I have been a professional game developer for much of my career. You may have noticed in the last decade or so, there has been a craze of mostly hobby developers that make small games for distribution online. These get tens of thousands of downloads, millions if it is a viral game. While many of these are poor quality, there are many that are quite good.
The professional end of this kind of game development is often referred to as casual games. Many of these games have had great commercial success. Their monetization model usually goes like this; try before you buy free download with limited levels and/or functionality and when you pay for the game, you get a serial number to unlock the rest of the game or get the full download link.
I noticed over the years that even the lowest quality games get thousands of downloads. My question to you is this; What about exclusively free downloadable games; nothing you need a whole production company for? Monetized with in game ads to CPA offers in the Intro and credits screens.
Have any of you tried this? Is it a viable strategy and which monetization models / CPA offers would you use? Maybe promote free sign-ups like Gaia Online, Runescape and the like?