PC gamers are spoilt for choice when it comes to free and low-cost games, but console players are not so fortunate. There is less variety, and development is closed, therefore free material is very unusual. Rare, though not completely missing.
Obtaining free games for a console needs more work and may compel you to settle for less-than-awesome titles. However, if you’re prepared to invest some time or don’t mind joining up for specific services, there is a limited selection of free console games accessible.
Xbox Live And PlayStation Plus
Yes, both Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus are paid programs. However, Xbox Live is required to play online games or use many other features, and PlayStation Plus on the PlayStation 4 will be the same. If you own either console, there’s a good chance you’ll have access to one of these services. You may as well make the most of it.
Xbox Live’s Games With Gold is a rotating promotion that puts a digital copy of a game up for free. The download is identical to the version you’d receive if you’d paid for the game on Microsoft’s store and you can keep the game indefinitely, even after your Gold subscription lapses. You can also download the game again if you remove it from your console, and if you lack enough hard drive space, you can start the game download, cancel it, and then download at a later time.
PlayStation Plus works differently. Instead of offering one game at a time, Plus offers a library of games. New games are added every month and, as long as you’re subscribed, you can access both the previous and newly offered games. However, if your subscription lapses, you lose access to the free games. Re-subscribing regains your access. You can re-download free games so long as your subscription is current.
Join Xbox Live Rewards
Microsoft’s long-running Xbox Live rewards program is an excellent source of free games. You do not directly earn games, but you do earn credit that may be used on games or DLC.
Subscription renewal, referring friends to Live, engaging in community playdate activities, and making purchases on the Live shop are all methods to earn rewards. The prizes are little (usually 100 Microsoft Points), but they pile up fast. Most players may simply get a free Xbox Arcade title.
Because Microsoft will be discontinuing Points shortly, the program will also alter. Presumably, the benefits will shift from points to cash credits or unique DLC and game downloads, but Microsoft has yet to make an official decision and will not until later this year. I’m hoping for the latter, but I’m betting on the former.
After years of success on the PC, free-to-play is now making its way to consoles. As you may know, free-to-play games make income via in-game purchases and DLC, eliminating the need for a high retail price tag.
World Of Tanks and Spartacus Legends are recommended for Xbox Live, while DUST: 513 and DC Universe Online are recommended for PlayStation 3. If you like free-to-play games, you should get a next-generation console as soon as possible. Both Microsoft and Sony want to embrace F2P, but Sony seems to be in a stronger position, since titles such as Planetside 2 and Warframe will be transferred to the PlayStation 4. Even better, Sony claims that F2P games will not need a Plus membership.
Another option to get free games is to download those made available for promotional reasons. This seems to be most prominent on Xbox, where titles like Dash Of Destruction and Harm’s Way are free – with a little Doritos branding on the side. Discover the most popular titles by browsing our selection of free Xbox 360 games.
Crack Your Console And Run Homebrew Games
Consoles come with a restricted operating system that only allows the installation of authorized games, although skilled players frequently discover a way past the restrictions. This applies to all three main current-generation consoles: the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii.
However, the Wii is the greatest option among contemporary consoles since it can be cracked without requiring hardware modification, it is affordable, and there is no fear of being banned from online play (because there is no online service!) The Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable are also excellent platforms for homebrew development.
Once cracked, a console may run user-created homebrew games and programs. These are often free, especially when emulation is involved. Again, the Wii is an excellent example; it can even run DOS games!
Console players will almost certainly never have access to the same number of free games that PC gamers have. That is just the truth of any closed platform; the cost of development is higher, hence those who wish to create a free game (or transfer one from another platform) are less inclined to do so.
However, free exists and, hopefully, will become more popular in the future. Because the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have PC-like architecture, the complexity of creating should be reduced. Meanwhile, please leave a comment and tell us about your favorite (free) console game.
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