A 30-day free trial gives you access to a game or service for a fixed, limited amount of time without having to pay for it until the time is elapsed. After that, the trial period ends, and you'll have to dish out the dough if you want to continue. If it's a subscription-based service, you'll often be billed automatically for another month once the trial is over.note
Thirty days is common, but any length of time counts.
Not to be confused with the Freemium
model, where the free version of the game has limited content, but no time restrictions; Freemium services often include a 30-day free trial of the premium version. Shareware
often uses this model as well.
If advertising plays up the trial version with phrases like "Play now for free!" while playing down
the actual and full cost, it may
just be an Allegedly Free Game
- Free players of RuneScape can try a 14-day free trial of membership without having to pay.
- EVE Online has a 14-day free trial. There are ways to get a 21-day trial, however.
- Star Wars: Galaxies offered new accounts a 14-day free trial of the game, rewarding those who subscribe at the end with a bonus item that boosts their Experience Points temporarily.
- Rift has a seven-day free trial.
- Most of the games at Big Fish Games have a one-hour trial period. If you want to keep playing after the hour, you'll need to buy the game. (Since they're a Casual Video Game company, not an MMO, one hour is usually enough time to see if you like the game or not.)
- GameHouse, another Casual Video Game site, works the same way as Big Fish Games: The games can be played for one hour free; to play longer you need to buy it.
- PlanetSide once had a Reserves event note which included a one year long trial that stood up to its name by attracting a lot of players. The game also had a seven-day trial before and after the Reserves, but a few years after the Reserves ended, the trials ended because they were very convenient for hackers - they'd get banned, then immediately make another trial account.
- Steam frequently has "free weekends". Typically for multiplayer based games (the game in question also tends to be discounted for the same length of time).
- Escape Velocity is distributed as shareware. You can download and play for free for 30 days (though the plots cut off about the halfway point), after which many pieces of the game (certain ships, for instance) are blocked off. And in Nova, Captain Hector will hunt you down and kill you.
- Playing Minecraft on an account that hasn't bought the game yet will limit the player to 100 minutes (5 in-game days) of gameplay on a preset world, after which their only options are to reset the world or buy the game.
- Much more useful were the floppies AOL (and some of its competitors) used in the 1980s and '90s… which could be erased and used for your own data. Many people never had to buy a diskette of their own even once, thanks to the mountain of them flowing through their mail slot courtesy of AOL.
- Netflix has many different avenues of giving new customers 30-day free trials.
- Skype has the seven-day free trial of group video calling.
- Some dating sites will have a "communicate for free this weekend" promo for new members.
- WinRAR subverts this trope. The trial version says you have 40 days until you need to buy it, but even after that it still works.
- For new registrants with Ooma, there is a free 60-day trial of their Premier service, which offers more features (for example, call forwarding and call blocking.) After that, however, you can either opt for the Basic service (which doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but also doesn't have a subscription fee), or pay $10 a month for the Premier, whose features usually cost 3x as much with a regular landline phone plan.