6 Ways to Get Video Games for Free (or Almost Free)
Everybody loves free stuff and gamers are no exception. Gaming is not a cheap hobby and sometimes you may not feel like spending 60 bucks on a brand new triple-A title, which you may not even like. I am not going to introduce you to any magical way of getting every game you want for free. If you like games of a certain genre or a fan of a certain video-game franchise you may never find a game you want for free.
You have to understand the economics behind these offers. Most of them will never give you good selling, popular games, for free. This article was created to help you minimize your video game’s spending, not eliminate it completely.
With that said here are the 6 ways, you can get video-games for free, or practically free.
1. Humble bundle’s “Game for Free” and Origin’s “On the House”.
In a nutshell: Humble Bundle is a service similar in a way to “PlayStation Plus” and “Xbox Live” giving bundles of games for a fixed price and Origin is the annoying thing you have to install in order to play Battlefield.
Both of these services have been featuring a game for free promotions for a couple years now. With Humble bundle promotion, you can receive a free steam code once a week and with Origin, you can add 1 free game to your account about once a month. Humble bundle featured games, including titles like “Assassin’s Creed Black Flag” and “Watchdogs”, while Origin featured classics like the original “Dead Space” and “Mass Effect 2”.
The best part about it is that you don’t need to worry about missing the offer, you can set up an email notification and get notified every time a new offer pops-up.
Overall, I see no reason to miss these 2 offers if you’re playing on PC. You don’t need to purchase anything and there are no hidden conditions, you keep games forever just like you would with a normal game you’ve purchased on Steam or Origin.
2. Buy a console or a video card bundled with a game
Quite often, in order to promote their consoles in retail, manufacturers sell consoles bundled with a game, either in a form of a disk or a game code. What’s interesting about it, is that a lot of retailers will sell consoles bundled with a game for the price as consoles bundled with nothing. Which, if you do the math, means that you’ve got a game for free.
Nvidia has also adopted this strategy often giving away free game codes when you purchase a new video card and a lot of other hardware manufacturers have adopted this strategy as well. Which only makes sense, since it barely costs anything to manufacture a disk or print a game code.
It’s important to look out for these deals since a lot of retailers won’t specifically feature a better deal over a standard package.
3. Game pass subscription
At a modest price, these subscriptions provide access to a large library of games for you to download on your device.
Honorable mention goes to cloud gaming services, which have a similar business model, but they require a constant internet connection and aren’t yet available everywhere.
Most popular options right now are Microsoft’s “Game pass” for Xbox and Ea’s: “EA Access” and “Origin Access” for Xbox and Windows. There are no subscription services for PlayStation or Nintendo users, as of right now. For ten dollars a month, Microsoft’s program gives you access to over a hundred of Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles, which will soon include all of Microsoft’s exclusives.
EA’s programs offer smaller game libraries, 50+ games on Xbox and 75+ games on Windows, but at 4 dollars a month cost a lot cheaper and offer a 10% discount on any EA’s title or DLC. Also, the game library includes all Battlefield games, all, but the latest Need for Speed games and most other EA titles.
Overall, a game pass is a good option for people who only recently got a new console or gaming computer and want to get a lot of games, for the little amount of money.
4. Digital storefronts.
Storefronts, like Humble Bundle, will give you monthly packages of games, based on the theme you’ve selected. Unlike Game Pass, you won’t get access to a large library, but you will own forever the games sent to you. Usually, there is either a massive total discount on all the games sent to you or you get to pick your own price, as a part a part of “pay what you want” charity promotion.
As a part of their Gold and Plus services, both Microsoft and Sony offer you two games a month for a price between 5 to 10 dollars per month depending on the package and the region of the service. With PS4 or Xbox One, you’re kind of forced into buying a subscription, because you can not play multiplayer without it, but it’s a good idea to check which games you’ll receive at the begging of the next month and also add them to your collection since it has to be done manually.
Overall, the storefront is a nice option for people who like certain genres, open to trying new stuff and want to minimize their gaming spendings.
5. Free-2-Play games
A lot of free-2-play games are, for the lack of better expression, not very good, but there a few good ones out there, worth your time and maybe even money.
Fortnite, currently the only Battle-Royale game in a playable state is free-to-play. There is no pay to win mechanics currently present in the game and the developers say it’s going to stay that way, which in the world of some other triple-A titles, having questionable micro-transactions is refreshing, to say the least.
There a few other titles worth mentioning, like Hearthstone, Paladins, League of Legends and a lot of others.
However, it is important to value your own time and money and take into account when considering a new game. If the game starts asking money to progress and it costs more than what you would normally consider spending on a game than it’s time for you to uninstall and move on to something else. If you’re the person who gets easily addicted to things or can’t easily move on to something else than stay away from free-2-play at all costs.
It all comes down to whether you like the game or not, because if you don’t like the game you’re playing, then what’s the point of playing it.
6. Discounts and sales
Yes, it is technically not a completely free method, but if you do the math, it kind of is. Let me explain. If there are two games, you’ve wanted and bought both of them at 50% discount, then you basically got one game for free.
Smart spending saves money in general, but it’s especially true when buying content. Because of the saturated market, most of the new games will drop in price, usually a few months after release, once the hype has calmed down. The usual exception to this rule are console exclusives because they don’t have competition on their platform, and some very anticipated games, like the new Grand Theft Auto.