Video game developers and publishers are understandably coy when it comes to revealing details with regards to the overall cost of creating their content. However, with the average title costing gaming publishers around $10,000 per person per month, it's not difficult to see why the latest video games can cost in excess of $60.
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When you factor in the cost of buying a fully kitted out gaming PC or a current generation console such as Sony's PlayStation 4 or Microsoft's Xbox One X, gaming can quickly become a pricey hobby for the average Joe. Luckily, the amount that a game costs doesn't always have a bearing on how good or playable it is and there are a wide array of free video games out there that you can enjoy without breaking the bank.
Letting Off Steam
Chances are that if you're reading this, you're already well aware of Steam and its importance within the gaming world. At the most basic level, it is a download manager and gaming hub in which you can log onto your account, install and then play the game of your choice regardless of your location. More importantly for us, however, the platform offers a wide range of easily downloadable high-quality free games which are every bit as entertaining as their expensive, wallet destroying counterparts.
The MMO interpretation of Bioware's RPG-based Overwinter, for example, continues to attract new users by pitting them against kobolds and hobgoblins whilst giving players an aesthetically diverse world to roam in. Star Trek Online is another fans' favorite that can be found on Steam and is still receiving free and regular updates even to this day, which consistently deliver more elaborate episodic missions in the ever-evolving galaxy that the Enterprise crew find themselves in. A criticism which is often leveled at the F2P (free to play) gaming market is that the games on offer have been compromised in terms of quality and whilst this may be true for some of the more basic titles available out there, Steam offers some of the most complete and complex gaming experiences available. Period.
Brower-Based Games and HTML5
The large majority of browser-based games are still developed with flash technology but more and more developers are turning to HTML5 for what they consider to be a more flexible alternative. Whilst the possibilities offered by both Flash and HTML5 are quite similar, you could argue that Flash's efficiency is wholly dependent on PC gaming whereas HTML5 is better supported on mobile devices, which are slowly but surely becoming many gamers 'weapons' of choice when it comes to online gaming.
There are numerous HTML5 gaming hubs which offer free, easy to play games that will undoubtedly pass a good couple of hours. Sites such as Playhub offer a good number of entertaining productions such as Super Drift 3D and London Rex, which make good use of the HTML5 software and can be played directly via your browser. For a more innovative HTML5 gaming experience, gaming hub Newgrounds offers a range of high-quality free games with excellent graphics, such as Super Left 4 Dead Bros. Similarly, iGaming hubs such as Betway online casino occasionally offer free to spins to players on HTML5-powered slot games such as Castle Builder II and Jurassic World.
Apps For Mobile Devices
In early 2016, it was estimated that U.S gamers played an average of 3.6 mobile games a month and by the year 2020, figures suggest that around 63.7% of U.S mobile phone users will be gaming on their devices. It's not difficult to see why gaming apps, in general, are on the rise – the convenience of being able to instantly access your favorite game wherever you are cannot be understated. You only need to look around the train or bus on your morning commute to see just how glued the majority are to their devices and gaming developers are doing an excellent job and taking advantage of our current mobile phone obsession.
Whether you're a a fan of Apple's work and consequently own an iPhone or satisfy your gaming fix by visiting the Google Play Store, the mobile gaming market has limitless possibilities so satisfy even the most hard to please gamers. Amongst some of the most popular titles include Fallout Shelter, which has retained some of the more quirky elements of Bethesda's best selling franchise whilst existing as an entertaining RPG-based simulation game in its own right. It would be remiss of us not to mention Pokemon Go in this category, as it is now considered the biggest mobile game in US history and continues to attract attention from gamers all over the world. The ever-improving graphics of our mobile devices means that the only way is up for the mobile gaming industry and the large majority of titles are still free to play. Result.
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Free Means Free
We all know how the saying goes: "You don't get something for nothing." Often, products are advertised as being free and then you get slapped with the charges later on down the line. However, free games are just that. Of course, there are options to purchase additional in-game content, which can enhance and enrich your experience but it's generally up to you whether you want to dust the cobwebs off your wallet and purchase these extras and it is for that reason that free-to-play games continue to be one of the most popular ways to kill a bit of time.