Video games have been a massively popular hobby since they first hit arcades in the ‘70s, and the home console only accelerated their growth into pop culture. Today, 75 percent of Americans of all ages play video games. 

Video games are also an internationally loved hobby, and the US only has the fifth-highest percentage of adult gamers, while an impressive 94 percent of adults in Vietnam play video games. 

The popularity of video games on PC, console, and mobile devices isn’t going away anytime soon. Though when new console releases typically cost $60 a game, it’s a hobby that can get costly. To help you game without going over budget, we’re sharing top tips on how to get free video games and our favorite free titles. 

10 Most Popular Free Games

Free-to-play games that offer in-app purchases were first popular in mobile games and have expanded into console and PC gaming, too. Some of the most popular games available today are totally free to play, though you can purchase accessories and additional experiences. 

If you haven’t tried them yet, these are some of the most popular free games available. 

1. Apex Legends

Available On: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch

Genre: Battle royale, first-person shooter

Apex Legends is a multiplayer battle royale that joins players into teams of three to battle until the last team is standing. Players choose from pre-created characters called “Legends” that each offer a unique skill and backstory. 

2. Brawlhalla

Available On: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

Genre: Fighting

Brawlhalla is a platform fighting game that offers online and local multiplayer gaming experiences. Up to eight players can join at a time, and online 1v1 ranked matches are also available. 

3. Fortnite Battle Royale

Available On: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S Playstation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

Genre: Battle royale, third-person shooter

Fortnite is an online multiplayer battle royale game where individual players compete to be the last one standing. It offers several game modes to appeal to a variety of players. 

4. Destiny 2

Available On: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 4 & 5

Genre: First-person shooter

Destiny 2 is an online multiplayer first-person shooter that was originally released as a pay-to-play game and is now available for free. Destiny 2 is set in a sci-fi fantasy world where players can compete in player vs. environment or player vs. player game modes.

5. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Available On: PC, iOS, Android

Genre: Digital collectible card game

Hearthstone is a card game based in the World of Warcraft Universe. This turn-based strategy game has players play 1v1 with their chosen hero and class to win and collect cards. 

6. League of Legends

Available On: PC

Genre: Multiplayer online battle arena

League of Legends is a massively popular multiplayer game that pits two teams of five players against each other to defend their half of the map and collect experience points. League of Legends is also one of the world’s largest esports.

7. Path of Exile

Available On: PC, Xbox 360 & One, Playstation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch

Genre: Action role-playing

This online role-playing game allows characters to pick a class and explore a dark fantasy world to enter dungeons, fight monsters, and complete quests. Multiple players can join a single server and mingle in encampments while also having their own map to explore. 

8. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Available On: PC, Xbox 360 & One, Playstation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch

Genre: Massive multiplayer online role-playing game

Players choose between eight classes and each class progresses through a three-act story placed in the Star Wars Universe. Players join a team in the Republic or the Sith and progress by completing missions, exploring the world, and defeating enemies. 

9. Team Fortress 2

Available On: PC, Xbox 360 & One, Playstation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch

Genre: First-person shooter

This online multiplayer game sets two teams against each other to compete in game modes like capture the flag or king of the hill. Players can choose between nine character classes, each with a specific skill and weapon.

10. Warframe

Available On: PC, Xbox 360 & One, Playstation 4 & 5, Nintendo Switch

Genre: Action role-playing, third-person shooter

Warframe is an online multiplayer role-playing game set in the future where characters play as ancient warriors that find themselves at war with other planets. Characters can compete in environment vs. player or player vs. player game modes.

How to Get Free Console Games

If you’re looking for your own hidden gem free-to-play games or just want to build your collection, here are a few ways to get free video games for your console. 

Illustration of a Nintendo Switch and a Super Mario level.

Browse the “Free” Section of the Online Store

Every modern console has its own online store where big-name publishers and indie developers alike can sell their games. These online stores offer several free games and many more with steep discounts so you can play for cheap. All you have to do is visit the “free” section of the store.

While console stores do host indie developers, PC platforms like Steam are more accessible and offer a larger variety of free indie titles to try.

Register to Play Online

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo each offer online play through a subscription service. Joining these services gives you access to play online multiplayer games and enjoy plenty of other console benefits. 

Playstation Plus offers two free game downloads a month just for subscribing. These games are accessible as long as you’re a Playstation Plus subscriber. 

Xbox Live members get up to four game downloads a month plus access to weekly discounts as large as 50 percent off. 

Nintendo Online also offers special discounts to members plus access to their library of 90+ classic NES and Super NES titles.

Subscribe to GameFly

GameFly is a subscription service that allows you to rent a set number of games or movies per month. Subscriptions start at $15.95 a month and allow you to rent one title at a time with unlimited monthly rentals, no late fees, and regular rewards. 

GameFly also sells video games, consoles, movies, and collectibles. You can purchase any rental you enjoy for a discount with your membership. 

Keep an Eye on Gaming Subreddits

Reddit offers great opportunities for you to score new titles for free. Check out r/FreeGames for recommendations for free games and updates, including mods, indie titles, and more.

r/FreeGame Findings also highlights free games for consoles and PC, including complete titles and downloadable content (DLC).

Trade Your Old Games

Check out your current collection for any games you’ve completed or don’t want in your collection anymore. You can trade these games at your local game shop for in-store credits or cash to purchase a new-to-you title. 

You can also join online Free and For Sale Groups to browse great deals, freebies, and video game trades. This way you can give back and try out a new video game for free. 

How to Get Free PC Games

Computer gaming provides incredible access to free video games, fun mods, and new developers that aren’t available on consoles. Here are the best ways to find a new video game for free.

Illustration of a Roblox character on a computer monitor.

Browse Steam’s Free Games

Steam is the most popular platform for PC gaming and offers a massive catalog of titles that’s difficult to compete with. Steam is especially popular with indie developers and has thousands of free titles to explore. 

To find free games, all you need to do is go to the store and select “free to play.” Then you can narrow your search by genre, most popular, and other filters to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Sign Up for EA Play

EA Play, formerly Origin Access, is available on Origin, Steam, Playstation, and Xbox. EA Play gives you access to some of Electronic Arts’ (EA) top titles for free, plus access to member-only gameplay and exclusive rewards. 

EA Play costs $4.99 a month, while the Pro version runs $14.99 a month.

Check Out the Epic Games Store

The Epic Games Store offers a dedicated selection of free-to-play games and is giving a game away for free each week of 2021. Free games include indie and big-budget titles, so check in each week for a great deal.

Apply for Press Access Keys

While it’s not for everyone, you may also be able to get free press access keys for video games if you’re active in gaming media. YouTubers, bloggers, streamers, and journalists can all apply with publishers to receive these free access keys. 

Content creators with 1,000 or more followers or subscribers have the best chance of getting free game keys. You can register with sites like Keymailer or contact publishers directly to request free video games. 

Play Free Games Online

If you’re just looking for more free games to pass the time, there are plenty of free browser games you can play. Sites like Addicting Games have offered simple Flash games for decades and they’re still active and producing fun mini-games anyone can enjoy.

You can also try out these free standalone browser games:

How to Save on New Video Games

Sometimes you just have to splurge and buy that new title you’ve been waiting for. The good news is you may not have to pay the full price. Check out these sites for great deals on video games. 

Illustration of an Xbox control on a stack of cash.

Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle provides great deals on video games while giving back to charity with each purchase. You can explore their game bundles which build in discounts for buying in bulk and sign up for 12 games for $12 each month.

GameStop Rewards

GameStop PowerUp Rewards members get points for each purchase that they can exchange for rewards. Paid Pro members also get immediate discounts, $60 in certificates annually, and extra credits for trade-ins.

IndieGala

IndieGala sells indie games for the PC and offers discounts when you buy game bundles. IndieGala also showcases plenty of free video games plus regular giveaways. 

Fanatical

Fanatical has over 8,000 PC games to choose from and offers bundles so you can save on more games. They also offer regular deals on single titles so you can buy exactly what you want for less. 

Steam Summer and Winter Sales

Steam hosts massive sales throughout the year, but their best deals are available during the Summer and Winter sales. These sales usually last between one and two weeks, and you can see discounts of at least 25 percent off and upwards of 90 percent off. 

The sale dates are usually kept pretty tightly under wraps but usually happen in the last two weeks of the chosen sale month. 

Playstation Days of Play

Days of Play is one of Playstation’s biggest events of the year and offers exclusive discounts, prizes for playing games and earning trophies, and free online play for the event. All you have to do is register with your Playstation Network ID (PSN-ID)and play through game goals. 

Xbox Countdown to New Year’s Sale

Xbox’s Countdown to New Year’s Sale is one of Microsoft’s biggest gaming sales of the year. Last year Microsoft offered deals on over 800 titles, including AAA blockbuster and indie games. Keep an eye out for next year’s holiday deals to come out in December. 

Keeping up with the latest games doesn’t have to drain your wallet if you know where to find free video games. Mark your calendar for the best seasonal deals, and check in with your preferred online store regularly for discounts and free games. 

Infographic on the benefits of video games.

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