A person holding out notes of cash.

In 2023, many gamers are already gearing up for the next evolution of video games. A lot of game studios and developers have begun implementing advanced 3D technology, such as Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), for their upcoming titles, to kick-start the next-gen wave of video games, resulting in higher system requirements and specs, especially on PC.

Surprisingly, even with better systems, workflows, and artificial intelligence (AI) being utilized, more developers/ publishers have begun favoring freemium business setups to ensure the longevity and marketable reach of their video game projects. So, this begs the question: do computer games still cost money to be bought and played now?

Yes, video games still cost money to be downloaded, installed, and played on the PC. After all, they take years to be developed and polished by the developers, who in turn deserve to be compensated for their work

That being said, different developers/ publishers employ different paying models to generate sales revenue from their games, with some allowing us to install them for absolutely free, but supporting the creators via micro-transactions instead.

Honestly, being able to play games for free appeals to me too, especially for those of us who use our gaming computers for work, like computer-aided design (CAD). Not only do we feel less burdened about uninstalling them from the PC once we’ve completed them (less guilt because they’re free!), but we are much more inclined to buy the added content, such as in-game cosmetics, to support the developers.

This does add to the argument that physical PC games might not have a place in the future, but seeing that there are countries that still suffer from unstable Internet infrastructure around the world, PC games will persist in both physical and digital forms, regardless of whether they’re free or not.

How Much Do PC Games Cost?

Although free-to-play (F2P) PC games do exist on the market, a majority of them are sold at premium prices. So, how much do they usually cost from online stores and retailers?

On average, a triple-A (AAA) PC game costs $60, while indie games usually fare between $30 to $40 per title. Of course, the developers/ publishers will ultimately decide on the best pricing strategy befitting their games, with different editions usually sold at higher prices.

Still, we should start familiarising ourselves with $70 games now, judging from the upshift in development costs that many game studios seem to bear in recent years, especially for smaller, indie ones. The improvements in video game tech have also played a part in this, seeing that newer software and upgrades normally require more powerful hardware to manage them.

Nevertheless, as the buying consumers, we are the ones with the purchasing power, so it’s up to us to gauge how much we’re willing to spend for a video game, comparing its price to its replayability and value.

Plus, if we’ve completely exhausted our fun on a particular game, we can even sell them to others who might be interested, most notably physical copies of older-generation titles that are not found on the market anymore, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (unless from Steam).

Many modern games today are now available digitally, though, so mainstream gamers would still prefer to opt for digital purchases instead, primarily due to better security and cyber ownership. Personally for me, having the ability to resell my computer game is still a nice option to have, at the very least.

Are There Free Games on PC?

The price increase of video games isn’t going to be accepted easily by the global PC-gaming community, with living costs becoming more expensive worldwide. With this in mind, are there free games for us to play on the PC right now?

Yes, many successful PC games are free to play! We can find PUBG: Battlegrounds dominating the PC games’ all-time sales chart, while League of LegendsValorant, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are just a few names commanding the esports landscape.

In certain regions, we can even rent our favorite games for a small fee, returning them to the retailers/ owners once we’re done playing them. This keeps the gaming community engaged with each other, creating a strong video game economy that mainly flies under the radar of publishers.

Does this mean every game is available on the PC, then?

No, especially when we take console-exclusive titles, such as Ghost of Tsushima, into account. At the end of the day, the video games industry is still a business environment, and F2P games also generate income for the respective developers, so exclusive PlayStation or Xbox games are commonly released to boost console sales unless ported to PC sometime later.

Still, on the topic of free PC games, we should always be wary of downloading those that come from suspicious third-party websites, notably pirated ones. In this day and age, viruses and malware can come from anywhere, even video games, so always source our games from legitimate sites, particularly those of the developers/ publishers themselves.

Which Gaming Stores Offer Free Games on PC?

Every free-to-play game can be downloaded directly from their original websites. But, if we’re signed up with a few different video game store sites, we can occasionally get fully-paid games free of charge during specific sales events or seasonal promos (not to mention hugely discounted prices)!

These are some of the more popular online gaming stores that hand out free video game copies every once in a while:

  • Steam
  • Epic Games Store
  • Battle.net
  • EA App

It might be worth having an account for each of them too, to have better chances of snatching up a game for free, besides comparing their seasonal discount rates regularly. In my opinion, there’s nothing to lose by doing so, especially when signing up is always free.

Special video game sites, like GameFly, offer legitimate game-renting services as well. For those of us based in regions like the United States, we are lucky to have such facilities in place, including big retailers, such as GameStop, conveniently located on home soil.

As many people would say, better make the most of what we have!

Are Online Games Cheaper on PC than Consoles?

The PC-versus-Console debate continues to this very day, and many gamers are still contemplating whether multiplayer online games are cheaper when bought for the computer over their console counterparts.

The thing is, online games aren’t any cheaper on the PC because every game sold across various gaming platforms is uniformly priced despite the differences in infrastructure, hardware, and specs. For example, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’s Standard Edition costs the same $69.99 for its PC, Xbox, and PlayStation versions.

The budget difference that most of us usually associate with, when comparing PC games against consoles’, is the online subscription packages that restrict multiplayer gameplay for Xbox and PlayStation users. Specifically speaking; PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live.

On top of paying for the gaming console and video games themselves, playing multiplayer with friends requires additional monthly/ annual fees to consider, This isn’t the case with PC games, and we won’t be complaining about it if we don’t have any Wi-Fi connection, seeing that we’re not losing any money’s worth over it.

PC gaming’s free online play – except for subscription-based games like World of Warcraft – might be one of the reasons why computer games are believed to be smaller in size than console titles on the market, though this might be somewhat theoretical, at best.

Regardless, whenever the topic of PC games being cheaper than consoles’ come up, we now know that that isn’t entirely true after all.

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