|Free games coming soon...|
Now online game marketplace Gamersgate is attempting to bring that model to PC games with a new service, Freegames. A closed beta is opening up later this month, with the service expected to roll out in September. There'll be ads on the site, and ads while you download, and ads before and after you play. Like most of these ads, users will probably quickly learn to ignore them. Well, that's OK if they can still line up advertisers, I guess.
A more useful model would be the sponsored game, where some advertiser sponsors some downloads in return for the recognition and warm feelings a free game will generate. I think this sounds like a more useufl marketing tool.
Gamersgate is expecting to launch with some 200 titles, and is still busily negotiating with publishers over exactly what titles will be available. It's worth keeping an eye on this to see how it goes.
I expect it's going to be more helpful for larger publishers with established titles; advertisers are unlikely to rush in to support your unknown indie title until you've built some audience for it.