we wrote about last November. Its Game Channel is a kind of videogame jukebox offering a selection of titles from several genres; when you click to play, NeoEdge’s advertising feed kicks in as the game loads.

Here’s the thing that excites me most: Pretty much any web owner (including bloggers) can install this plug-and-play widget on their site, and share advertising revenue with NeoEdge. (Hence the comparison to AdSense, only fun and interactive.) The social network PerfSpot is using the Channel, so you can go here to get a sense of what it’s like.

For site owners, NeoEdge Marketing VP Ty Levine told me, “This is a way of keeping people on your site.” It also gives them a new revenue stream; a site with 200,000 unique users, Levine estimated, could earn $1,000 to 5,000 a month, depending on the owner’s sponsorship deal and revenue share. With some 400 titles in the NeoEdge library, the channel can be customized with selections that fit a site’s demographics and branding.

As with AdSense, the Game Channel widget gives site owners far and wide an incentive to install it — and gives casual-game developers reason to keep creating content for it. Whether NeoEdge can capture and hold this market depends on its ability to deliver a diverse and compelling library of games — and to stay ahead of its competitors. With so many players rushing into the ad-driven casual game space, I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar services, purporting to offer better titles and/or revenue shares, launched by NeoEdge’s rivals. Let the casual game wars begin!