The best free Xbox games January 2023

If you're looking to play good games on your Xbox but you don't want to spend anything on them, then check out our best free Xbox games guide

Free Xbox games: A spartan stands in Halo Infinite

Videogames are an expensive hobby. Too expensive, let’s be honest, to be able to drop a day’s wages on something your friends tell you is amazing, but actually turns out to be so bad it deserves to be buried in the desert by a JCB and left to rot in the sands of time. We all know the best price is free, and if you don’t like it, all you’ve wasted is some hard drive space that can be quickly recovered, which is why this list of the best free Xbox games exists.

Free-to-play games used to come with a stigma of being just not very good, but the best free Xbox games on this list are all pretty great. You no longer have to spend that cold, hard moolah to have some fun. Sure, the titles on this list aren’t exactly the best Xbox Series X games out there, but they still offer hours worth of fun and that’s what matters, right?

These are the best free Xbox games: 

  • Halo Infinite
  • Call of Duty Warzone 2
  • Overwatch 2
  • Rocket League
  • Fortnite
  • Apex Legends
  • Destiny 2
  • The Sims 4
  • MultiVersus
  • Enlisted
  • PUBG: Battlegrounds
  • Smite
  • Warframe
  • War Thunder
  • Fallout Shelter
  • Path of Exile

Best free Xbox games: Several spartans line up in Halo Infinite

1. Halo Infinite

Microsoft’s classic space shooter has returned, and this time it has free-to-play multiplayer — nice. With the series’ return comes a return of its arena-style combat with a whole host of game modes. From casual play and Big Team Battle to full-on Halo Infinite ranked play, there is absolutely loads on offer in Halo Infinite.

Those who are a bit fed up of the last few years of twitch shooting dominance will find Infinite’s fun, slower-paced action refreshing. Chunk down enemies’ shields with energy weapons before delivering the Magnum’s coup de grace never felt so good. Or, the one-hit-kill melee from behind. Wonderful.

Best free Xbox games: Ghost readies his sniper in Warzone 2

2. Warzone 2

Warzone 2 is back with a new and improved format. The original game took the battle royale formula from progenitors like PUBG, Firestorm, and Fortnite, then perfected the formula by adding a Call of Duty twist in the form of loadouts. It’s arguably a better version of Call of Duty multiplayer, with weapons taken from multiplayer and then mashed with Warzone’s modern-day-type story and setting.

150 players parachute into a large map — be that in solo, duo, trio, or quad queue — but only one team can be victorious. You loot and scavenge your way across the terrain, pursued by other players and an ever-closing circle of doom trying to kill you.

To survive, you’re going to want to pick up the best Warzone 2 guns and best Warzone 2 loadouts.

Best free Xbox games: two Overwatch 2 heroes duke it out on a map

3. Overwatch 2

The sequel to the hero shooter has arrived and this time it’s free-to-play. It still features the same team-based shooting mechanics that you came to love in the first game, with a few small tweaks.

It’s not a massively different game at its core, but it still offers plenty of fun, especially if you want to take on the challenge of mastering several heroes on our Overwatch 2 tier list.

Best free Xbox games: Two rocket-powered cars fly in for the ball in Rocket League

4. Rocket League

If you thought football games were fun, then how about a football game set in a large walled-in arena, but where the players are cars and the ball is the size of a house?

Rocket League’s main 3v3 mode pits two teams against each other in a bid to score as many goals before the match ends. Oh, and the cars have rockets attached to them and can jump, meaning you can fly around and do all kinds of crazy tricks. The skill ceiling is huge, and pro play in the Rocket League ranks will probably boggle your mind after you see the manoeuvres that can be pulled off with Rocket League’s cars.

That’s also why it’s moreish. There’s nothing like the world around you blurring as you hurtle back towards your goal with your thrusters on, just making it there in time to throw yourself in front of the goal line, blocking the onrushing enemy’s shot. Then, there’re the times you get that perfect lob shot from the other end of the pitch. Get it on download now.

Best free Xbox games: The Rock in Fortnite

5. Fortnite

Can you believe that Fortnite once had a campaign? At this point, it has become one of the most quintessential battle royale games, but don’t let the gaudy graphics fool you, Fortnite’s gameplay offers a lot of depth. Drop in alone or in a team, and scavenge the best Fortnite weapons and resources in a bid to survive with an ever-decreasing circle chasing you down.

In Fortnite, however, you have to also mine materials like wood and metal because you can actually build using these materials. Floors, walls, windows, and more can all be quickly erected anywhere in the world, meaning that when you start taking fire from other players, the norm is to stick up as many walls and ramps as fast as possible for cover.

By the end of a game of Fortnite, it’s not uncommon to see a horizon of wonky skyscrapers exploding as the remnants of the server duke it out.

Best free Xbox games: Rampart holds a gun while blowing bubbles in Apex Legends

6. Apex Legends

Yes, this is another battle royale; no, it isn’t just a clone of the others. The brilliant thing about Apex Legends is that it is part of the Titanfall universe, which means it’s set in a futuristic world where individuals compete in a combat arena to become Apex Champions.

Apex Legends might play similarly to other battle royales, but before you drop in, you have to select a character from a roster of distinct characters who each have their own unique abilities. Finding the right composition of these characters is the only way you’re going to climb the Apex Legends ranks.

Best free Xbox games: three Guardians in Destiny 2

7. Destiny 2

Bungie’s looter-shooter Destiny 2 used to be a paid-for experience, but now the core game is available free-to-play for all. Don’t be put off by how long the game has been out, Destiny 2 still has a huge and dedicated player base. It combines the great feeling first-person shooting Bungie is known for with story missions, strikes, and raids seen in more traditional MMOs.

The best thing about Destiny 2 is that it never ends. As a live-service game, it constantly receives updates and expansions that add more and more content for you to while away the hours on. Bungie’s game will be right up your alley if you love embracing the grind, chasing that high you get when you finally get that hard-won rare drop.

Just make sure you’re wearing the best Destiny 2 armor when you do those raids, though.

Best free Xbox games: several Sims talk to one another in The Sims 4

8. The Sims 4

It’s been nearly a decade since The Sims 4 was released into the wild, but with all eyes on The Sims 5 release date, EA decided to make The Sims 4 free-to-play.

With plenty of pre-built houses to move into and lots to build onto, the possibilities for The Sims 4 are endless, giving you hours and hours of fun at your fingertips. If you’d rather play God and throw a pool party without ladders, then you can do that too – we’re not your boss.

Just remember that only the base game is free, though. So if you want to dabble in the DLC, you’ll have to buy those.

Best free Xbox games: Bugs Bunny and the princess from Frozen talk in MultiVersus

9. Multiversus

MultiVersus is arguably one of the best fighting games out there. With characters from childhood cartoons, it is not only a throwback, but a good time too.

With Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, and Harley Quinn from the DC Universe, there’s no end to the amount of battles you can have online or against friends at home.

And while everyone has their favourites, we’d recommend using someone from the top of our MultiVersus tier list.

Best free Xbox games: a soldier walks in front of a tank in Enlisted

10. Enlisted

A multiplayer World War 2 shooter with a focus on team play, Enlisted is great for those looking for their original Call of Duty or Battlefield 1942 fix. You can either play against players only, or you can hop in a game mode that allows each player to command their own historically accurate squad.

As you gain XP and level up your squads, you can spend the resources you gain in-game to outfit them with better weapons, more soldiers, and more equipment. But the battle isn’t limited to just infantry; tanks, aircraft, and other vehicles are all available, meaning if you’re more of a dogfighter you can outfit your plane with cannons or bombs and take to the skies.

There’s nothing like listening to the screech of your Stuka as you dive-bomb the enemy trying to capture objectives your team holds.

Best free Xbox games: a man wearing a level three helmet in PUBG holds a gun

11. PUBG: Battlegrounds

PUBG: Battlegrounds is famous for having its roots first as a mod, then being developed into a full standalone release that you had to buy, but now it’s free. PUBG is a battle royale that overlaps other titles like Apex Legends and Fortnite, but it plays much slower than both.

If you enjoy realistic combat and weapons, and the nuances like bullet drop that go with it, then PUBG might be your game. You’ll find yourself stuffing your combat gear full of all kinds of assault rifle magazines and grenades, as well as bandages and medkits.

When you do finally put down the loot and venture outside of your hidey-hole, your reward might just be the single sniper shot that ends your game.

Best free Xbox games: several creatures fight one another in Smite

12. Smite

Imagine a MOBA where you actually control your character in third-person, attacking and using abilities like an action game. Now, imagine that all the characters are gods – real historical and mythological gods from past cultures, like Zeus or Aphrodite. Combine these two aspects and you have Smite.

Smite has stand-out level design, and the third-person camera gives players the ability be crept up upon, making assassins all the more lethal in the jungle as you don’t have a top-down camera like in most other games of this ilk. There’s something freeing about being in direct control of your in-game avatar, and playing as your favourite deities adds a unique angle on a crowded genre.

There’s nothing like hunting down your prey as the bow-wielding Artemis and summoning your good friend the Calydonian Boar to mangle your enemies in their tracks.

Best free Xbox games: two Warframe characters fully decked out in lavish armour

13. Warframe

A fast-paced online action game, Warframe is a slick and stylish third-person shooter that is designed to be played at lightning-fast speeds as you dive, dash, and slide across the game’s levels, switching from shooting guns to up close and personal slasher combat on the fly.

Did we mention that a warframe is actually a big mech suit that covers your entire body making you a walking metal death-machine badass?

Part story-driven experience and part online looter-shooter, Warframe is Destiny on speed. The game is constantly being updated too, and it has added things like ship-to-ship space battles over the years. Grab some friends or squadmates, tackle co-op missions, and get those rewards in order to customise your warframe even further.

Best free Xbox games: A tank fires at planes in War Thunder

14. War Thunder

War Thunder started out as an online multiplayer aviation combat game where players started with some ratty old biplanes that had some guy firing a belt-fed machine gun from the backseat and slowly bought and upgraded new planes with in-game currency. It has since evolved into a game where players can also drive tanks and crew ships too.

There are all kinds of different game modes, from straight dogfights to objective-based gameplay where you have to brave the AI anti-air flak to bomb airfields and important strategic locations, dodging defending enemy fighters. Now, players can control tanks, planes, and ships simultaneously in one large combined-arms battlefield.

Best free Xbox games: Two Vault Dwellers embrace in Fallout Shelter

15. Fallout Shelter

If you’re a Fallout fan who’s played Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, then it might be worth checking out Fallout Shelter. It’s a Vault management simulator with stylish animated graphics, and puts you in charge of keeping vault dwellers happy and alive – or not.

You’ll come to personally know each of your underground denizens as the game goes on, and you’ll be responsible for expanding your underground fallout vault with new rooms, managing the community, and even sending some of them to the peril of the wasteland above to find what loot they can for the vault.

Best free Xbox games: three sorceresses in PAth of Exile

16. Path of Exile

Those with a hankering for Diablo-like action will likely find lots to love in similar fantasy RPG Path of Exile. The game’s expansive and gritty world of Wraeclast is where you’ll while away the hours, tackling its lengthy campaign solo or with friends, and then inevitably spend more time trying out different builds and equipment.

But it goes far beyond that. Path of Exile has a deep skill tree and character customisation system, and it has an almost never ending amount of content to sink your teeth into. There’s also PVP available, as well as different classes, sub classes, and skills for that added replayability factor.

Even though this list is about the best free Xbox games, if you’re one of the lucky few who nabbed one of the newest consoles you might be interested in the best Xbox Series X games. Or, you might be inclined to wonder how you can pick up even more games that are almost as good as free – and that’s with Xbox Game Pass.

You can read our Xbox Game Pass list to find out everything that’s available there, but it’s worth noting that while you will have to fork out some dough, you’re more than getting your money’s worth as the service regularly adds hundreds of dollars worth of new titles every month.

And they said Xbox has no games.