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THE BEST FREE PC GAMES

There was a time when “free-to-play” was a dirty term in the games industry. There are still terrible, exploitative free-to-play games on the market—more every day, in fact. But occasionally—occasionally—we get something…miraculous. We get a free-to-play game that doesn’t try to con players out of money or make the design intentionally boring in order to make those purchasable unlocks more exciting.

Here, you’ll find a list of games so good the developers could’ve charged money (or, in some cases, did charge) before going free-to-play. These aren’t just good free-to-play games, they’re good games, full stop.

1. FORTNITE

Last time we updated this list, we had to specifically refer to “Fortnite: Battle Royale” to distinguish it from its horde-mode predecessor. I hardly think that’s necessary now.

In the ensuing year, Fortnite’s become the largest game in the world, boasting 250 million registered accounts and a peak of 10.8 million concurrent players. It’s so big, it forced Sony to consider crossplay between the PlayStation and other platforms. It hosted a virtual concert attended by millions. It even earned enough to allow Epic to open its own Steam competitor, and dole out plenty of money for exclusive games on top. It’s a force of nature.

And it’s still going. Epic continues to update the game at a prodigious rate, changing the map, the guns, the skins, the emotes, the core mechanics, basically everything on a regular basis. At its core Fortnite is still a battle royale with a building component, but Epic’s live-service treatment is the real story here.

2. APEX LEGENDS

For a while it seemed like the battle royale genre had cemented around Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, and that no newcomer could break through. Then Respawn surprise-released  in February and it became an overnight success.

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