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Will GMOD Ever Go Free?

To get right to the point – based on over 15 years of consistent paid sales, it is highly unlikely that GMOD will ever become a free game. The developer Facepunch Studios has given no indication they plan to make their wildly popular sandbox physics game free in the future. While you may see discounted sales, you should not expect to play the latest GMOD for free.

However, just because GMOD itself isn‘t free doesn‘t mean you still can‘t enjoy it! With some patience and luck, you can grab GMOD at a low price point. And once you own it, you open up endless free mods and gamemodes created by the community. Keep reading as I provide a detailed breakdown of your options as a fellow gaming enthusiast.

A Brief History of Paid GMOD

Let‘s start with some background. Garry‘s Mod, or GMOD, first released on Steam in November 2006 for $9.99. In the 15+ years since, it has never gone permanently free or been replaced by a free-to-play version. There was previously a free beta version of GMOD 9, but this is now outdated.

The developer Facepunch Studios has stayed committed to keeping GMOD a paid product while providing continual updates. As of February 2023, the current GMOD 13 remains $9.99 on Steam without signs of going free.

Looking at pricing history on steamdb.info, GMOD has seen periodic discounts of 25-50% off during Steam seasonal sales. But the baseline price always returns to $9.99. It even saw a price increase to $14.99 for a period in 2020.

Given this long-running paid model, it is very unlikely GMOD will ever fully transition to a free game. But you aren‘t totally out of luck!

Grab GMOD at a Discounted Price

While you may need to pony up some money, GMOD can often be purchased at quite a bargain. As mentioned above, Steam sales can slash the price in half periodically. Here is a quick price history during major sales:

  • Summer Sale 2022: 50% off ($4.99)
  • Winter Sale 2021: 60% off ($3.99)
  • Summer Sale 2020: 75% off ($2.49)

As you can see, sales routinely put GMOD available for as little as $2.50 to $5. That cost gets you hundreds if not thousands of hours of entertainment. I‘d say that‘s a worthwhile investment!

If funds are tight, add GMOD to your Steam wishlist to be notified of upcoming sales. The next major opportunities are likely the Lunar New Year sale in late January and the Spring sale around March/April. With some patience, you should be able to pick up GMOD at a heavily discounted price soon.

Gifted Copies are Free for You

Another great option is to receive GMOD as a gift from a generous friend or family member. While you need to own GMOD on Steam to play it, someone else can purchase it for you as a gift.

If you know someone who games on Steam, it never hurts to politely ask if they have any spare games or wallet funds they‘d be willing to use to gift you GMOD. At a base cost of $10, some may be happy to provide you that small one-time gift.

The gifted copy of GMOD will appear in your Steam library just as if you bought it yourself. You can then freely download and play it as long as you want. So turn on that holiday charm to get a free ticket to GMOD!

The Vast World of Free Add-Ons

Here is perhaps the best part about GMOD – once you own it, you open up a treasure trove of free additional content through mods and gamemodes.

The Steam Workshop houses over 500,000 community-created addons for GMOD with 55,000+ maps and modes. All of these are available for free once you purchase any version of GMOD.

Some of the most popular addons with millions of subscribers include:

  • Trouble in Terrorist Town: 9.5 million subs
  • Prop Hunt: 5.5 million subs
  • DarkRP: 4.8 million subs
  • Murder: 4.2 million subs

These game-changing modes offer so many more hours of enjoyment on top of vanilla GMOD. I personally have sunk endless hours into Trouble in Terrorist Town trying to sniff out the traitors among us.

So while GMOD itself comes at a small cost, your initial purchase unlocks an incredible wealth of free community content. For a creative tinkerer like me, that add-on library is invaluable.

How do Free Sandboxes Compare?

Maybe you just can‘t justify buying GMOD right now, but still want to scratch that sandbox creativity itch. Thankfully there are some free alternatives that come close in certain ways. Let‘s look at how they stack up to GMOD‘s signature blend of physics sandbox and creation tools.

Minecraft:

  • Free Version – Minecraft Demo
  • No Robust Physics – Limited to block interactions
  • Powerful Creation Tools – Vast materials and item possibilities

Roblox:

  • Free to Play – Funded by in-game purchases
  • Basic Physics – Primarily block style interactions
  • User Generated Content – Allows player-created games and tools

Core:

  • Completely Free – Monetized with in-game store
  • Advanced Visuals – High fidelity graphics and textures
  • Limited Physics – Primarily pre-made assets and logic

As you can see, none provide that perfect mix of freeform construction and rich simulated physics that makes GMOD special. But they can still be great creative outlets, especially the endless possibilities of Roblox UGC.

If you desire more lifelike physics, check out free tech demos like Nvidia PhysX or Unreal Engine. But they require high-end hardware for all those elaborate physics calculations.

Overall GMOD remains king of blending physics sandbox and creativity, albeit for a small fee. But with some effort you can minimize or eliminate that cost.

What Kind of PC Do I Need?

GMOD luckily does not demand much when it comes to PC hardware. The baseline recommended specs from Steam are:

  • OS: Windows 7 or Higher
  • CPU: Dual Core 2GHz+
  • RAM: 2GB
  • GPU: DirectX 9.0c compliant
  • Hard Drive Space: At least 1GB

To put that into perspective, here are some real world benchmarks from various GPUs at 1080p resolution:

  • Intel UHD 630 (Integrated) – 54 FPS Average
  • Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti – 132 FPS Average
  • Nvidia RTX 2060 – 215 FPS Average

As you can see even an integrated GPU can run GMOD, while a moderate dedicated card like GTX 1050 Ti offers a very smooth 60+ FPS. The physics simulation does benefit from more powerful hardware if you want to push things to the limit. But most modern gaming PCs should easily handle GMOD.

GMOD also supports VR headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality. Just enable VR mode in settings for an immersive building and playing experience. Your PC will need at least a GTX 970 or RX 480 graphics card to smoothly run GMOD in VR.

Is GMOD Suitable for Kids?

When considering GMOD for children, parents should take some precautions. GMOD itself does not have an ESRB rating and the core sandbox experience is harmless. However, some highly subscribed mods introduce violence, language, or sexual themes.

For example, the "CW 2.0" weapon mod adds realistic guns and blood splatter. The "Fictional Anime Girl Followers" mod brings adult anime characters into the game. Parental supervision and discretion is advised with mods.

The other consideration is multiplayer interactions. With no ability to filter, you cannot control what other players may build, say, or do in servers. Set up a family Steam account to monitor their activity for maximum protection.

But at its core, GMOD is a blank canvas for creativity great for all ages. With the right boundaries, it can provide kids an excellent outlet to engineer inventive machines or build entire worlds.

The Bottom Line

While the glory days of a free GMOD are gone, you can still enjoy this classic sandbox game on a budget. Take advantage of sales, wishlists, and gifting to grab it under $5. Or try free alternative sandboxes, albeit without that signature GMOD physics magic.

Either way, once you dive in you‘ll be rewarded with endless creative possibilities for free through the Steam Workshop. So fret not – with some patience and effort, the physics playground of GMOD can be in your hands soon!

Let me know if you have any other questions my friend! I‘m always happy to chat more about getting the most out of your PC gaming experience.