Free-to-Play can be something of a challenging beast to tame.  Having said that, Facebook developers seem to have done it.  Mobile developers have managed pretty well with it too.  But when it comes to PC games, with the exception of a few big players dipping their toes in (EA, Ubisoft) and a slew of MMO’s, nobody has really managed to establish market dominance in F2P downloads.  As of this week, Big Fish is looking to change that.

Beginning with yesterday’s launch of Toy Defense: Free to Play and continuing with the impending launch of Big Fish Casino for both the PC and Mac, Big Fish has boldly stepped into the world of free-to-play downloads.

“F2P games are increasingly popular with gamers who have been introduced to digital games over the past few years via the rapid growth of social and mobile platforms,” said Paul Thelen, Founder and CEO of Big Fish. “It is a natural extension to both our PC/Mac app store and to our mobile publishing business.”

Looking back, it seems as though Big Fish has been laying the groundwork on this for a while now.  Big Fish Casino first debuted a few months ago on mobile platforms and Facebook, and prior to that the company has experimented with everything from My Tribe on Facebook to free-to-paid offerings on the App Store.  And with their recent launch of Big Fish Unlimited (their streaming service), it’s pretty clear that the company is looking to spread their wings even further, trying to deliver games anywhere that a consumer could possibly be.

Don’t like free-to-play?  Don’t worry – like Unlimited, Big Fish is approaching F2P as an “in addition to” business rather than a “replacing what’s already there.”  In fact, the company’s official statement describes it as “complementing” their catalog of 3000 games.  So relax, pay-to-play die hards – your regular downloads aren’t going anywhere.

That said, Big Fish has committed to releasing “several new top-tier F2P games on its PC and Mac app store each month,” so it’s time to start speculating on what those games might be.  Need some help with your first guess?  Here’s some food for thought: if hidden object games are one of the top draws in free-to-play right now, and Big Fish are renowned for their selection of hidden object games… doesn’t it seem inevitable?

In fact… maybe this iPad game we stumbled upon recently could be destined for desktops too.  Who knows?  It’s all speculation at this point – but we’re excited to see how it all plays out.