Microsoft recently announced a new version of Xbox One, called the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. This new digital-only console places the emphasis on value, and while you can pick up some of the older best Xbox One games (and some of the best Xbox One accessories) at bargain prices, there's no better time to check out the best free Xbox One games to play right now. There's no bigger, or better, free Xbox One game than Fortnite - although EA's recently released free-to-play shooter Apex Legends might disagree - and others genres include classic beat-em-ups like Killer Instinct, card games like Witcher spin-off Gwent, and life-devouring sci-fi shooters like Warframe, all vying for your time. If you're watching your wallet, there's a game to suit all tastes that can be enjoyed with spending a dime; especially if you're prepared to be patient when unlocking what the game has to offer.
- The best Xbox One bundles in 2019 (and where to buy them)
- Here are the top Xbox One X bundle deals for 4K-hungry players
- The upcoming Xbox One games for 2019 and beyond
- The very best Xbox One accessories to accompany your console
Free games are happy to take your money, of course. Most free (or F2P) games make their living from in-app purchases for in-game money, loot boxes, cosmetic items (like Fortnite's outfits, pets, dances, emotes etc) and more. These micro-transactions can range from a dollar up to 100 dollars or more, with F2P games often funded by cash-rich players know as 'whales', who'll invest hundreds (or thousands) buying every last item, acquiring skills or trying to unlock the game faster. All of our best free Xbox One games below offer a balanced experience, with plenty to enjoy without spending a dime; yet with plenty to unlock for gamers with more generous budgets, who perhaps don't have the same amount of free time.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds might have the hype but Fortnite might (whisper it) be the better game. Okay, it's derivative as all hell - adding on a PUBG-aping Battle Royale mode to an already existing F2P co-op game - but in doing so it created a slicker, more polished take on the source material. The rules are basically the same, hell the game is basically the same - parachute into an island with 99 other people and then scavenge gear, weapons and fight to be the last man standing. Don't let it's bright, more cartoony presentation put you off either as it's just as lethal and quick to end as the source material.
In-game purchases: In-game V-bucks currency, as well as access to a single player PvE campaign, in-game banner icons, Loot Pinata packs. Prices range from £7.99/$9.99 to £119.99/$149.99.
EA's free-to-play shooter came from nowhere to challenge Fortnite's dominance of the free-to-play battle royale genre in early February 2019, reaching over 50 million players by the end of its first month. The furore has died down a little, but Apex Legends is home to a vibrant community, thanks to a responsive, squad-based shooter with amiable characters, and clearly-defined skill classes. It's developed by Respawn Entertainment, of mech-shooter Titanfall fame, who are also working on the anticipated single player adventure, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. EA's 60-player shooter recently received its first battle pass in March, alongside a new playable character, Octane, an agile, speed-demon.
In-game purchases: You don't need to spend any money to enjoy Apex Legends: the game starts with two thirds of the characters unlocked, and you can access the rest via extended play. The game does offer three currencies: 1) Crafting Metals 2) Legend Tokens and 3) Apex Coins - the latter is the only one you purchase for real money. The least you can buy is 1000 Apex Coins for $9.99, which is enough to pay for a legend for 750, with 250 coins to spare. Apex Packs are basically loot boxes, and cost around 100 Apex Coins, with a 100% chance of getting one Rare item, or better.
Fallout Shelter's wasteland meets The Sims shouldn't be so addictive but, somehow, running your own vault can eat up time like nobody's business. It starts with the basics: building the facilities you need to keep people alive - power, food water etc - and then assigning settlers to run it all. Before long though you're sending people out on missions, fighting off raiders, dressing up pets and more. It's all free to play but it can be quiet hard to resist spending some money on Lunch Boxes - the in-game loot that gives you stat boosting settlers, outfits and more.
In-game purchases: In-game money, Nuka Cola boosters, pets, settlers, outfits and more. Prices start at £0.79/$0.99.
Think 'free Overwatch' and you're basically there. It's a team-based objective focused shooter full of strange and colourful characters. The classes are built around clear roles. with the Front Line class made to control objectives and provide support. The Damage class is obviously all about hurting enemies, while Support are about offensive and defensive back up, and and Flank fight from a distance. Just working through the 30 plus characters currently included will give you plenty to do. Especially with the card based system used to tweak and adjust their load outs. But, chances are, once you've done that you'll have a good grasp of the gameplay and want more. Match involve objectives, like taking zones and escorting payloads so this is very much about characters working together.
In-game purchases: Various bundles and pack including in game currency, XP boosters, loot chests, mounts and skins. Prices range from £3.99/$4.99 to £39.99/$49.99.
Thanks to regular updates, Warframe has attracted a hardcore community, and the game’s blend of gravity-defying melee attacks and boisterous sci-fi blasting are unlike anything else out there. Best of all, despite being free-to-play, even the most frugal firefight fans can enjoy breakneck multiplayer without ever prying open their change purses. If you’re feeling flush you can buy some Platinum on the Xbox Store, but you don’t spend all your pennies on sci-fi bling to enjoy Warframe - the pleasure of zipping about with its somersaulting stars is gratifying enough as is. Whether diving into quest-driven PVE action or dabbling in competitive deathmatches, Warframe always feels like its own unique entity. The maps are also brilliantly varied, including Pluto, the Moon, the dwarf planets of Ceres and Sedna. With so many different types of Warframe armour and weapons to pick from, plus numerous ways to slice and dice foes, there are hundreds of hours of entertainment here for the grand price of absolutely nothing.
In-game purchases: Various bundles and pack including in game currency, Affinity (XP) boosters, loot chests, weapons and armour. Prices range from £3.99/$4.99 to £109.99/$149.99.
If you've played The Witcher 3 then you know Gwent. If not then it's a deceptively simple card game that uses skill and luck to place enemies, attacks and effects on a board to defeat your opponent. It originally started as a little extra thing to do in the main game but got so popular that... well, here we are.
It's additive draw comes from what initially seems like luck based play - you places cards for enemies or abilities in rows that affect their impact. However, while so much seems to be left to chance it's not long before you start to see how combinations and plays can pull the odds in your favour. It's currently in open beta so expect it to change (and hopefully improve even more) with time.
In-game purchases: Card kegs that give you five random cards to build out your deck. £2.49/$2.99 to £49.24/$42.49
World of Tanks
Subtlety is so overrated. Especially when it comes to tanks. Who needs nuanced scuffles when you could be taking part in 15v15 Panzer battles? World Of Tanks is an uncomplicated, furious multiplayer concoction. With more than 400 armoured vehicles and six game types, there’s an outrageous amount of content here for the princely sum of nothing. Is Wargaming’s online blast-‘em-up intimidating at first? Well, yes. But
persist and you’ll be rewarded with muscular vehicular slaughter that’s never short on spectacle. You can pay for the Premium Starter Pack, giving you a million in Silver to splurge on new tanks, but really, you can enjoy World Of Tanks without spending a single dime. If you’re short on funds and want to know what would prevail in a battle between Poland’s proud T-34-85 and the Hungarian might of the Turán III prototípus - and hey, we won’t judge if you are - this is your game.
In-game purchases: Currency, vehicles, weapons and gear from £1.99/$3 to £76.00/$104
You may already think you're a god at highly competitive multiplayer games - but what kind of god? Greek? Egyptian? Norse? These are but a few of the mythologies represented by the gigantic roster in Smite, a MOBA played from a behind-the-back third-person perspective that puts you at ground level for all that sweet minion-slaying, kill-spreeing action. The primary mode is the classic 5v5 on a three-lane map, but there a wealth of additional modes and maps to try out.
Like any MOBA, Smite comes with a cycling rotation of free-to-try heroes, and earning your favorites for keeps is simply a matter of some moderate time invested. Smite's cartoony visual style and often flashy, sometimes goofy animations are certainly appealing, and the sheer variety of its deity selections ensures that you'll find a god of your own to master and/or worship. If you do feel like plunking money down, there's even an option to buy every god, now and forever, that has been and ever will be added to the game.
In-game purchases: in-game currency and character unlocks from £3.59/$4/99 £21.19/$29.99
This unfussy MMO/RPG hybrid ticks many essential boxes. Firstly, it’s free - otherwise it wouldn’t be on this list. Secondly, it lets you ride a gigantic beetle as a mount… though admittedly, you have to pay for that privilege with Zen, Neverwinter’s in-game currency that costs real money. If you’re not overly precious about buying cosmetic upgrades, however, or proudly sitting on the back of an massive crab, this online fantasy is charming. Controls work well on a pad, and combat wisely focuses on arcadey slashing, rather than restrained, turn-based battles. The world won’t amaze you with its sprawl – at times, Neverwinter feels a little boxy and linear – and the community isn’t exactly that lively, but its fantasy fisticuffs are endearing nonetheless. Getting to the level-60 cap will also take ages, meaning you’re getting a whole lot of bang for precisely zero bucks.
In-game purchases: in game money, items, mounts weapons and more from £3.99/$4.99 to £114.99/$199.00
Airmech Arena ticks all the transformers boxes by letting you play as a massive robot that can seamlessly contort itself into a tank. A good start. This weird little MOBA/tower defence title boasts admirably flexible robot warriors and some of the most darling support units you’ll find on Xbox – even the T45 turrets are cute. With a reasonably beefy 15-level single-player offering, and tactically sharp 3v3 online encounters, there’s a lot of free fuel in AirMech’s tanks. Any mech or unit that can affect gameplay can be unlocked by grinding for in-game Kudos, with developer Carbon Games sensibly deciding cosmetic upgrades should be the only items that must be bought with the premium Diamonds currency. It’s a decision that means this likable MOBA never feels like a seedy ‘pay-to-win’ game, and all players have an even chance, regardless of how much they’ve spent.
In-game purchases: in game money and items form £3.99/$4.99 to £89.99/£149.99.
DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online spent much of its early days as a PS3 and PS4 exclusive. After Sony Online Entertainment became Daybreak Game Company, this highly-acclaimed MMORPG made its way over to Xbox One, and it brought with it years of additional story content, quests, and more.
You'll create your own superhero or villain, developing your background, costume, fighting style, mentor, and other options during the character creation process. Once you finish the tutorial, you're loosed into the world where you can explore Gotham City, Metropolis, and Central City, join the Justice League or The Society, and take on quests dished out by your favorite DC Universe characters. Combat is far more dynamic than your typical toolbar-laden MMO, too, often feeling more like an honest-to-God action game. If you're a fan of DC Comics and you're looking for a way to immerse yourself in its world, DC Universe Online is easily one of the best options out there.
In-game purchases: in game money and monthly subscriptions from £3.99/$4.99 to £59.99/$89.99.
Think all Mech games are slow and cumbersome? Oh, and do you think they cost money? Nah, they don't. Hawken is a brutally fast, aggressive shooter, and free-to-play on Xbox One. Sure, it may not be quite as slick as Titanfall 2, but it's pure focus on mech-on-mech war makes it a very different proposition most of the time. Sure, there are free-to-play elements, which allow you to customise and enhance your towering metal exoskeleton, but its entirely possible to be competitive without it. See, Hawken uses a 'free-to-not-grind' system - you can choose to unlock all the game's content for a fee, or you can play for hours to unlock it for nothing. The only stuff you can't get through playing is cosmetic items. It's one of the better, livelier free games on Xbox, so well worth a (giant robot) punt.
In game purchases: in game money and character unlocks from £3.99/$4.99 to £44.99/$49.99.
Dead or Alive 5
Dead or Alive 5 is a bummer conceptually speaking. When you look at the in-game store and realize it would take well over $1000 to purchase a complete version of the game with every costume, character, and feature unlocked, it can feel like the absolute nadir of free-to-play game making. Play just the free version of the game, though, and you'll realize that Dead or Alive 5 doesn't need to be a complete game to actually be a good one. The simple but deep rock-paper-scissor structure of DOA's fights, where blocks counter strikes and throws counter blocks, creates a delicious base for the pyrotechnics layered on top of them. All of DOA's base characters are fun to swing around an arena on their own, no ridiculous and overpriced downloadable Christmas bikinis necessary.
In game purchases: costumes packs from free to £61.99/$92.99.
The revival of classic fighting franchise Killer Instinct was a pleasant surprise when it was revealed by Microsoft prior to the Xbox One launch. The fact it also happens to be a rock-solid fighting game that manages to stand apart from its competition thanks to its unique handling of c-c-c-c-combos is nothing short of astounding.
Throughout the years, Killer Instinct has continued to evolve and be refined, with balance tweaks and an influx of new fighters making it feel like a living experience where you can always find something worth checking out. And while the full experience will cost you some dough, you can still enjoy unlimited bouts with a selection of free fighters, who are rotated in and out on a regular basis.
In-game purchases: in game money, skins and character unlocks from £0.79/$0.99 to £31.99/$39.99