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Are Free Games Worth Your Time?


There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or at least that’s what we’ve always been told. But is that the case in the gaming world? The prevalence of free titles has grown exponentially in recent years with many major publishers releasing free versions of their most popular titles, or in the case of some like CS:GO, making them completely free-to-play. The same is true with casino games, with many brands offering no-deposit free spins for players to use on their slot games without having to add funds to their accounts.

But are these free games really free? And if they are, are they really worth playing?

Are Free Games Truly Free?

Games cost money to develop. They require the time of dozens or even hundreds of people, all of whom require a salary so that they can continue to live while they work on the game. To make Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games spent a whopping $265 million, though they’ve more than made up for it with the $1 billion of revenue it’s brought in.

Put simply, developing a game is expensive. So the companies that do it need to cover these costs somehow. It’s understandable that players may be sceptical of games labelled “free”.

However, many free games can genuinely be played for an unlimited amount of time without having to hand over any cash. There is sometimes a catch, though – in titles like Candy Crush, Fortnite, and Farmville, you’re going to be nagged to buy in-game items. This is optional, but enough people do it to justify the large amount of money that’s put into their creation.

Are Free Games Worth Playing?

If something’s free, you might be concerned about its quality. In the past, many free games have been objectively bad, full of glitches, and not fun to play. Today, things are a little different.

Free games in the past were bad because developers couldn’t commit much time to them. Modern ones, however, with their microtransaction funding model, are profitable enough to allocate the resources necessary to make them better.

Call of Duty: Mobile has a rating of more than four stars in the Google Play Store from over 14 million submissions. Similarly, the hit game Wordle has a 4+ rating from over 10,000 reviews and is completely free to play.

Given that these free games are so popular and are reviewed very favourably by their players, it seems clear that the link between price and quality has been severed in the gaming world. Therefore, free games are genuinely free (although they come with the option to pay) and many are good enough for you to justify playing.