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The best free games on the Xbox One

Xbox One Free to Play

Considering how much money is being generated by games like Clash of Clans and Game of War, it’s no surprise that free-to-play games are starting to proliferate on consoles. While we’ve all done our fair share of groaning about the nickel-and-diming that’s so common on the App Store and Google Play, there’s a lot to like about the free-to-play model when handled properly.

The PC has F2P games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, and they’re some of the most popular games in existence. Clearly, this is more than just a passing fad, and console devs are dying to get in on some of that sweet F2P cashflow. So let’s jump in, and explore what the free-to-play model has to offer the average Xbox One owner.



Multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) are incredibly popular these days, but most of them require a keyboard and mouse to stay competitive. Smite aims at taking the core concepts from a MOBA, and making it fit the console experience. Instead of a bird’s eye view, the camera is over the shoulder. And instead of point-and-click controls, you have direct control over your character. As it turns out, that works surprisingly well.

For $ 30, you can instantly unlock all current and future god characters in the game. If you find yourself spending a lot of time playing Smite, that seems like a smart purchase. Alternately, you can spend anywhere from $ 8 to $ 100 on gems, but I’m hesitant to recommend doing so.

World of Tanks

World of Tanks

If tank combat is your jam, World of Tanks is exactly what you need. Jump into 30-person online skirmishes, and explore what tank warfare is all about. With different historical tanks from around the world, even the most finicky of tank enthusiasts will find something to love. And since this is compatible with the Xbox 360 version of the game, you can play along with friends (and enemies) who haven’t invested in the current generation just yet.

You can snag a premium starter pack for $ 20, and kick off your game with a T2 tier II light tank. However, they’re also selling in-game currency for $ 25, $ 39, and $ 75. To me, that seems like way too much to spend on this game, but I could definitely see hardcore tank hobbyists investing some serious cash here.

AirMech Arena

AirMech Arena

Real-time strategy games have traditionally been PC-focused, but we’ve seen numerous excellent attempts at representing that genre on consoles. Red Alert 3 and Halo Wars worked surprisingly well on controllers, so it’s no surprise that AirMech Arena has made its way to the Xbox One. And truth be told, it’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely more limited than something like StarCraft II, but this snappy little game is worth playing for fans of the genre.

If you’re having fun, I’d recommend spending $ 10 for the starter pack. You’ll get a decent number of bonuses, and you can feel good about supporting the developer. However, buying the $ 150 Ultimate Diamond Bundle seems bonkers to me.

Magic Duels

Magic Duels

If collectible card games are closer to your speed, Magic Duels is a good place to start. Set in the popular universe of Magic: The Gathering, this installment is available on iOS, Steam, and the Xbox One. And since you can either earn gold by playing the game, or by simply spending real money, this is a perfect entry point for players new to the Magic setting — a very small barrier to entry. Better yet, Wizards of the Coast is promising a massive update in the near future, so you’ll have loads of new cards to collect.

Next page: Shooters, fighters, MMOs and ultimate creativity

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