The age of free online gaming is now upon us. It is remarkable how much progress has been made in the free online gaming market in the past five or so years. Earlier this decade when people heard “free game” horrible images of freeware games made by college kids in their spare time came to mind, games that looked like early 1980s PC RPG betas. No longer. Today there are literally dozens of free to play games in almost every genre. Maple Story alone, a free to play 2D MMORPG released in 2003, now boasts over 56 million accounts worldwide 1. Just in case you’re wondering, that blows World of Warcraft with its 10 million users out of the water. While MMORPGs are the most common genre of free gaming, there are free games in every field. Shot Online and Albatross18 are both free golfing games with a level of depth rarely found in the retail golfing market. Games like GunZ: The Duel, Wolf Team, War Rock, and Soldier Front offer FPS experiences ranging from frag fests to tactical team coordinated matches. Its difficult to think of a genre that isn’t covered. There are several excellent free racing games such as the simple yet realistic racer Project Torque. If you want something more immersing, look no further than the hybrid Racing/RPG game Drift City which has several fully explorable cities filled with side missions and places to explore with graphics similar to the retail Grand Theft Auto games. If you like to mix rocket launchers with your racers, the free market delivers; Upshift Strikeracer is all about rockets, mines, and other nasty weapons to blow the other players out of the race. Even traditional sports are covered. Freestyle Street Basketball is a simple yet addictive game where each match lasts five minutes, perfect for the casual player. If you’re a soccer fan than try Kicks Online.
I’ve mentioned only a fraction of the free to play games available and it almost feels like a crime to have left out such great games as Fly For Fun, Exteel, Gunbound, and the dozens of other games now accessible by anyone with an Internet connection. Now, dear reader, you must be convinced that we are now entering the age of free gaming, but I have one more shock for you. This is only the beginning. Even as I write this there are dozens of top quality games in beta testing either here in America or in Japan and Korea. Beautiful games like Neosteam and a Gundam MMO are in the works. The list of free online games available and under construction is in the hundreds. Many former pay to play games have been liberated from their monthly fees. Archlord, RF Online, Savage, Anarchy Online, and Shadow Bane are now available to the masses for free. Surely this is a trend that will continue.