So the news broke earlier this week that everyone’s favorite broadband gaming site, Turner’s very own GameTap is expanding their offering to include free-to-play games in an ad-supported environment. You can guess that my team has been actively working on this project for a while. It’s pretty exciting. Much like the varying levels of ‘membership’ on services like Xbox Live, GameTap will offer non-paying, non-registered users access to some games, playable from a light-weight version of their ‘grandaddy’ client. General Manager Stu Snyder (who was just promoted yesterday to a new role as executive vice president and chief operating officer of animation, young adults & kids media in addition to his GameTap role) said it this way in the Business Week story:
“With 2 to 3 million uniques per month, we realized we weren’t monetizing that many uniques to our website,” he says. “We kind of looked back and said, ‘gee, we should [offer an ad-supported version].’ Also, our demographic was looking for an easy way to play games without making a huge time commitment or financial commitment. So we figured why not have all options for all gamers?”
Other content becomes available with a free registration, and users can graduate to the full product and 800+ games with a full subscription. We have also been working to support an ad-supported version of the large range of video content previously only available in the full client known as Gametap TV. I think this ad-supported model has some real legs! Coverage of the project has been widespread, from Business Week, Ars Technica, Kotaku, and the San Jose Mercury News.