Gaming is an increasingly popular pastime, but unfortunately it can sometimes feel as if it’s become less and less accessible due to rising costs, hardware limitations and mandatory DLC. But fear not, you needn’t consign yourself to playing buggy games you found in the app store if you know where to look.

credit  mahdi chaghari unspalsh
credit mahdi chaghari unspalsh

In fact, there are more options out there than ever before for gamers looking to enjoy the best the industry has to offer, without having to foot the bill. Let’s take a look at these below.

Cloud Gaming

You ever thought that there should be a Netflix – or YouTube – for games? Well have we got good news for you. What you’re dreaming up is known in the industry as Cloud Gaming, and while it’s still somewhat in its infancy, it already holds out enormous promise to gamers. 

This is because by streaming game content over the internet, it does away with the need to own expensive consoles or gaming PCs which can cost thousands of pounds. Cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming, that comes bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, also offers a huge selection of games – at last count over 170 – all for a single subscription fee of £12.99/month.

That includes day one releases of flagship titles like the new Forza Motorsport, all for a fraction of the costs of buying the game outright.

Free Trials and Bonuses

By virtue of just how competitive the space has become in recent years, more and more games are launching with time-limited free trials in a bid to drum up player numbers and expose gamers who would otherwise be reticent to take a chance on a title with the full upfront cost to the merits of their gameplay.

credit JESHOOTS unsplash
credit JESHOOTS unsplash

This is in evidence across the board, with prominent examples including the 2021 release of Knock Out City, a game that has since shifted to a F2P model, but that once retailed for full triple-A price. Yet in spite of this, publisher EA dropped the game with a month’s free trial to let players and critics see what it has to offer. Keeping track of free trials and open betas – limited public releases ostensibly done to iron out bugs before full release – can be a simple way to enjoy high quality titles for free.

Other sectors, namely the online casino market, have become so closely associated with the concept of welcome bonuses and sign-up offers that platforms dedicated to collating and promoting these deals now serve as hubs for patrons to discover new casinos. What’s more, with such a wide array of deals on offer, platforms such as VegasSlotsOnline facilitate players shopping around to find a deal that matches their requirements be it a no deposit bonus or something more bespoke like free spins on slots titles. Either way, not inconsiderable savings are conferred to any casino aficionados who opt to go down this route.

Free to Play (F2P)

F2P games have seemingly taken over the industry in 2024. What started out as a small but growing monetization model hailing from the deeper reaches of the esports phenomenon – first pioneered by Dota 2, and then taken up to great acclaim by battle royales like PUBG and Fortnite – F2P is now widespread.

Prominent examples now include Call of Duty Warzone 2, and Microsoft and said to be building out an all new entry in the Halo series built on this platform. So what’s the deal? Simply put, F2P games are, as the name suggests, free to play. Where that’s different from the similar seeming freemium game, is that freemium titles put essential content behind a paywall, effectively forcing people who want to advance in the game to pay for the full title.

F2P, on the other hand, makes its money through customization microtransactions – things like outfits, dances and weapon skins. What this means in practice is that someone could become the world’s best player in Fortnite, if they wanted to, without having to pay anything whatsoever. This makes these games friendly for gamers of all persuasions – and budgets – ensuring high player numbers, a rich community, and quality gameplay. 

F2P games like the aforementioned CoD spin-off serve up full triple-A gaming without any upfront costs. What’s not to love?