As of 2021, Steam had a catalog of over 34,000 games with over 132 million subscribers.
In this article, I will explore some of the best free multiplayer games available on Steam.
Let’s get started.
1. Dota 2
Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Valve and launched in 2013. Part of the Dota series of games, the game has been received well by players worldwide for its amazing graphics, challenging levels, and multiplayer features.
Dota 2 mostly pits two teams of five players against each other, with each group defending their base on a wide map.
Players control powerful characters called Heroes that have different abilities. Players fight one-on-one battles with each other, and the team that destroys their opponent’s base wins the game.
Dota 2 can be played on Windows, OS X, and Linux.
Better known as CS: GO in gaming circles, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was created and released by Valve for Windows, Xbox 360, OS X, and PlayStation 3 in 2012, with the Linux version coming in 2014.
Like most multiplayer games on this list, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is played by two teams, Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists, across nine game modes.
The most played mode usually involves the Terrorist faction planting bombs and taking hostages while the Counter-Terrorist group moves in to rescue hostages and diffuse the bombs.
The game is one of the most popular ones on Steam, with an average of 11 million players per month.
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3. Apex Legends
Apex Legends is one of my favorite games I routinely play on my PS5, and it features impressive graphics that make it immersive and realistic. The game was developed by Respawn Entertainment, published by EA, and released to the public in 2019.
You can play the game on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Android, and iOS. This high device compatibility is part of why the game has become so popular since people can play it anywhere at any time if they have devices with the right specs.
Apex Legends involves up to 20 squads of three players, each fighting one another across a safe zone that keeps shrinking. The game is won by the last-standing team that collects the most points without being caught in unsafe zones.
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Deceit is a little different from other games on this list that takes a different angle from the heavy shooting common with FTP games.
The player wakes up in a strange environment with five others, with about a third of the team infected with a deadly virus and tasked with taking down the non-infected players.
So, you have to stay alert and fight your way to a safe hatch that you can use to escape the infected. There are countless tools you have to pick on your way to safety that help you fight off the dangers that get thrown at you.
Deceit was released in 2017 by World Makers. There’s even a new version titled Deceit 2 in the works already.
Released in 2017 by Blue Mammoth Games, Brawlhalla is a multiplayer fighting game that can be played on macOS, PS4, Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Android, and iOS. It has millions of active monthly players who battle against each other across different game modes.
The main goal of the game is to knock an opponent outside safe zones called blast zones using different weapons and fighting styles. The game can be played online or offline and involves one-on-one matches or pit teams of players against each other.
But what makes Brawlhalla exciting is how simple the controls are, including one-button special moves, so you don’t have to be too skilled to enjoy the game.
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When it comes to battle royales, nobody does it better than PUBG: Battlegrounds. This ultimate multiplayer fighting game pits everyone against everyone, like a free-for-all battle buffet that lets people fully experiment with their skills.
Created in 2017, PUBG allows up to 100 players to fight against each other, with the last standing player declared the winner. Players can also join the game as a group with a maximum of four players. Furthermore, there are options for joining as a duo or solo player.
The game starts with players parachuting from a plane onto the fighting zone, and the battle begins the moment they land on the ground.
PUBG: Battlegrounds can be played on Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and Stadia.
Team Fortress 2 is a little older than most other entries on this list, as it has been around since 2007. It’s a multiplayer first-person shooter game part of an ongoing series following the first installment released in 1996.
Players can choose any of the nine available characters, each with unique strengths, skill sets, and weapons. There are also multiple game modes like King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, and Control Points, each with a different end game and point-rewarding system.
All you have to do is fight against other teams to defeat them and earn points or destroy their fort and capture their flag, depending on your playing mode.
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8. War Thunder
War Thunder was released by Gaijin Entertainment in 2013 for Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. The game is single and multiplayer, and this has expanded its popularity across the gaming community since its inception.
The game combines battles in the air, sea, and land with vehicles designed from the World War 1 and 2 eras. Most of the military gear is also based on the major militaries around the world, like the United States, the UK, Germany, and Japan.
Players can also choose from three main game modes: arcade, simulator, and realistic, each with varying degrees of difficulty.
All you need to do here is blow away as many enemies as possible while evading attacks, be it on land, the sea, or in the air.
9. Destiny 2
Destiny 2 is one of the creepiest games I’ve ever played, thanks to scary-looking aliens that ambush you when you least expect it.
This first-person shooter and multiplayer game was released in 2017 by Bungie and Activitions and has won several awards over the years for how immersive and challenging it is.
The game is set in a mythic fictional world with a free-roam patrol mode where the player explores dark structures with scary-looking alien creatures that attack on sight.
The players take on the role of the guardians and have to exterminate all the aliens using a wide range of weapons before they are swarmed and killed.
Destiny 2 is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows, and Stadia.
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This is a ninja game developed by Digital Extremes and released in 2013. It can be played on Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One Series X/S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Warframe is set in a future timeline where players control members of a race called the Tenno, who are ancient warriors that have just awoken from a 1000-year-long cryosleep without any memories of their past.
These warriors have to fight against a race called Grineer, composed of human clones built with metal and blood. The game is both single-player and multiplayer and has a series of challenging game modes that require great skill to maneuver through to the end.
Unturned is a survival game with graphics different from most of the games we’ve covered so far. It has a design similar to Minecraft or Roblox, but don’t let that make you think it’s inferior to the rest in any way.
Unturned consists of different game modes with challenging difficulty settings, and the main aim is for the player to find weapons and supplies in a huge infected zone and survive against an army of zombies.
Players can also create teams that fight each other and the zombies to increase their chances of survival. Unturned was released in 2014 and is available on Windows, macOS, Linus, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5.
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Crossout is another post-apocalyptic game created by Targem Games and launched by Gaijin Entertainment. It was released in 2016 for Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5.
Crossout is about assembling vehicles and equipping them with weapons and modules awarded throughout the game. You can then play against other players in one-on-one battles or against AI opponents, which is a lot more difficult.
The cars are not that immune from damage either; the armor, weapons, and wheels can be knocked off when hit, making movement hard and turning you into an easy target. So, you have to ensure you avoid getting hit at all costs.
13. Goose Goose Duck
Goose Goose Duck is another fun-filled game without the heavy artillery common in other options on this list. The cross-platform multiplayer game features bird characters that use a ship called the SS Mother Goose.
As the player, you have to cooperate with other characters on this ship to safely navigate a series of dangerous routes while keeping it in good condition.
Goose Goose Duck allows up to 16 players and can be played on Windows and macOS. Notable things players can do in the game include customizing their characters, the clothes they wear, and the weapons they use. Goose Goose Duck comes with multiple playing modes.
14. Tower of Fantasy
Tower of Fantasy is a 3D game where the player controls a customizable character of their choice and interacts with non-player characters throughout. The aim is to defeat different enemies that keep popping up as the player progresses in the game.
Common movements the player can pull off include sprinting, climbing, swimming, running, and jumping. They can also get and customize different vehicles to make their movements across their expansive world much easier and safer.
The game allows a maximum of four players per team, and they can play against other teams while still fighting common enemies along their journeys. Tower of Fantasy also has world bosses, the final strongest enemies, whom players must fight to win prizes and power-ups.
Tower of Fantasy can be played on Android, iOS, Windows, PS4, and PS5.
SMITE was created by Titan Forge Games and launched in 2014, and at the time of writing this, it can be played on Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Luna, and PS4. The multiplayer game features battle scenarios that can be played online.
It features a series of game modes like Conquest, where players choose to fight against the AI or other players. SMITE begins with players selecting a character, which can either be a god or a mythological figure.
Some popular characters include gods from ancient cultures like Babylonian, Chinese, Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, Mayan, Aztec, and Norse, just to mention a few.
The players are then placed into groups ranging from Guardian, Assassin, Hunter, Mage, or Warrior. SMITE players are awarded with weapons and power-ups that help them get a better advantage over their opponents.
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16. Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2 was released in 2022 as a follow-up to Overwatch, another amazing hero-shooter game that multiple players can play. The game can be played on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows, PS4, and PS5.
Players are split into two teams and must select a hero from a rich list of over 35 characters.
Each character has different roles; some are shooters, some are responsible for healing, and others provide support. This means the skill sets vary greatly, so there has to be a balance for the team to work.
Paladins: Champions of the Realm is the ultimate head-to-head battle game that will keep you busy without blinking from start to finish. The game was created by Evil Mojo Games and released in 2018 for Windows, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
The game is set in a fantasy medieval world called the Realm, filled with dragons, elves, dwarves, and a long list of fantastical creatures and races. The world is gripped in a war between two factions: the Magistrates and the Resistance.
Paladins allows up to five people to form one team where they support each other in taking down enemies and avoiding annihilation.
Challenging game modes like Siege, Onslaught, Ranked, and Deathmatch are immersive and entertaining enough to keep you hooked. Furthermore, players gain abilities the more they advance.
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Neverwinter is a free-to-play MMORPG created by Cryptic Studios in 2013 and can be played on Windows, Xbox One, and PS4.
The game is set in a city called Neverwinter that’s thrown into chaos after its Lord disappears. This war is triggered when different factions in the city try to gain control of the empty throne while at the same time, the dead are raised and used to attack the city.
The role of the players is to investigate the different sects to figure out the solution while trying to find the missing Lord to restore normalcy. Countless fantasy creatures in Neverwinter will keep even the most seasoned players on the edge of their seats.
19. Supremacy 1914
Supremacy 1914 was created in 2006 by BytroLabs, and it’s a military game that takes players back to World War I, where they battle against each other using some of the most iconic weapons that defined that era.
But the game is more than just about shooting and defeating your enemies; you have to strategize military plans, manage economies and budgets, and defend your zones and provinces against enemy ambushes.
Supremacy 1914 has won several awards; the standout one being Browser Game of the Year in 2009. It’s the simplest game on this list since you don’t need expensive gear like consoles. You just need a good internet connection and a reliable browser.
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20. Path of Exile
Developed by Grinding Gear Games in 2013, Path of Exile is set in a dark fantasy world with a government that exiles people to a dangerous continent called Wraeclast, where they must deal with many dangerous ancient gods.
Players take control of an exiled character from a list of seven. You can be a Ranger, Marauder, Duelist, Templar, Shadow, Witch, or Scion.
The main aim is to fight your way out of the exiled wasteland back to the land of the living called Oriath and to do this, you have to fight and defeat several powerful gods and other great evils.
Path of Exile can be played on Windows, Xbox One, PS4, and macOS.
21. PlanetSide 2
If you’re into space-themed games, PlanetSide 2 may offer the thrill you want. Developed by Rogue Planet Games, PLanetSide 2 is a massive multiplayer online first-person shooter set in an open-world environment with support for over 2,000 concurrent players.
PlanetSide 2 is fast-paced, and players can even teleport from one battle to another by using jump pads. The aim is for players to gain control of a planet called Auraxis by capturing enemies and defending the territories they gain.
Players have to choose their class from a range of six infantry categories, each with unique skills and weapons. These classes are Infiltrator, Light Assault, Combat Medic, Engineer, Heavy Assault, and MAX.
PlanetSide 2 can be played on Windows and PS4.
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22. Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite is a more recent game than the rest on this list, released in 2021 by Xbox Game Studios. The game is compatible with Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S and can be played by a single player or multiple players.
Halo Infinite is a first-person shooter game where players take on the role of a Master Chief who wages war against an alien faction called the Banished. The world the game is set in is called Zeta Halo and is quite expansive, with space for players to use all kinds of weapons and vehicles to achieve their goals.
Halo Infinite offers different modes, with the Campaign Mode being the most played one. Multiplayers can participate in side quests like deathmatch or capture the flag games against other teams while battling the aliens simultaneously.
Finally, wrapping up our extensive list of the best free multiplayer games on Steam is RuneScape, a game developed by Jagex in 2001 for multiple platforms like Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Steam, and Amazon Prime Gaming.
RuneScape is an MMORPG originally created as a browser game involving players engaging NPC monsters after training in a secluded Tutorial Island. On top of this, they can also battle against each other to improve their skills and win rewards and power-ups.
The game is also filled with different quests with exciting rewards like money, unique items, quest points, and access to new areas, expanding the game’s horizon.
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There you have it, the best multiplayer games on Steam right now. There are countless others that we couldn’t fit into this list that are just as entertaining and you can always find them on Steam.
As for recommendations, I have played Dota 2, Destiny 2, and Apex Legends, which were amazing, so you can start with those three and then slowly move on to the rest.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an experienced player to excel in any of these games; simply find a compatible device and test yourself against other players from around the world.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.