MacarooMac writes "EA Games recently announced they are to release a free online version of their PC game 'Battlefield Heroes', supported by in game adverts and micro payments. EA hopes the model of a free game as a download that is supported by advertising could be applied to other franchises it owns. For this particular title, no adverts will appear in the game itself due to incompatibility with the game's fictional world. Instead, adverts will appear on the website and the 'front-end' of the game. But many other titles can and do provide for product placement during game play itself. How long before improvements in video graphics, combined with dynamic, and perhaps even interactive in-game advertising, start to generate revenue increases that enable publishers to substantially reduce the price of their games?"
Already a very common model for Eastern online titles, and being adapted here in the states by a number of companies.