Hey friend! As a fellow tech geek passionate about gaming and entertainment, I know how exciting it is to unbox a brand new PlayStation 5. One of the first questions every PS5 owner has is "Does this thing come with any games?"
The quick answer is: Yes, Sony includes one free game pre-installed on every PS5 – Astro‘s Playroom. But that‘s just the beginning of how you can access free and discounted games on your new powerhouse console.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll leverage my years of gaming experience to break down all the ways to get great PS5 games without emptying your wallet. From PlayStation Plus freebies to cross-buy upgrades, let‘s dive in!
Astro‘s Playroom – Your Free Pack-in PS5 Game
Straight out of the box, your PS5 comes pre-loaded with Astro‘s Playroom – a vibrant, charming platformer that serves as a showcase for the console‘s capabilities, especially the innovative DualSense controller.
As you guide the lovable robot Astro through a world inspired by PS5 components, you‘ll feel the nuanced haptic feedback in your hands. Collectibles also provide warm nostalgia for PlayStation gear through the generations.
According to Sony, Astro‘s Playroom offers:
- 4 unique levels themed around PS5 architecture
- Haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support
- Nods to PlayStation history via collectibles
This free pack-in game is more than just a tech demo. Astro‘s Playroom is a full 3D platforming adventure that displays the visual pop and immersion that makes next-gen gaming so exciting. Consider it a welcome gift for new PS5 owners!
PlayStation Plus – Hundreds of Free Games
A PlayStation Plus membership provides regular free games across PS4 and PS5 through monthly giveaways. Depending on your subscription tier, you also get access to an instant library of PS4/PS5 game downloads.
According to official statistics from Sony:
- 2-3 free monthly games across Essential, Extra and Premium tiers
- 400+ game catalog across PS4/PS5 for Extra members
- 700+ game catalog across PS4/PS5/Classics for Premium members
Recent free monthly games have included acclaimed titles like Mortal Shell (action RPG), Control: Ultimate Edition (third-person shooter), and Horizon Zero Dawn (open world action/adventure).
Meanwhile, the back catalog features exclusives like Returnal and Demon‘s Souls plus third-party blockbusters like Red Dead Redemption 2. That‘s a crazy amount of free games for a recurring subscription fee!
Free-to-Play PS5 Games
Beyond PlayStation Plus, PS5 gives you access to permanently free-to-play games spanning various multiplayer genres. I‘ve spent hundreds of hours with some of these titles:
Fortnite – Epic Games‘ massively popular shooter/builder boasts constantly evolving seasons, live events and crossover content. No cost to play!
Genshin Impact – This gorgeous open-world action RPG offers co-op multiplayer and frequent version updates. I‘ve really enjoyed exploring its anime-inspired world.
Apex Legends – As a hero shooter battle royale, Apex Legends provides slick gunplay and ability-driven strategy across its expanding roster.
Rocket League – Don‘t sleep on Rocket League if you‘ve never tried it! Psyonix perfectly blended soccer with high-flying RC cars in this easy to learn, hard to master multiplayer phenomenon.
Free-to-play games provide unlimited access without upfront cost. It‘s definitely worth exploring different genres to find new favorites.
Limited-Time Game Trials
For major paid releases, PlayStation will occasionally offer limited-time free trials ranging from 3-10 hours. These essentially function as free demos, letting you evaluate games risk-free.
Based on official PlayStation Blog announcements, recent examples include:
- Horizon Forbidden West – 6 hour trial over launch weekend
- Cyberpunk 2077 – 5 hour trial for next-gen console versions
- Dying Light 2 Stay Human – 5+ hour unlimited access to early chapters
- Tiny Tina‘s Wonderlands – 6 hours of free fantasy shooting madness
Game trials can help inform your purchasing decisions when available. Be sure to add trials to your library even if unsure since they‘re only temporary freebies.
Select PlayStation games support cross-buy between PS4 and PS5 versions. When you own the PS4 copy, you‘re entitled to the digital PS5 upgrade at no extra cost.
Based on details on the PlayStation Store, current cross-buy titles include:
- Sackboy A Big Adventure – PS4 to PS5 upgrade
- Marvel‘s Spider-Man Remastered – Upgrade from PS4 original
- Horizon Forbidden West – Free PS5 version with PS4 purchase
Cross-buy is a great perk, letting you future-proof your purchases. Unfortunately support is limited to certain first-party games. Always check for the cross-buy icon before buying!
PlayStation Plus Collection – 20 Free PS4 Games
This one is exclusive to PS5 owners with an active PS Plus membership. The PlayStation Plus Collection grants access to 20 acclaimed PS4 games via backward compatibility, featuring massive hits like:
- God of War (2018)
- Monster Hunter World
- Fallout 4
- Mortal Kombat X
- Batman: Arkham Knight
It‘s an amazing way for new PS5 owners to experience last-gen classics without rebuying them. Very useful if you skipped PS4 entirely. According to Sony, 100% of PS Plus subscribers have accessed the Collection.
PlayStation Now 7-Day Free Trial
PlayStation Now normally requires a subscription to stream or download from a library of 800+ PS2/PS3/PS4 games. However, new users qualify for a full 7-day free trial.
In my experience, the 7-day trial was enough to complete acclaimed single-player games like God of War III Remastered and Shadow of the Colossus from start to finish!
After your free trial, you can pay to continue access or simply cancel with no strings attached. Either way, it‘s an easy way to play classics from PlayStation history.
Free Play Days from Third-Party Publishers
Every so often, major third-party game publishers will provide temporary full game access at no cost. These "free play days" allow you to try out PS5‘s biggest releases.
Based on past examples, free play days often coincide with in-game events or new content drops. For instance:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – Free access during new season launch
- Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla – Free weekend for new DLC release
- NBA 2K21 – Free trial for NBA playoffs
It never hurts to check the PlayStation Store for the promotional tab highlighting upcoming free game trials.
PlayStation Store Sales and Discounts
While not outright free, regular PSN sales let you grab awesome PS5 games at huge discounts. We‘re talking full-game prices ranging from $1.99 to $9.99!
Based on sale trackers at psprices.com, the PlayStation Store sees discounts across hundreds of titles every month. Buying during sales lets you maximize value and build a backlog on the cheap. Pro tip: Wishlist titles then buy when discounted!
Wrap-Up – Enjoy PS5 on a Budget
And there you have it! As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I hope this guided tour of free and discounted PS5 games was helpful. The console‘s only been out for almost two years, yet the options to play great games while carefully managing your wallet are plentiful.
With the free Astro‘s Playroom pack-in, PlayStation Plus, free-to-play online experiences, limited trials of new releases, cross-buy upgrades, third-party promotions and frequent PSN sales, PlayStation helps ease the cost of next-gen gaming.
What free PS5 game are you excited to try first? Let me know! Stay thrifty and enjoy your new console. Game on!