Online gaming is something everyone now dabbles in, as games are more accessible than ever. The games industry itself has boomed in recent years, with an estimated 2.2 to 2.6 billion people gaming and the global software market estimated to grow to $137.9 billion this year – according to statistics from the UK Association for UK Interactive Entertainment. Digital and online gaming now has a market value of £1.3 billion and looks to only expand and improve from here.
The great thing about the industry now is that you don’t need a flashy console or the best hardware to play. Some of the most successful titles are now free to play, filling those spare hours with fun games and just need a decent internet connection and a PC. Whether you want to team up with your friends and take down the enemy, climb the ranks in a FPS online or simply while away the hours with a classic like bingo, there’s a game out there for you.
However, with all the choice now available, it can be tough to decide which ones are worth playing – so here’s our pick of the best five free games on the internet.
There’s more to Fortnite than the rad character dance moves. This is one of the biggest multiplayer games of 2018 and can be played for free with 99 other people across the world via its Battle Royale mode. Released in July 2017 by developer Epic Games, it gets a solid 8/10 from us – for players who prefer to battle on the PS4.
The aim of the game is to survive. Every player parachutes onto the map with just a pickaxe to their name and has to battle it out until there is only one survivor. The game map also gets smaller and smaller as time goes on to keep all the players closer together and the pace, fast.
When you’re not zooming around the map in a jet pack or running around as a giant chicken while waiting to revive, you’re constructing bases to defend yourself or buying cool skins and costumes to stand out amongst other players – when they’re not shooting at you.
There’s no limits with this game either – you can play on the PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC/Mac and even go mobile on your smartphone.
- Team Fortress 2
If you remember spending hours teaming up with friends on Team Fortress 2, then it’s time to relive those fun moments and play for free online. Valve’s classic multiplayer – originally released in 2007 – went free to play in 2011, after starting out as a firm favorite with gamers who picked up the Orange Box.
Whether you preferred to don the lab coat of a medic, get up close and personal as a heavy or pick off other players from a vantage point as a sniper, there’s a character for you. Plus, with offline and practice modes also available you don’t have to worry about competing against expert players straight away, if you want to perfect your shoot ‘em up skills. You can even craft, trade and buy weapons and upgrades to give your character a boost.
You can play Team Fortress 2 for free on PC or Mac – simply download from Steam and you’re good to go.
- Card and Gacha
Not much of a shooter fan? Prefer a game that’s totally chilled but still loads of fun – and free to play online, of course? Card or gacha games are a good option and easy to get to grips with. These can be played on the PC or via a mobile app, depending on what you prefer or have access to. It’s evolving the way we play things such as casino games or even turn based fighting titles, providing a totally immersive, multi-layered experience.
Gacha is advancing those ever popular pastimes, such as free online bingo and slot games, with high quality graphics and audio enhancing these classic titles. There’s a story to follow and the opportunity to win big, with some providing in-game transactions for loot boxes that could give you a boost with each number call. Bingo is definitely no longer for the older generation, it’s now an immersive gaming experience online – and you could be taking home more than a trophy by playing these games, where there are big jackpots to be won.
If you prefer cards, Hearthstone is another popular online game, as you build your deck to beat other players online. Stunning artwork, an immersive backstory and support from World of Warcraft lore have made this free online game a popular choice for all ages.
- EVE Online
Released way back in 2003, this space-based, sandbox MMO continues to draw in thousands of players every day. If you’re a big fan of epic space battles (who isn’t?) these can happen, in fact, earlier this year in January 6,000 players logged on to fight it out and claim territory.
EVE online is big on community, as the 15-year-old game has taken on a life of its own with factions and legions set up for people to join and fight for. You can play EVE online via your PC, set up a character and immerse yourself in a whole new world.
The sheer size of the world and what you can do can feel a little daunting at first but once you find a purpose for your character and start to enhance your ship and skill level you’ll find yourself fully immersed in this incredible online game.
- Starcraft II
If real-time strategy is your thing, then it’s time to try out Starcraft II. This game is loved by both casual and professional gamers, with a booming e-sports scene to support it too. Originally released in 2010, the game was made free to play in 2017, allowing a new generation of gamers to get involved.
Created by Blizzard Entertainment – the force behind games such as WoW, Overwatch and the Diablo series – Starcraft II does have a story based gameplay behind it but most opt for the intense PvP matches, pitting your race against other players.
It’s a great game to improve your strategy and quick thinking skills, as you need to anticipate your opposition’s every move and gain territory quickly – all while building up your defences. Matches can last on average between 15-20 minutes depending on skill level, so it’s a quick, free game that’s great to squeeze into a spare hour in your evening.
Ready to find your next favourite game? Grab that mouse and keyboard, load up your title of choice and enjoy a few free hours of fun to come back to again and again.