GameTap to go free

Written by Brett Thomas

May 2, 2007 | 10:05

Tags: #advertising #gametap #sam-max #sonic

Old games are big business. It doesn't take much effort to see that, what with emulators, abandonware, and ROMs so popular nowadays. In an effort to legally bring some of the old classics to modern masses, GameTap was born - a subscription service that allows you to play every game in the library for one low monthly price.

And now, some of that library will be free.

GameTap is cashing in on some of the tremendous success that it's had over the last year and some of business by opening up some of its games to free play over the web. Rather than being forced to use the client and pay the subscription fee, the new free games would be advertising supported. This new model could be a great addition to the company's subscription model.

Premium subscriptions will, of course, still remain and only a handful of games will make the transition to free to start off with. 30 titles out of the over 800 that the service has to offer will launch with the new service, which is set to go live on May 31st. Along with the announcement, the company has mentioned that it will continue with its new content offerings, including the Sam & Max series and the upcoming Tomb Raider: Anniversary, both of which will be available for outright purchase.

With these new models available to it, it seems like GameTap is going for the throat of two business models at once. The free service paints a target on "pay" systems like the Wii's Virtual Console, while the new purchase service for new content aims squarely at Valve's Steam service. Whether GameTap can effectively knock the wind out of either of these giants has yet to be seen, but it seems like all of the right moves are being made.

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