It’s a business model that has been with the casual gaming industry nearly since the beginning: Play a game for an hour and if you like it, buy it.
MostFun.com is one of a growing number of sites that are challenging the paradigm and allowing players to sample full games for free without shelling out a dime. Gamezebo spoke with Jonathan Venier, the marketing director of Mostfun.com, to get the low-down on the recently-launched site.
“The unique value proposition is to provide users with free unlimited access to premium casual games,” Venier said. “And in exchange users watch a small number of TV quality video ads.”
Here’s the idea: Players log on to MostFun.com, and find the game that they want to play from the approximately 130 selections currently available on the site. Then, they can either play it online or save it to their computer and play it with MostFun’s downloadable utility.
The games are exactly the same as their paid-for counterparts; users just have to watch a commercial before the game starts. It’s not a freebie; it’s just a new way of paying to play, with attention instead of dollars. The waters have been tested by other companies that offer ad-supported extended trials, but MostFun appears to be the first to offer a full game.
Though it may seem too good to be true, the idea’s not actually as revolutionary as it seems. Venier compares it to cable (which is largely subsidized by ad support) vs. pay channels like HBO (which shows their programs ad-free thanks to viewer fees).
The new model is also a possible solution to one of casual gaming’s biggest issues: Turning demo downloaders into game buyers.
“It’s not a mystery that low conversion is the single biggest problem facing the casual games market,” Venier said. “We see conversion rates between 1 and 2 percent.”
It’s unclear whether or not game sales will be increased by MostFun’s approach, but at least hosts and developers alike can be compensated for the eyes on their product, whether the player makes the choice to buy or not.
Though the site is currently in beta, it’s already filled with some classic games already like Diner Dash, Luxor 2 and Chocolatier and Venier said that the site is still gaining momentum and constantly adding more publishing partners.
While the site features an ever-increasing stable of games, not all of the newest titles will appear on MostFun right away.
“It’s kind of a mix,” Venier said. “Some game publishers are, at least today, a bit hesitant to distribute brand new games on MostFun. But that’s not always the case.”
The way Venier sees it, the model used by MostFun isn’t necessarily a replacement for the old try-before-you-buy method that’s been an industry stalwart for so long.
To that end, those who like a casual game that they play on MostFun can actually pay for the game and be able to play it whenever they want, ad-free.
“I think it’s more of a compliment,” he said. “I think ads and game purchase can work in sync with each other. The key element here is giving users choice.”