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The best free-to-play games for 2023

The best free games offer players a lot of content without charging anything, with some ethical microtransactions for super-fans. We’ve rounded up the best free-to-play games that hold true to that, including free FPS games and MMORPGs. With everything from fast-paced shooters like Apex Legends to open-world JRPGs like Genshin Impactthere’s something for everyone.

Although the free-to-play group gets a bad rap, there are plenty of games that offer dozens (and even hundreds) of hours of gameplay without asking for a dime.

Cheap isn’t necessarily free, but if you’re looking for steep discounts on consoles and accessories, take a look at the best gaming deals available now. 

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Shooters

Fortnite
Fortnite
68 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Strategy
Developer Epic Games
Publisher Epic Games
Release July 25, 2017
Following in the footsteps of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds comes Fortnite: Battle Royale, a free player-versus-player chunk of Epic Games’ zombie defense shooter. Like PUBG, the goal in Fortnite: Battle Royale is to take down all the other players in the game and be the last one standing. But Fortnite‘s cartoonish take on shooting mechanics means you get an alternative to PUBG‘s more militaristic (and somewhat more realistic) shooter. There’s another aspect to Fortnite that sets it apart from PUBG — building. You can construct walls, structures, and objects that can give you a leg-up in a fight, or leave you vulnerable to ambush. Either way, the addition of creating your own battleground and fortifications can alter the last players standing rules significantly.
Fortnite Trailer
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
60 %
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Fighting, Shooter, Tactical
Developer Infinity Ward
Publisher Activision
Release November 16, 2022
Warzone 2.0 is finally here. While there are some significant changes from the first installment of the Call of Duty battle royale, everything you love is still in place. Jump into a brand new battlefield with your squad, hunt down the enemy and be the last soldier standing. 
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 - Game Overview
Apex Legends
Apex Legends
78 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter
Developer Respawn Entertainment
Publisher Electronic Arts
Release February 04, 2019
Set in the world of Titanfall but without titans or wall-running, Apex Legends is Respawn’s take on the battle royale genre. Apex Legends is all about teamwork, with  20 three-person teams vying to be the last team standing. The progression of a match will be familiar to anyone who has played a battle royale: Drop from the sky, scavenge for gear, and make it inside the circle before the playable area shrinks. Where Apex Legends differs is that it also has hero shooter elements. Each of the eight characters has its own unique abilities and ultimate moves ranging from defensive moves to portal warping to all-out mortar strikes. And death isn’t permanent. You can revive fallen teammates and even resurrect them by bringing their dog tags to a beacon. Apex Legends is a polished experience with excellent gunplay, a great map, and a fun roster of characters. It’s one of the best free-to-play shooters around.
Apex Legends Official Launch Trailer
Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite
86 %
4/5
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter
Developer 343 Industries
Publisher Xbox Game Studios
Release November 15, 2021
While you will either need a Game Pass subscription or a retail copy of Halo Infinite to play the game’s campaign, the multiplayer component of the Microsoft-exclusive shooter is completely free to play on PC and all Xbox platforms. This latest Halo game from developer 343 takes the game back to the type of tactical, positioning, and skill-based multiplayer that made the older games so beloved. Throwing in some more modern mechanics, like sprint, plus a host of new tools like the incredibly fun grappling hook, this is the perfect way to get back into the Halo experience. Being free to play but also fully cross-platform play means that Halo Infinite‘s player base is incredibly healthy already. You won’t have any trouble finding a match in any of the major game modes, of which all the old favorites are making a return. The battle pass offers tons of reasons to get invested, but even without it the core game just feels so solid and addictive you will want to keep going match after match. Once forge mode gets introduced later in the game’s life, the amount of content will essentially be … well … infinite.
Read our full Halo Infinite review
Halo Infinite - E3 2019 - Discover Hope
Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2
82 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter, Strategy
Developer Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher Blizzard Entertainment
Release October 04, 2022
Speaking of Overwatch, Overwatch 2 has taken the sequel to the free-to-play model right from the start. While technically a sequel, this game includes all the heroes from the first game, as well as the maps and modes, and only will continue to add more in the future. The game now uses a battle pass system for progression and monetization, but the major change is in the size of teams, which has shrunk down to five. This makes the sequel far more tactical and gives each person, and each role, far more importance on the flow of battle. With so many heroes and abilities, you’re certain to find one you are drawn to. Playing with a full squad can be some of the most intense matches of any FPS out there.
Overwatch 2 - Free to Play Trailer - Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
Destiny 2
Destiny 2
74 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Bungie
Publisher Activision
Release September 06, 2017
Destiny 2 is the poster child for the games-as-a-service model, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. Far from it, in fact — Destiny 2 is a sprawling online shooter with ultra-tight gun mechanics and some of the most intense combat encounters in gaming. Although originally released for a full $60, Destiny 2 is now one of the best free-to-play games available. Even better, Bungie overhauled the leveling system once the game’s price fell away, so you don’t need to worry about hundreds of hours of grinding. Like a lot of games-as-a-service titles, though, Destiny 2 is what you make of it. The visuals are stunning and the mechanics are world-class, but tackling the world alone is a lonely experience — even with the best Destiny 2 weapons. It’s a game best played with friends, where the driving forces of progression are the wild experiences you’ll have during missions. If playing solo is more your speed, you can always grind matches in Destiny 2′s Crucible PvP mode.
Destiny 2 - A Long Day Trailer (Official)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
82 %
M
Platforms Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac
Genre Shooter, Tactical
Developer Hidden Path Entertainment, Valve Corporation
Publisher Valve Corporation
Release August 21, 2012
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is, really, the first proper Counter-Strike game. CS 1.6 and Source are both great, but Global Offensive is the game that has stuck, and it’s easy to see why. Everything about CS:GO is tight, from the gunplay to the map designs. It’s a proper competitive shooter, and although Valve sold it as such for a mere $14.99 for a long time, it’s now one of the best free-to-play games. “Totally” is the best way to describe it, too. Unlike most other free-to-play games, there is absolutely no advantage to spending money in CS:GO. If you’re good enough, you can play ranked matches as often as you want while staying on a level playing field. In the world of free-to-play games, that’s a feat.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Trailer
VALORANT
VALORANT
72 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre Shooter, Tactical
Developer Riot Games
Publisher Riot Games
Release June 02, 2020
This year, we’ve seen two newcomers to the free-to-play shooter genre: Valorant and CrucibleThe latter didn’t even survive a full launchValorant, thankfully, did. In short, Valorant is a competitive online shooter where you play Counter-Strike-like matches. There are two teams: One has the goal of planting the bomb (the “spike”), and the other is trying to diffuse it. On top of that, though, Valorant adds a roster of MOBA-like heroes. Valorant combines so many elements from other genres that it creates something new entirely. The game plays like CS:GO, sure, but after a few rounds, it’s clear that Valorant is operating on a different level. It’s engrossing, complex, and, best of all, free to play. Unfortunately, though, it’s only available on PC.
Project A: Riot’s Tactical FPS Announcement | Riot Pls: 10th Anniversary Edition - League of Legends

Fighters

Killer Instinct
Killer Instinct
81 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Xbox One
Genre Fighting
Developer Iron Galaxy Studios, Double Helix Games
Publisher Microsoft Studios
Release November 22, 2013
Nearly two decades after the release of the original game, Microsoft and Double Helix relaunched Killer Instinct as a tough-as-nails fighter with enough style to give Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter a run for their money. Classic characters such as Jago, TJ Combo, and Sabrewulf make their return, and the game has remained a staple in the competitive fighting scene since it launched in 2013. Developer Iron Galaxy has improved upon the formula in the last few years, too, and the addition of awesome combatants like Spinal and Battletoads’ Rash add variety and a healthy dose of nostalgia. All modes are available in Killer Instinct without paying a dime, but you’re limited to just one character at a time. However, Xbox Live Gold subscribers have received the “Ultra Edition” of the game’s first season for free in the past.
Killer Instinct Season 3 Launch Trailer
Brawlhalla
Brawlhalla
68 %
E10
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre Fighting, Platform, Indie, Arcade
Developer Blue Mammoth Games
Publisher Blue Mammoth Games
Release April 30, 2014
After spending a couple of years in early access, Brawhlhalla, a fighting game that can only really be compared to Super Smash Bros., was released as a free-to-play title in 2017. In 2018, Blue Mammoth Games, the studio behind the peculiar brawler, was acquired by Ubisoft. Brawlhalla‘s ascent to landing with one of the biggest video game studios in the world means that the game will reach new heights. Currently, it’s available on PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS, and Android — and it’s a mobile game that you won’t want to miss out on. Ubisoft’s spunky mascot Rayman will enter the fight then, too. From a core gameplay perspective, Brawlhalla mirrors Smash in that the goal is to knock other fighters off the map. It features a simple control scheme that lets new players jump in quickly, which is perfect for a free-to-play game. Additionally, a myriad of interesting game modes, a plethora of maps, and a robust roster of fighters keep the experience fresh. And yes, weapons fall from the sky just like in Smash. In the free-to-play model, Brawlhalla lets players play as six different fighters each week. If you spend $20, you unlock all 41 fighters and all future fighters, including Rayman. It’s fast, easy to play, and has an engaging progression system.
Brawlhalla CZ Let's Play

RPGs and MMORPGs

RuneScape
RuneScape
80 %
T
Platforms Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, Web browser
Genre Point-and-click, Role-playing (RPG), Strategy, Adventure
Developer Jagex Ltd. Games Studio
Publisher Jagex Ltd. Games Studio
Release January 04, 2001
Runescape is one of the most iconic free-to-play games there is, and 20 years after launch, it’s still going strong. Developer Jagex has continued to update the game over the past 20 years, offering literally thousands of hours of gameplay. If you haven’t played Runescape, it’s a high-fantasy MMORPG with varied weapon types and a long list of skills to master. Questing with friends is where Runescape is at its best, but you can also take things slow and hone your farming, fishing, and cooking skills. Old School Runescape is available, too. It’s based on the 2007 build of Runescape that shot it into the limelight, featuring the same charming graphics, quests, bosses, and economy. Unlike the base game, Old School Runescape requires a monthly membership. However, you can share your membership across both versions of the game — it unlocks some exclusive skills and quests — and you can pay with either cash or Bonds that you can earn in-game.
RuneScape - RuneScape 3 Launch Trailer (Official)
Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact
81 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre Role-playing (RPG)
Developer HoYoverse
Publisher Cognosphere, HoYoverse
Release September 28, 2020
When Genshin Impact was first revealed, many wrote it off as a Breath of the Wild clone and nothing more. But tunes quickly changed when the game launched. Genshin Impact certainly borrows a lot from Breath of the Wild, from the art style to the stamina-based climbing. However, in almost every other way, it separates itself with deep RPG systems, a diverse roster of over 23 characters, and hundreds of hours of gameplay. And it’s free. Genshin Impact offers a full-action RPG experience in a beautiful open world without asking for a dime. There are microtransactions in the game, but thankfully, they never feel unfair. Buying a few key items may help you level up your character faster, for example, but you can still get through all of the content in the game without resorting to mindless grinding.
Genshin Impact Announcement Trailer: The Outlander Who Caught The Wind
Warframe
Warframe
76 %
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Digital Extremes
Publisher Digital Extremes
Release March 25, 2013
Combining the futuristic science-fiction aesthetic of Mass Effect and Halo games with slick, martial arts-inspired combat, Warframe is one of the most impressive action games available right now, and you can play it on both consoles and PC. It launched in 2013 and has only seen its player-base grow substantially over the last few years — more than 26 million people have played it so far. Warframe also includes a remarkable number of customization options, which allow you to modify your weapons and “Warframe” exo-armor, thus letting you better cater your gear toward your specific playstyle. You even have access to your own personal spaceship, which you’ll use as your base when between missions. Once you touch down on foot, however, your mobility won’t be limited; seven different parkour moves allow you to navigate hard-to-reach areas and get the drop on enemies.
Warframe | Open Beta Launch Trailer
Dauntless
Dauntless
67 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Phoenix Labs
Publisher Phoenix Labs, Epic Games
Release September 26, 2019
Take the tense battles of Monster Hunter, strip away many of its complex systems, throw a colorful coat of paint on everything, and you’re pretty close to getting Dauntless. Unlike its older rival, Dauntless is a much more accessible title — instead of spending hours poring over stats and customizing your inventory, this free-to-play game offers a streamlined monster-hunting experience. You’ll still be heading out as a group to slay some of the largest beasts ever seen in a video game, but it’s a much more casual-friendly experience than Monster Hunter. Beyond offering a streamlined hunting experience, Dauntless also gives you a quirky cast of characters to learn about, along with a fair monetization scheme that lets you enjoy much of what it has to offer without dropping a dime.
Dauntless - Announce Trailer

Strategy games

Marvel Snap
Marvel Snap
66 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS
Genre Strategy, Card & Board Game
Developer Second Dinner, Second Dinner
Publisher Second Dinner, nuverse
Release October 18, 2022
Marvel Snap has been a runaway success since it’s release. In this fast-paced card game where matches only take a couple of minutes, you can assemble a deck full of your favorite Marvel superheroes and villains to outsmart and outplay your opponent. It may look a bit simplistic at first, but mastering the game requires mastering your deck.
MARVEL SNAP | OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT AND GAMEPLAY FIRST LOOK
Hearthstone
Hearthstone
80 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS
Genre Strategy, Turn-based strategy (TBS), Card & Board Game
Developer Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher Blizzard Entertainment
Release March 11, 2014
Blizzard is the master of polish, and this was never more apparent than when the developer released Hearthstone in 2014. Taking fan-favorite characters from the Warcraft series (Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, and many more), players battle in a Magic: The Gathering-style card duel to the virtual death, using a variety of spells and minions — including Murlocs — in an effort to lower their opponent’s health to zero. It’s a deceptively simple premise. Aside from “mana crystals,” which determine how many cards — and which cards — you can play in any one turn, there aren’t many unique game mechanics to Hearthstone. Yet the game’s brisk matches and wide range of strategies will keep you itching to play one more game. New cards, which can be purchased using gold earned through normal play, help you develop your own custom decks. You can also get cards more quickly by spending real money, though gold is given out at such a liberal rate that you can stick with playing free if you hone in on a single competitive deck.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Cinematic
Magic: The Gathering Arena
Magic: The Gathering Arena
75 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android
Genre Strategy, Turn-based strategy (TBS), Card & Board Game
Developer Magic Digital Studio
Publisher Wizards of the Coast LLC
Release September 26, 2019
Hearthstone is like Magic: The Gathering, but Arena is Magic: The Gathering. Known for popularizing, if not straight up creating, the collectible card game genre, Magic has a storied history. Although more involved than the other card games listed here, the core premise of Magic is simple. Lands produce mana, which you can use to cast spells, and you can play one land per turn. It’s identical to Hearthstone in that regard, with the only difference being resource management. You actually have to have a land in hand in order to get mana for that turn, whereas most other digital card games handle the mana scaling automatically. Although that may seem like a downside, it really isn’t. The variance in Magic is one of its core tenets, allowing players with a very weak deck to win against very powerful decks if they have the right draw. Like other digital CCGs, Arena is free-to-play, though you’ll have to spend some money to get a proper deck. The best course of action is to choose which format you want to play most. If you’re interested in drafting, you’ll slowly build a collection to put together a competitive deck or two. If you only want to play constructed, where you build a deck from whatever cards you want, it’s best just to buy some packs. Thankfully, Arena dishes out free packs left and right, and with the wildcard system, you can craft whatever extra cards you need. Although buying a competitive deck can get expensive, it’s much cheaper than buying that deck physically, where cards can cost $60 or more apiece.
Magic: The Gathering Arena – By Fans, For Fans
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
78 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Strategy, Card & Board Game
Developer CD Projekt RED
Publisher CD Projekt RED
Release October 23, 2018
If you’re a fan of card games, you’re in luck — many of the genre’s most popular titles are available for free, including the ever-popular Gwent. Pulled straight from The Witcher universe and developed by CD Projekt Red itself, Gwent takes the iconic mini-game and gives it the attention it deserves. The PvP card battler will see you piecing together your very own deck (composed of classic characters such as Geralt and Ciri) before heading online for a variety of unique game modes. No good card game is complete without a bevy of gorgeous graphical effects, and Gwent has those in spades. If you’re in the market for a massive time sink, look no further than this.
[BETA VIDEO] GWENT: The Witcher Card Game | Official Gameplay Trailer

MOBAs

League of Legends
League of Legends
77 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac
Genre MOBA
Developer Riot Games
Publisher GOA Games Services Ltd., Riot Games, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Garena
Release October 27, 2009
No free-to-play list would be complete without League of Legends. The MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) was nothing short of revolutionary when it first landed on PC in 2009, and it has only improved in the years since its original release. The game is free to play with a limited number of heroes, called Champions, and more can be purchased using either real money or “IP,” which is earned through normal play. Though the genre has never been particularly inviting to new players, Riot has created a more newbie-friendly multiplayer experience than some of its contemporaries, and if you’re just getting started, there is almost a 100% chance that one of your friends already plays League of Legends.
Warriors | Season 2020 Cinematic - League of Legends (ft. 2WEI and Edda Hayes)
Dota 2
Dota 2
80 %
Platforms Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac
Genre Strategy, MOBA
Developer Valve Corporation
Publisher Valve Corporation
Release July 09, 2013
Though it’s harder to learn than League of Legends and Blizzard’s Heroes of the StormDota 2 players will accept no substitute. Unlike League, all 119 heroes are available for free in Dota 2, including the melee-focused Earth Spirit, who resembles an odd mix of the Iron Giant and the Incredible Hulk, and the Invoker, whose appearance is similar to the elves seen in the Warcraft franchise. The game’s combat is hectic, and you’re likely to get beaten into oblivion during your first round, but should the addiction take hold, you might not need to play another game for months to come. The highlight of the game is the massive competitive championship called The International, where players battle for millions of dollars in prize money. You could win — well, if you spend your entire life playing the game, that is.
Dota 2 Gamescom Trailer
Pokémon Unite
Pokémon Unite
71 %
E
Platforms Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Genre MOBA
Developer Timi, Tencent Games
Publisher The Pokémon Company
Release July 20, 2021
Who would have thought that the casual-friendly world of Pokémon would be such a perfect fit for the hardcore MOBA genre? Many of the genre tropes are present — including jungling, a variety of class types, equipable items, and a steep learning curve — yet somehow, Pokémon Unite manages to be a great game for players of all types. Whether you’re grouping up with a few friends in ranked or just taking on a few casual games with random players, there are hundreds of hours of fun to be had with this unique spinoff. New content is being added at a regular pace, with a variety of unlockable items and new characters launched just weeks after its arrival — and much more planned for the coming months. It’s nothing like the slow-paced mainline entries we’ve seen over the past few years, but it’s arguably one of the best Pokémon games we’ve seen in a very long time and among the best F2P games of 2021.
Team Up to Battle in Pokémon UNITE!
SMITE
SMITE
69 %
T
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre Strategy, Adventure, MOBA
Developer Titan Forge Games
Publisher Tencent Games, Hi-Rez Studios
Release March 25, 2014

Smite has been a mainstay in the MOBA genre since 2014. It stands out for its third-person presentation, differentiating itself from League, Heroes of the Storm, and Dota 2. The change in perspective also alters the playstyle, changing the traditionally strategic MOBA formula to action-oriented gameplay. The game’s heroes are all gods modeled after real ones across 12 different pantheons. As of now, there are 110 playable characters, each with its own abilities. Smite‘s 5-on-5 contests are always interesting, as it’s not uncommon to see CPU-controlled enemies crop up across the battlefields.

SMITE - Cinematic Teaser

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