Sometimes, the people who own the copyright for a certain commercial product decide to rerelease said product to the general audience as a free product.
Reasons for doing so vary. Sometimes, the product is not doing well, and the people who own the rights don't want the product's community to die out. Other times, it's being given out as a celebration of some event.
A variation is when the product is only released for a certain amount of time before it stops being commercial.
Another variation is when something becomes free only for a limited amount of time before it stops being free.
May result in said product becoming either an Allegedly Free Game
- GiveAwayOfTheDay.com gives free software for one day only; after that it goes back to its regular price.
- Recently, Mac OS X version 10.9, known as Mavericks, became free, whereas previously new versions were paid. You have to have a Mac (or a Hackintosh) to take advantage of this, but still, it's now free and previously was not.
- Project Gutenberg is a volunteer-based organization with the mission of promoting eBooks. People are encouraged to create eBooks of any works that have fallen within the public domain for their country. This allows them to distribute "every" book for free (where "every" means books that are no longer protected by copyright).
- Anathallo's first album, Luminous Luminescence in the Atlas Position, was out of print and completely impossible to buy for a period in the early 2000s. During this time, the band members would give MP3s of the album to any fan who asked them online.
- Havalina Rail Co.'s album Russian Lullabies went out of print, and the record label that published it went out of business. When fans clamored for a way to get the album, the band responded by putting it on their website as a free download.
- In August 2009, a Universal System called the D6 system was rereleased as open source under the SRD. PDF versions of a couple of books (including the base rules) were then released to the general audience for free.
- The first Command & Conquer: Red Alert has been released for free as promotion when EA released the third title in the series.
- Team Fortress 2 was originally a commercial game before it became a Freemium in 2011.
- Other online multiplayer games re-released for free after they, like Team Fortress 2, discovered the miracle of microtransactions. Age of Conan was one.
- Tyrian, originally published in 1995, was rereleased as freeware in 2004 as a gift to everyone else. It can also be found on GOG.com as a freeware product.
- The original SimCity has been re-released under an open-source licence as "Micropolis".
- Elite and its sequel Frontier were rereleased as free downloads from Frontier Developments, though some wrangling is needed to get them to run on modern machines.
- An Untitled Story and its soundtrack were originally sold for money before Matt released them as freeware.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall have been released as freeware on the fifteenth anniversary of The Elder Scrolls series.
- Grand Theft Auto and its sequel were commercially released games. The Windows ports of the first two games were rereleased as freeware to encourage people to sign up for the Rockstar Propaganda newsletter.
- Playstation Plus members get free games that usually have been around for a year or even more than ten years before. Oftentimes the new run breathes life into the online scene. Some larger games that have been offered free include Borderlands2 and LittleBigPlanet 2.
- In 2009, Epic Games released UDK (Unreal Development Kit); an open-source version of Unreal Engine 3 for Windows (and later, iOS) platforms. Although anyone selling a UDK based game still has to pay Epic royaltiesnote , releasing free UDK based games is...free.
- That wasn't the first time Epic Games gave away a game for free- in 1999, they rereleased their classic fighter One Must Fall 2097 as freeware as well.
- In 2004, the former members of Warzone 2100's defunct developer, Pumpkin Studios, released the game and its source code under the GNU General Public License.
- The original The Suffering was eventually released for free, with ads embedded.
- Angry Birds:
- The original game was originally made commercial on iOS devices. However, when it was ported to Android, the developers decided to make it ad-supported freeware. But only the Android version. The other versions are still commercial. Averted for the games released after the original, as they were available as ad-supported freeware for Android from the start.
- Angry Birds Rio was originally released on March 22, 2011 at the same price as the other Angry Birds games. However, on January 17, 2013, the game was rereleased for free, initially as part of Apple's "Free App of the Week" promotion.
- Bungie's Marathon series is now downloadable freeware, due to the computer system it was built for no longer being available.
- While Halo 3 is now a free download for the Xbox One, you need to have an Xbox Live account first to download it first.
- Skyroads, a shareware racer from Bluemoon Interactive, has been rereleased as freeware.
- God of Thunder, a puzzle-platformer by Software Creations, was rereleased as freeware in 2002.