In less than a year, Spotify has popularized the idea of free access to music all the time, gaining more than 19.9 million monthly users and exciting a new round of fundraising, led by a $100 investment from Goldman Sachs. This week Swedish company GamersGate launched its own version of Spotify for videogames, a service called VOID.
Players will make an account, pick a game they want to play, download it, watch 60 seconds of pre-game advertising, and then play the game in-full. Everytime they restart they'll watch more ads. The number of games you'll be able to download will be limited by the number and type of slots you have associated with your account.
The service launches with a limited and very PC-centric library of games, but the company promises to add more games as the service grows. Available at launch will be Risen, Dark Void, Painkiller, Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis 2, Men of War, and Jagged Alliance 2.
The Spotify model for music distribution has certainly succeeded at building a user base and dominating headlines, but its capacity to make money remains unclear. Spotify president Daniel Ek speculated that the company could make $889 million in revenue in 2012, a figure that excites investment bankers but also seems hard to reconcile with current figures.
An estimate by the Jupiter Group suggests Spotify's paying accounts are only 3.4 million users, which means close to half a billion dollars of the company's revenue would have to come from advertising revenue. Can that model work for videogames?