According to Statista, more than 3 billion people play video games worldwide. Within the next few years, this number is expected to rise, and the increased popularity of online video games plays a big part in that upward trend.
Admittedly, it’s more enjoyable to play games with family and friends, especially if we’re thousands of miles apart. If we’re planning to ‘party up’ for a quick multiplayer death match or do some casual raids, here are ten (10) of the best online games that we can play on the PC right now:
- League of Legends
- Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
- Overwatch 2
- PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS
- Apex Legends
- GTA Online
- Rocket League
- Destiny 2
For the best gameplay experience, some of these games might require us to play using a joystick instead of the mouse and keyboard. Either way, here’s a brief overview of each game, starting with:
Developed by: Epic Games, People Can Fly | Release date: July 25th, 2017 (Early Access)
Fortnite is a multi-million dollar video game that continues to remain strong to this very day. With more than 1 million active players logging in every day (according to ActivePlayer.io), gaming sessions are always full. It’s a great game to play to kill time, especially when it features regular cosmetic updates that we can purchase to look cool in-game, like the Optimus Prime skin from Transformers!
2) League of Legends
Developed by: Riot Games | Release date: March 1st, 2013
Everyone knows League of Legends (LoL) by now. The game has its own Netflix series too (Arcane). Plus, multiple spin-off titles have also been created under the intellectual property (IP), such as League of Legends: Wild Rift and Legends of Runeterra, proving how widespread LoL’s fame has grown throughout the years.
Developed by: Riot Games | Release date: June 2nd, 2020
A fast-paced, tactical hero shooter, Valorant is another Riot Games esports masterpiece. The game’s Agents (in-game heroes) are diverse and unique, allowing us to experience different characters with special abilities. As recorded by ActivePlayer.io, Valorant continues to appeal to more than 600,000 players daily, justifying its inclusion as one of the best online games for PC.
4) Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
Developed by: Infinity Ward, Raven Software | Release date: November 14th, 2022
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 has one of the most dedicated player bases to date, with an average of between 80,000 and 100,000 players logging in every month on Steam alone! Expanding on the gargantuan Call of Duty franchise, this standalone battle-royale game proves that chasing trends isn’t always bad; it just needs to be done correctly.
5) Overwatch 2
Developed by: Blizzard Entertainment | Release date: October 4th, 2022
Despite its controversies, Overwatch 2 is still consistently played by many every day. Maybe it’s because of its colorful characters or the way combat flows seamlessly; regardless, a lot of fans still support the game, with around 300,000 players playing it regularly.
6) PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS
Developed by: PUBG Studios/ Corporation | Release date: July 30th, 2016
One of the main instigators of the battle-royale genre, PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS is still competitively played today. Up to 100 people can square off against each other in a fight to survive until the last man standing, and we can still find people to play with even if we’re new to it.
7) Apex Legends
Developed by: Respawn Entertainment | Release date: February 4th, 2019
Although many fans have been calling for the release of Titanfall 3, Apex Legends is still a great replacement, at least for the time being. There’s something incredibly satisfying about shooting others while jumping off walls, and this isn’t taking the characters’ distinct backstories into account yet, all tied to the Titanfall series.
8) GTA Online
Developed by: Rockstar Games | Release date: October 1st, 2013
Rockstar Games’ GTA Online brings us back to Los Santos, and we’re free to become whoever we want. The sky’s the limit here (literally), and there’s no one stopping us from becoming a business tycoon, a weapons master, or a casual heister; it’s all about player choices.
9) Rocket League
Developed by: Psyonix | Release date: July 7th, 2015
Cars meet soccer; Rocket League is a sports fan’s dream game come true. It’s exhilarating and challenging, with clear skill levels separating beginners from pros. Even after eight (8) years, the game still garners more than 200,000 daily players in-game, according to ActivePlayer.io.
10) Destiny 2
Developed by: Bungie Inc. | Release date: September 6th, 2017
The Halo franchise might be Bungie’s most lucrative endeavor, but the Destiny series is a close second, with Destiny 2 considered amongst the best online games to play on PC. It takes everything great about Halo – precise shooting mechanics, robust guns, etc. – and implements role-playing elements for us to customize our characters as badass as possible.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal | Release date: December 1st, 2015
Take Counter-Strike, level up its graphics and mechanics by 100%, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is what we get. A heart-pounding hero tactical shooter, we’ll be coordinating our offensive plays with teammates to either attack or defend objectives. In Steam, over 40,000 players play the game every day, meaning the game still has a couple of years left in the tank.
Developed by: Digital Extremes | Release date: March 25th, 2013
Possibly the best free-to-play game to ever exist, Warframe is an iconic action role-playing game that is both financially successful and player-friendly. We get to personalize various aspects of our character, explore countless worlds, manage a powerful spaceship, and so much more!
Are Online Games Free on PC?
Barring GTA Online, all the games mentioned above are F2P, with advanced additions locked behind Battle Passes and in-game purchases. This is amazing for us PC gamers, especially because many computer games don’t require monthly subscriptions to play them online.
Still, does this mean all online multiplayer games are F2P as well?
No, not all online games are free to play. A few of the most positively-reviewed titles are pay-to-play (P2P), such as Escape from Tarkov and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
This shouldn’t be a barrier for us to enjoy them, though, because every game developer deserves compensation for their hard work, one way or another. Thus, PC games should be priced accordingly, finding that perfect balance between maximizing business revenue and elevating player experience.
Additionally, once our player account is linked to a game on its servers, we don’t need to rebuy them if we want to reinstall them on another PC. This is different for physical copies of older-generation video games, though, but developers/ publishers have begun rectifying that by adding them to their game servers too.
Can I Play Online PC Games without Downloading?
Sometimes, when we have loads of games installed on the computer, storage becomes a problem. So, can we play new online games on the PC without downloading them, to save memory space?
Yes, we can! It depends on the game in question, but certain online multiplayer titles can be played without being downloaded, by:
- Browsing its webpage (browser games)
- Streaming it through a game subscription service (cloud gaming)
Examples of browser games are Drakensang Online and League of Angels II. When it comes to cloud gaming, the best instance is Xbox Game Pass, where the Ultimate-tier subscription lets us stream triple-A (AAA) games without needing to install them on the PC.
If we have more storage drives prepared, we can simply designate the preferred location for the games to be downloaded, letting us manage storage memory better. Still, not needing to download/ install games on the computer has its benefits too, like saving money from buying a DVD drive, or not waiting hours for a 100GB multiplayer game to be installed.
Do I Need a Gaming PC to Play Online Games?
Unlike a decade ago, online video games today are significantly more realistic, run faster, and load in-game assets quicker. These are all done thanks to advancements in video game technology, but does this mean we need a proper gaming PC to play them now as well?
Yes, we need a dedicated gaming PC to play many online games today. However, this doesn’t mean upgrading our GPU to the latest model, or bloating our RAM as much as possible (but they do help tremendously for AAA gaming).
Nowadays, although the hardware requirement for entry-level gaming is higher, GPUs are now much more affordable too, like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. For professional animators, a powerful workstation can also be a great gaming rig, so we’re essentially killing two birds with one stone.
Gone are the days when Intel HD graphics can support video games, like StarCraft II. Moving forward, we have to accept that modern games require proper gaming hardware to be run, including for online multiplayer games.
Gaming accessories remain optional, though, but they improve the overall experience drastically. For one, gaming keyboards are more precise and comfortable to use, letting us time our skill rotations more accurately in Diablo IV. Ultimately, it all depends on our budget, but we can always set aside a small amount for a few months, to build a new gaming PC, right?