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Is Monster Hunter Rise Free to Play Online?

The short answer is:

  • On Nintendo Switch, Monster Hunter Rise requires a paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription for online multiplayer.

  • On PC, Monster Hunter Rise does NOT need any subscription or additional purchase for online play.

But let‘s dive deeper into the full details…

As a long-time Monster Hunter player and gaming enthusiast, I completely understand the desire to dive into a brand new Monster Hunter game like Rise with your friends online for free.

Playing monster hunting action RPGs with others is when these co-op focused games truly shine brightest. And free online play means keeping your wallet happy too!

Unfortunately, Monster Hunter Rise‘s online offerings are not as straightforward as you might hope when it comes to playing for free. In this detailed guide, I’ll break down exactly how Monster Hunter Rise‘s online connectivity works on both Nintendo Switch and PC.

Monster Hunter Rise Online Play Overview

First, let’s start with a quick overview of Monster Hunter Rise’s online multiplayer offerings:

  • Online lobbies – Join public lobbies to take on quests with up to 3 other players.
  • Join requests – Fire an SOS flare mid-hunt to open your game to public join requests.
  • Local wireless – Play locally with others nearby who own the game.

Rise supports standard Monster Hunter co-op questing online or locally. Up to 4 players, including you, can team up to take down epic monsters together and earn rewards.

According to Capcom, over 7 million hunting parties have assembled online already!

Now here’s the rub when it comes to playing for free…

Nintendo Switch Online Subscription Required

On Nintendo Switch, Monster Hunter Rise requires a paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription for online multiplayer.

This subscription ranges from $3.99 monthly to $19.99 annually. It is needed for:

  • Joining public online lobbies
  • Firing SOS flares for join requests
  • Most other Switch games’ online play

Think of it like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus for Nintendo consoles.

Without a current Nintendo Switch Online membership, you cannot access Monster Hunter Rise’s full online multiplayer features on Switch.

Free Online Options on Switch

Now I don’t want to leave you totally discouraged if playing online for free is a must. Here are a couple limited workarounds:

  • Local wireless – You can play locally with others nearby who own the game, no subscription needed.

  • Friend invites – You can join quests via direct friend invites without a membership.

Friend invites are your best bet for online play without a subscription. As long as you partner up directly with local friends, you can bypass public lobbies and join requests.

You arerestricted to playing only with people on your Switch friend list this way. But it beats nothing if funds are tight!

PC Version Does Not Require Subscription

Unlike the Switch edition, the Monster Hunter Rise PC version has no membership fees for online play.

You only need to purchase the base game on Steam for $59.99. That single purchase includes full access to:

  • Public online lobbies
  • Sending and responding to join requests
  • All other online multiplayer questing

Think of it like Monster Hunter World on PC. No recurring fees needed whatsoever.

This table summarizes the key differences:

VersionRequires Subscription?
Nintendo SwitchYes

So for unencumbered online play on PC with friends, the Steam edition is your best bet.

Cost Breakdown of Playing Online

Let‘s break down the total costs for getting into Monster Hunter Rise online on both platforms:

Nintendo Switch

  • Monster Hunter Rise Base Game – $59.99
  • Nintendo Switch Online Subscription (1 year) – $19.99

Total 1st Year Cost: $79.98

PC (Steam)

  • Monster Hunter Rise Base Game – $59.99

Total Cost: $59.99

As you can see, the PC version will save you $20 per year by not needing an ongoing online subscription. That‘s the price of a new game on sale!

The savings add up if you plan to play Monster Hunter Rise for a long time. But the Switch version is likely cheaper if you only play occasionally and purchase shorter Online memberships.

Is Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Free Online?

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for Nintendo Switch also requires a paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription for online play, just like Rise.

This older Monster Hunter game does not offer any workarounds for playing online for free either. Purchasing the Switch base game and adding a subscription are mandatory.

On the bright side, Generations Ultimate costs $39.99 instead of $59.99. But the online subscription fee remains unavoidable.

Will Monster Hunter Rise Ever Be Free to Play?

Based on Capcom’s history with the series, Monster Hunter Rise going fully free-to-play in the future is very unlikely.

No mainline Monster Hunter game has ever adopted a free-to-play approach. The series has always used a traditional upfront purchase model.

Monster Hunter Rise is still selling extremely well across Switch and PC, over 7 million units so far! So Capcom has no incentive to drop the purchase requirement anytime soon.

Perhaps way down the road once sales tail off, a free-to-play revamp could potentially bring in new revenue. But no free offering looks imminent.

For now, purchasing the base game is mandatory for hunting monsters in Kamura Village.

Free Monster Hunter Alternatives

If going completely free-to-play is absolutely mandatory, there are some alternative options:


Dauntless is a popular free-to-play co-op action RPG that is very similar to Monster Hunter. It is available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

As a free-to-play game, Dauntless has no upfront cost and does not require a subscription or ongoing purchases. Online play is 100% free.

There are optional microtransactions for cosmetic items only. But you can enjoy full online co-op monster hunting without spending a dime.

Dauntless also offers complete cross-play across all platforms, so you can hunt with friends on any system. Monster Hunter Rise unfortunately lacks cross-play capabilities.

Overall, Dauntless is your best bet if Monster Hunter-style gameplay for free is an absolute must.

Dragon‘s Dogma Online

Dragon’s Dogma Online was a free-to-play spin-off of Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma series. It featured large monster battles similar to Monster Hunter completely for free.

However, this online-only title was exclusive to Japan. And sadly, the servers were shut down in 2019, so Dragon’s Dogma Online is no longer playable.

But it remains a good example of a Monster Hunter-like online RPG that was fully free with no strings attached. Here’s hoping Capcom may revisit the concept someday!

Game Pass and Discounts

While not free, Monster Hunter Rise is included on Xbox Game Pass for both console and PC. So Game Pass subscribers can play at no added cost.

Various sales around 50% off are also common on both platforms for major events like holiday sales.

So while Monster Hunter Rise is not outright free just yet, discounts and subscriptions like Game Pass do offer more affordable ways to play.

Is Monster Hunter Rise Worth Playing Solo?

Monster Hunter Rise is still very enjoyable playing solo offline without the online features. Here‘s an overview of solo play:


  • Story mode quests balanced for single player
  • Play and progress at your own pace
  • Less chaotic and easier to learn mechanics
  • Hire medic Palamute Scout buddies for aid
  • Sense of pride mastering solo hunts


  • Missing social fun of multiplayer hunts
  • Guild quests tougher without co-op partners
  • Grinding gear alone can feel repetitive
  • No one to revive you if you faint

Monster Hunter is primarily designed with co-op in mind. But determined hunters can still find tons of fun playing solo. And you‘ll never need to wait or depend on others.

If you tend to prefer playing alone in RPGs, Monster Hunter Rise can certainly still be enjoyed. But expect a steeper challenge and lack of camaraderie.

Should You Buy Monster Hunter Rise in 2022?

In 2022, Monster Hunter Rise remains a stellar purchase, especially now that PC players can finally join the hunt.

Here are some top reasons why 2022 is a great time to jump into Rise:

  • Huge amount of content – Base game plus free updates equals over 100 hours.
  • Active player base – Still has a thriving online community across platforms.
  • PC enhancements – Higher framerates, resolutions, and graphics options.
  • Steam Deck verified – Runs great on Valve‘s new handheld PC.
  • Major expansion incoming – Large Sunbreak expansion arrives summer 2022.

With Capcom‘s continual support and updates, plus a whole new audience on PC, Monster Hunter Rise is absolutely still worth buying in 2022 for new players.

Final Thoughts on Free Online Play

At the end of the day, Monster Hunter Rise unfortunately does not allow full unrestricted online play for free on Switch, only PC.

To summarize:

  • Switch – Requires a paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

  • PC – No subscription or additional purchase needed for online.

  • Workarounds – Local wireless play and friend invites on Switch offer limited free options.

  • Free Alternatives – Games like Dauntless offer 100% free online monster hunting.

I hope this guide gives you a detailed breakdown of exactly how Monster Hunter Rise‘s online connectivity works on each platform. Hopefully you now know what to expect cost-wise for whatever system you choose.

While not ideal, paying a bit for Nintendo Switch Online does offer access to many other games‘ online play too. And joining up with friends locally is always a subscription-free option.

But if you truly cannot afford recurring fees, the PC version is now happily subscription free. Dauntless offers 100% free hunting too.

Whichever path you choose, happy hunting, fellow monster slayer! This guide aims to prepare you, so you can focus on the hunt and fully enjoy incredible Monster Hunter Rise, whether solo or with friends online.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to provide more details from one Monster Hunter fan to another.



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