With the ease of downloading and streaming content, there’s never been a better time to be a fan of video games. Gone are the days where classics and cult oddities are near impossible to find; now, we have stores that never run out of stock, and that actually go out of their way to give us free games.
If you know where to look, you can consistently score multiple games every single month without spending a penny. Some sites offer periodical freebies, whereas others have a habit of discounting titles down to almost nothing. And of course, who can forget the vast market of free-to-play games available 24/7/365?
To help you stay on top of your collection, we’ve put together a list of some of the best websites that offer games for free (or nearly free). Make sure to bookmark all of these pages, otherwise you might miss out on some true gems.
Websites that Offer Free (and Nearly Free) Games
The biggest and certainly most popular of the online game retailers, Steam has probably the widest library of both free and free-to-play games out there, including Destiny 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
While you can definitely land some great games on Steam, beware—you get what you pay for in some cases. The Steam marketplace isn’t known for quality control, almost anybody can upload a game and change the price whenever they feel like it, which creates something of a free-for-all when you’re looking for deals. Even if a game is free or hyper-discounted, it’s not a good value if you feel like you wasted your time playing it. We recommend you always check out reviews to get a general feel of what you’re getting into before you commit. Time is money, after all.
Short for “Good Old Games,” GOG is a passion project for developer CD Projekt Red, best known for the Witcher franchise. Older games – at lower prices — are a particular focus, so you don’t need an expensive gaming PC to play many of them. On the flip side, if you’ve been hoping to dive into your favorite game from the ’90s, you can be assured that the version you purchase off GOG will play on modern systems.
GOG runs weekly sales for up to 90% off, putting some games at a dollar or less. And as of this writing, there’s a regularly updated free games page that currently includes Beneath a Steel Sky and Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, among other gems. You can download GOG games without needing to use a third-party client like Steam, although one called GOG Galaxy is available for free if you like to keep things organized. However, it’s worth noting often the games come as-is, so if you want modern features like controller support, you’ll have to cobble it together yourself.
The Nintendo eShop
Updated: Weekly on Tuesdays / Random deals throughout the week
While the eShop only has a handful of games that are 100% free — including Fortnite, Pokémon Quest and Tetris 99 — there are tons of heavy discounts on other games that bring them below the $1 price point. Since the eShop promotes games more heavily when they’re selling well, our theory is developers temporarily drop the price of their games to almost nothing so they win the algorithm’s favor.
While you’ll need to configure the shop by price to surface the best deals, you can find games as cheap as literally two cents in the store, discounted from $9.99. In a few cases, we’ve even seen $40+ games go on sale for $0.90 or less.
Some currently discounted games include Goonya Fighter for $0.99 down from $24.99 and The Mystery of Woolley Mountain for $0.99 down from $12.99. While we’ve seen some true gems go on sale for almost nothing this year – such as Pikuniku, Anodyne and the original Doom trilogy, there are still a couple pitfalls to keep in mind while shopping.
The eShop defaults to displaying games for 3DS, Wii U and Switch, so make sure you filter out the consoles you don’t own to avoid disappointment. Also, like Steam, the eShop isn’t very well curated, and since it’s pretty easy to get games listed, much of what’s on offer is slapdash at best. Reviews are helpful for weeding out the duds, but you should also look through screenshots/videos included in the storefront; if a game looks like a cheap mobile port (or if it just looks boring), it probably isn’t worth even a few cents.
Epic Games Store
Updated: Weekly on Thursdays
While the Epic Games Store does have the regular sales on newer games (including the coveted $10 Epic coupon that reloads every time you make a purchase over $15), the real appeal is its weekly free games. Every Thursday, the company behind Fortnite gives away one or two free games, usually smaller modern indie games set around a specific theme. This can be a steep discount too, with some games costing $20 or more at an MSRP. And during major events, such as their summer sale, you can get even better deals.
Epic made a large splash by putting Grand Theft Auto V and Civilization VI up for free recently, for example. However, you will need to download Epic’s game client in order to play, and the games are limited to PC, so you may want to upgrade for some of the more cutting edge experiences. You also may need to download other clients, like Uplay from Ubisoft, to play games from specific publishers.
Microsoft has an extremely robust free store tucked away on its games page that you might not know about, in part because it seems to only be updated when a new game is added. Most of the games available are actually ports of mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds 2, which is great if you want to enjoy them on a larger screen, or just keep your phone clear for other purposes.
It’s a little-known fact that Xbox players can enjoy a handful of older games, including Crackdown and Crackdown 2, as well as Too Human, any time they want. For older AAA titles like this, we’re lucky to get one addition per year, but in the meantime there are plenty of free “Part 1” offers for episodic games to keep you occupied.
Famous for their “Pay What You Want” bundles of games where the money goes to charity, Humble also has a surprisingly comprehensive free games page. These generally tend toward more simple games from newer developers, but there are plenty of deals to be had.
That said, they generally provide you with Steam codes, so your computer will need to run that client, and the deals are all jumbled together, so you may have to dig through page after page of games, or fiddle with the sorting tools, to find what you really want.
Honorable Mention: Prime Gaming
Okay, technically you need an Amazon Prime membership to access Prime Gaming (formerly Twitch Prime) and all its freebies, but chances are you already have access to a Prime account, so make sure you’re taking full advantage of its benefits.
Every month, Prime Gaming adds a selection of new freebies, and while the exact number varies from month to month, there’s pretty much always a lot of content to choose from (August 2020 saw 23 free games, as well as numerous in-game bonuses). Game quality also varies, but when it’s good, it’s great—think Grand Theft Auto 5, Darksiders: Warmastered and The Last of Us Remastered.
And if you’re in the market for cheap video games, make sure to check out this deal from our Frontpage:
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