Gaming can be an expensive hobby, whether it is consoles or PC gaming. The peripherals, accessories or all the new games will put quite a deep hole into our wallets and it’s hard to keep up for those who just want some casual fun on the cheap.
Fret not, because there are still plenty of ways that we can play video games without going broke and we have put together some tried and tested ways we believe can help you out on this journey to enjoy video gaming without going broke.
Monthly Subscription Services
Monthly subscription services should be familiar to everyone thanks to Spotify, Disney+ or Netflix, where a monthly fee is paid for unlimited usage of its content. Yes, gamers have their platforms as well and it’s one of the best ways to get the most value with minimum expenditure.
Both Windows and Xbox users can subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, which offers over 100 quality games such as Minecraft, Destiny, Resident Evil 7, Dead by Daylight, Grand Theft Auto V and many more titles from all sorts of genres from action-adventure to shooters or even sports.
There are three different Xbox Game Passes, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Xbox Game Pass PC and Xbox Game Pass Console. The passes for PC and Console, both are S$14.90 per month and each provides their subscription exclusive to their platforms. For S$19.9 per month, the Ultimate pass is the full package that gives you access to all the games for both platforms.
The PC and Ultimate pass include EA Play Membership while the Ultimate pass includes Xbox Live Gold which is required for you to play online or multiplayer games, so it is quite a valuable offer if you’re into multiplayer. To seal the deal, from now until 30th June 2021, you only need to pay S$1 to get three months worth of the Ultimate pass!
Moving on to PlayStation, we have our PlayStation Plus, besides paying S$8.90 per month to play online or multiplayer with your friends, PlayStation Plus features free monthly games that are exclusive titles you can hardly imagine playing for free such as Battlefield V (month of May) or even Final Fantasy: Remake a few months ago.
PlayStation Plus even offers you digital discounts, exclusive pre-orders or even access to trials and demos from time to time. PlayStation is also running their Play at Home initiative which has been providing the community with a bunch of permanent free games and short trials to keep gamers occupied during these trying times.
A newer entry compared to Xbox and PlayStation, Ubisoft has its Ubisoft+ that gives you access to Ubisoft titles for a monthly subscription of US$14.99.
What’s special about Ubisoft+ is the access to their latest titles right when it’s released, so simply imagine playing the biggest titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion or Immortals Fenyx Rising right on the release date! While slightly more expensive than the previous two subscriptions, Ubisoft+ might still be worth a try if they have some upcoming titles you want to get your hands on without splurging on the full price.
Last but not least, Apple Arcade, which just saw its latest expansion of over 30 new games. Apple Arcade is Apple’s huge collection of over 180 mobile games that includes a bunch of originals like FANTASIAN, NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, and Star Trek: Legends along with timeless board game classics like Backgammon, Checkers Royales and Chess.
The subscription service is S$6.98 per month and you can currently try their one-month free trial. If the entire collection is too overbearing, you can check out our top five picks that we believe might make the subscription actually worth your time.
If you just got a new Apple device, you might even have a 3 month free sub waiting for you.
Shareable And Couch Co-op Games
Sharing is caring, and nothing feels more enjoyable than couch-ing up with your friends or families for a gaming session together.
Local multiplayer games are a blast to the past when online multiplayer games weren’t a thing and offer a different type of bonding and gaming experience altogether. Depending on its platforms, there are many two to four multiplayer games like Unravel Two, Outward, Don’t Starve Together and Rocket League where you can play locally while sharing the same screen, you might however need to spend a little extra on additional controllers.
Fighting games like Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear Strive (which releases 11 June) or DRAGON BALL FighterZ, which are available on most platforms are classic split-screen versus games if you want some of that PVP action.
Or else, quirky party games from Jackbox Games (best bought via Steam) is the ultimate go-to as it offers you plenty of different charades-like games in a party pack and only the host needs to purchase while the rest can simply connect for free.
Similarly, there are also bigger titles such as A Way Out and It Takes Two (read our review), where only one person has to buy the game before sharing the ‘friend pass’ with the other party to play together. Technically, that’s two games for the price of one and you get to enjoy it together.
Free To Play Games
Free-to-Play games is a genre by itself thanks to the vast amount of titles and nothing can save as much money as free games. No matter what platform you are on, there are probably enough free games out there that’ll catch your interest and we’ll just help you with a few here!
Mobile titles have the biggest collection of free games thanks to the platform and there are all sorts of genres for all type of players. If teaming up and pitting against each other in fast-paced battles are your thing, then multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) Mobile Legends or League of Legends: Wild Rift are your perfect options.
If you enjoy shooting or battle royale games in general, then throwdown in PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty Mobile, where you put your shooting skills to test against players around the world, and the last man standing wins.
For those who prefer slower-paced gameplays, card games could be the ideal alternative. Whether it’s collecting the rarest cards or forming the strongest decks, battle your opponents in the Warcraft trading card game, Hearthstone, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, or League of Legends spin-off Legends of Runeterra.
Besides mobile games, don’t be surprised that PC gaming also has an abundance of free-to-play games. Iconic MOBA games such as DOTA and League of Legends are great games that you’ll find yourself sinking hours into without knowing it’s already 3am.
For shooters, there are Warframe and Destiny 2 for those who enjoy the sci-fi genre. Futuristic battle royale, Apex Legends and the latest competitive 5v5 Valorant are also amongst the top shooter games being played at the moment and are completely free with battle pass premiums.
Want to invest in something a little more long-term? Massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) might be what you’re looking for and some of the best titles are free-to-play. Path of Exile is a great action RPG game and an alternative you can play to sustain the wait before Diablo IV and sci-fi fans can also surround themselves in the immersive galactic tales of Star Wars: The Old Republic or explore space in EVE Online. Classic 2D charm, Maple Story or Guild Wars 2 with an upcoming new expansion are also worth considering to get back into.
Free Trials / Demos
Following up free-to-play games are free trials and demos! A method that isn’t new, free demos are a traditional way for publishers to give players a taste of what their games are about before they make their purchases. While it doesn’t give you long hours of gameplay like the rest, it’s still a great way for you to test out some of the latest games available.
Since we were talking about free MMORPGs, Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft are probably two of the biggest titles in this genre that have always been welcoming to new players. While they are subscription-based, they offer free trials until a certain level and it’s worth a try, especially for Final Fantasy XIV where you can play through the base game until level 60! A bonus mention, Black Desert which has a 30-day trial might be worth a check as well.
One of the latest third-person shooter games under the same publisher as Final Fantasy XIV (Square Enix), Outriders is also available for a free demo on most of its platforms and it should guarantee roughly three hours of gameplay.
Demos for PlayStation and Xbox will probably require you to subscribe to their memberships to gain access to these free trials.
For PC gamers, Steam is the ultimate platform for you to find a whole lot of demos to play. Whether it’s the new dodgeball game Knockout City or more indie titles such as Until We Die or Factorio, there’s a huge list of games you can filter according to your type of gameplay and you’ll probably be unable to finish them all.
That said, Epic Games has been roping in tons of new users thanks to its generosity toward the gaming community and they are exemplary in giving out free games or trials.
Epic Games have been doing what no other platforms have been able to do, that is to provide players with free games monthly and with the amount of money they’re putting in for that, you know for sure the titles will only get bigger.
They have already given out big titles in the past like Alien Isolation, Civilization VI, Grand Theft Auto V and ARK: Survival Evolved, so make sure you’re registered with an account and keep a lookout for free games every month.
Don’t forget to check out their Epic Games MEGA Sale 2021 which you can redeem a US$10 coupon right off the bat and get NBA 2K21 completely free!
Lastly, we have GOG.com which has plenty of retro games to check out. Retro means it often runs brilliantly on aging systems but will still be able to give you heaps of fun. Ultima will taken up plenty of time easily.
Now that we’ve shared a few of our favourite ways to keep gaming at a low cost, it’s time for you to try them out and see which is the best for you!