You’re well aware of subscription models that allow you to stream unlimited content—whether movies, music, or television shows—for a monthly fee. Would you be willing to do the same for solitaire, the office procrastinator’s best friend?
Microsoft is betting “Yes,” which is why it’s charging $1.49 per month (or $9.99 per year) for an ad-free version of the solitaire game bundled with Windows 10. The irony is that, for those who already run a copy of Windows 7 or 8 on their PC, upgrading to Windows 10 is free; but if you don’t want distracting ads popping up alongside the desktop solitaire game that’s the one thing standing between you and post-lunch existential despond—hey, you actually have to shell out some cash for that privilege.
As Time helpfully points out, Microsoft previously tried charging for solitaire with Windows 8; but the game didn’t come pre-bundled with that version of the operating system, which made it more of a conventional software purchase.
Microsoft faces some significant challenges as it attempts to tweak its revenue models to take advantage of an increasingly cloud– and mobile-centric world. Whereas the company once profited off sales of boxed software, it has moved aggressively under CEO Satya Nadella to subscription-based models for services such as Office and Azure. Whether those models allow the company to succeed in growing its fortunes remains to be seen; but it seems unlikely that fee-based solitaire will prove a major moneymaker.