It feels like there are an unlimited number of video games to play right now, but not everyone has the luxury of an unlimited bank account. However, some of the most popular games in the world don’t require you to purchase the game itself; their developers earn their money from in-game purchases like cosmetics and battle passes.
There are still plenty of free games to play, so we’ve put together a list of the biggest and best free games that have had a monumental year in 2021.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
There are plenty of free games to play on Steam, but no game has been able to keep its place at the top like CS: GO. In 2021, the game averaged a Steam high of 613,530 players, which is higher than most popular game highs like Apex Legends, GTA V, and Destiny 2. From January through April, the game recorded its third, fourth, fifth and sixth highest monthly averages of all time, just behind April and May 2020.
CS: GO also surpassed one million peak players each month this year from January to May. The only other game on Steam to even approach the peak million players this year was New world during its launch month, with 913,027 players reported at its highest time.
Fortnite is still one of the biggest games of the year in terms of player base and number of streams, and the amount of content in the game is just as massive. Battle Royale mode continues to be a popular choice for gamers, and its creative modes really allow the player base to explore fun ways to keep the game interesting.
If you’ve been away from the game for a while, now is probably the best time to come back to it with the start of Chapter Three. With a new island, game mechanics like sliding and camping, weapons, and a battle pass filled with items to earn including a Spider-Man costume, Fortnite does not slow down in any case.
League of Legends
League of Legends is still the most popular esport in the world, and it punctuated that with record numbers during the 2021 iteration of the Worlds. As a game, it still has a huge fan base dedicated to mastering champions and pushing towers. It is so popular that it spawned a mobile version in Savage rift, a card game in Legends of Runeterra, an automatic fighter in Team combat tactics, and now a hit Netflix series in Esoteric.
The game has a huge pool of champions, but luckily for new players you can earn champions at a very fast rate only through the first set of missions and the currency you earn.
For years, Riot Games had only one game under its banner in League, but that all changed with the development of Project A, now known as the popular multiplayer shooter that is VALUING. The heart of the game is familiar to fans of CS: GO, but it stands out for its impressive and dazzling collection of agents with their own special abilities.
VALUING continues to grow as a whole, with a level of constant freshness and change that can be seen as lacking in CS: GO. Along with new Agents, the Riot team has added new maps, weapon and ability changes, and game modes, as well as an extensive collection of cosmetics. It was VALUINGis its first full year, and 2022 could be even bigger.
- Call of Duty: War Zone
- Apex Legends
- Destiny 2
- Dota 2
- Infinite halo multiplayer