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How Can I Play PC Games for Free in 2023?

Hey friend! Are you looking to enjoy awesome PC games without emptying your wallet? I‘ve got some great news – playing tons of fun games for free is totally possible!

In this detailed guide, I‘ll explain the best legit methods for getting free games, so you can start building an awesome library right away.

I‘ve been playing PC games for over 15 years, and have accumulated hundreds of free quality titles. As a gaming enthusiast and deal hunter, I‘ve learned all the tricks – so let me share them with you!

Ready to learn how to play the latest and greatest PC games without spending a cent? Let‘s dive in!

Free-to-Play (F2P) Games

The most obvious way to play for free is to try out "free-to-play" games. These titles give you full access to the core game without paying.

F2P games make money through optional microtransactions – but you can get hours of entertainment without spending a dime.

Some of the most popular free game launchers and stores include:

  • Steam: Steam has over 50,000 games, and 1,800+ are F2P. Some favorites are Dota 2 (one of the most-played games on Steam!), Warframe, and Destiny 2. You can browse their entire F2P catalog right here.

  • Epic Games Store: The Epic Games Store gives away 1-2 free games every single week. They also have top F2P games like Fortnite, Fall Guys, and Rocket League. See all their current freebies here.

  • Origin: EA‘s Origin has F2P hits like Apex Legends (over 100 million players!), Battlefield Heroes, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Check out their offerings here.

  • Battle.net: Iconic Blizzard games like Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft II all have generous F2P options. See them all here.

According to data from Statista, the most-played free PC games globally as of March 2022 are:

  1. League of Legends (over 115 million monthly players!)
  2. Fortnite (over 85 million)
  3. PUBG (over 65 million)
  4. Dota 2 (over 40 million)
  5. Valorant (over 14 million)

As you can see, you‘re in good company – millions enjoy awesome F2P games each day.

Beyond the major stores, some other great free PC games include Path of Exile, Guild Wars 2, Warface, World of Tanks, SMITE, Paladins, and more.

The bottom line is you can find amazing, endless games without spending a penny by choosing F2P.

Giveaways & Free Limited Events

In addition to F2P titles, games will often be temporarily free for special promotions and giveaways. Keep an eye out for:

  • Epic Mega Giveaways: I mentioned Epic gives away 1-2 free games each week. But during their annual Mega Sale, they gave away a whopping 61 games over 5 weeks! Follow gaming news sites for their next big giveaway event.

  • Steam Free Weekends: Popular games on Steam frequently offer 48-72 hour free weekends. It lets you try before you buy. Check Steam‘s news section regularly, so you can snag them while they last.

  • Twitch Prime: If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you get free PC games each month through Twitch Prime. These are yours to keep forever, usually indie games. Claim your freebies on Twitch‘s desktop app.

  • Limited Events: Keep an eye on gaming sites like IGN, GameSpot and PC Gamer for temporary deals like beta access giveaways and special game unlocks. For example, Overwatch players could earn 5 free skins during the Halloween Terror event.

  • /r/FreeGameFindings: This subreddit aggregates special limited-time giveaways in one handy spot. Definitely subscribe to stay in the loop!

Through these time-limited giveaways, you can steadily grow an awesome game library at no cost.

Game Trials and Demos

Before plunking down cash for a new game, you can try before you buy with time-limited trials and demos. Some good sources include:

  • Steam Demos: Hundreds of games on Steam offer free demos, usually about 1-2 hours of gameplay or limited levels. Check each game‘s store page for the "Download Demo" button.

  • Xbox Game Pass for PC: Microsoft‘s Netflix-style Game Pass service has a very generous $1 first month offer for new subscribers. This lets you download and play over 100 games free for a whole month!

  • EA Play: For $5/month, EA Play lets you play new releases like FIFA and Madden for 10 hours during launch week. Essentially a free trial.

  • Epic Free Games: Sometimes Epic will make a brand new premium game free for 1 week when it first releases. This acts like a free trial period for hot new titles.

Game trials allow you to experience enough gameplay to decide if the full game is worth purchasing. They‘re usually time-limited from 5-10 hours, but you can demo lots of games this way.

Cloud Game Streaming

Cloud gaming has revolutionized access to free games by removing the need for a powerful gaming PC.

With cloud services, you simply stream games directly to any computer or mobile device. All you need is an internet connection!

Some top free cloud gaming options are:

  • NVIDIA GeForce NOW: GeForce NOW works by streaming games you already own on platforms like Steam or Epic. Their free membership has session length caps, but you can play your library anywhere.

  • Google Stadia: Google Stadia‘s free Base tier gives you free access to Destiny 2, plus discounts on other games. Any Stadia game you purchase is then streamable for free.

  • Amazon Luna: Amazon‘s Luna cloud service offers free limited time access to a rotating selection of games each month. Keep checking back for more!

According to Google, Stadia users have streamed over 35 million hours of Assassin‘s Creed Odyssey alone. That‘s a ton of free gameplay!

Cloud gaming opens up awesome free gaming opportunities. As long as you have a screen and internet, you can play free games powered by the cloud.

Redeem Product Codes

Many physical or digital game purchases come with a one-time use product code you can redeem for a free digital copy.

You can often find unused codes for cheap (or even free!) by:

  • Searching eBay and online marketplaces for giveaways and unused codes.

  • Checking bundle sites like Fanatical and Humble Bundle for cheap mystery Steam code bundles.

  • Joining gaming forums where users sometimes share their spare keys.

  • Checking your physical game boxes – most have a code for a Steam key inside you could have missed!

Redeeming CD keys from bundles or used games is a great way for you to expand your digital library at little or no cost. You can even find full $60 games for just a few bucks.

Just be sure to only buy from authorized resellers to guarantee valid codes. Scams do happen.

Take Advantage of Free Hardware Promotions

When you purchase gaming PC hardware like graphics cards and CPUs, they often come bundled with free games and in-game bonuses:

  • NVIDIA GPUs: Current NVIDIA graphics cards include codes for major games like Gotham Knights (worth $59.99!), Saints Row, and more with qualifying purchases.

  • AMD GPUs: Select AMD GPUs come with free games like Sniper Elite 5, Saints Row, and Forspoken.

  • Intel CPUs: With the purchase of certain Intel Core CPUs you can get free new releases like Saints Row, Gotham Knights, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, and more.

So if you‘re looking to upgrade your PC, first check out the latest Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD gaming bundles. You could get some nice free titles in the process!

Take Advantage of Developer Tools

If you‘re interested in learning game development, many of the most popular tools are free:

  • Game Engines: Unreal Engine, Unity, and Godot all offer generous free tiers so you can make simple games with no upfront cost.

  • Art Programs: Powerful creative tools like Blender, GIMP, and Krita are open source and free. Great for crafting game visuals and assets.

  • Coding Tools: Programming languages like C# and Python are free, along with developer tools like Visual Studio.

  • Asset Stores: The Unreal Engine and Unity marketplaces both offer tons of free assets, code snippets, templates, music packs, and more to accelerate development.

With commitment and practice, you can turn game development into a fun hobby using 100% free tools. Then release your own simple titles on platforms like itch.io. How cool would it be to have people playing games you created?

Older and Abandoned Games

There are thousands of classic PC games legally available for free since they have been abandoned by publishers:

  • Abandonware Sites: These sites preserve old games by making them available as free downloads. Check out places like My Abandonware, Home of the Underdogs, and the Internet Archive.

  • GOG Giveaways: GOG (Good Old Games) periodically gives away classic PC games for free on their platform. See the latest here.

  • Fan Remakes: Talented fans have poured their hearts into remaking and updating many older games, then releasing them for free. Search for your favorite retro game + "fan remake". Someone may have a free PC version!

Between abandonware sites and fan projects, you can revisit gaming history without emptying your wallet. Try finding your childhood classics!

Bonus Tips for Getting the Most Free Games

Here are some final tips and strategies I‘ve picked up over the years for maximizing your free gaming options:

  • Wishlist titles you want on Steam – they notify you of discounts and free weekends.

  • Follow/subscribe to gaming deals sites like CheapAssGamer to never miss a freebie.

  • Checkbundle sites regularly – you can often snag $100s worth of Steam games for just a few bucks.

  • Grab every weekly Epic free game – they‘re yours to keep permanently!

  • Use sites like HowLongToBeat to find the right free games for your time.

  • For security, only run executables and installers from trusted sources, like official game publishers and stores.

Let‘s Play!

There you have it friend – with all these tips, you can build an awesome PC gaming library without spending a dollar.

Some key takeaways:

  • Choose from thousands of high-quality F2P games on platforms like Steam, Epic, Origin and Battle.net.

  • Watch for giveaways and limited-time events using sites like Reddit and PC Gamer.

  • Demo and trial games risk-free before buying them.

  • Stream free games instantly thanks to cloud gaming services like GeForce NOW and Stadia.

  • Expand your library through bundles, promos, tools, and more.

Gaming should be fun and accessible to everyone. Now you can enjoy the latest titles and take part in the PC gaming community – without breaking the bank!

What free games are you most excited to try first? Let me know, and as you build your library, share your own tips so we can all keep playing great games without spending a dime.

Happy (free) gaming my friend!

nv-author-image

Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.