The highest grossing games from PC storefront Steam have just been released in this year’s top 100 games measured by gross revenue, and a few of the games are free-to-play.

This is just proof that free-to-play games aren’t exactly always free to play.

The games are categorised into different tiers, from Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze (however, it isn’t clear whether the website orders the games in their respective tiers).

The Platinum tier features the highest grossing games of 2021 and are the following:

  • Dota 2 – Valve (2013) FREE TO PLAY
  • Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds – Krafton (2017)
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – Valve (2012) FREE TO PLAY
  • Destiny 2 – Bungie (2019) FREE TO PLAY
  • Dead By Daylight – Behaviour Interactive (2016)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Ubisoft (2015)
  • Apex Legends – Respawn Entertainment (2020) FREE TO PLAY
  • Battlefield 2042 – EA DICE (2021)
  • Valheim – Iron Gate (2021)
  • Naraka Bladepoint – 24 Entertainment (2021)
  • New World – Amazon Games (2021)
  • Grand Theft Auto V – Rockstar North (2015)

The four free-to-play games listed in this tier show that they were the highest grossing games of the year through in-app purchases alone, which is a pretty impressive feat in itself.

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds will also become free-to-play in January 2022.

Of this list, only four games (Battlefield 2042, Valheim, Naraka Bladepoint and New World) were released this year. CS:GO is the oldest game of this list, released nearly a decade ago.

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Other free-to-play games that made the top tiers in Steam are as follows:

  • War Thunder – Gaijin Entertainment (2013)
  • Warframe – Digital Extremes (2013)
  • Team Fortress 2 – Valve (2007)
  • Path of Exile – Grinding Gear Games (2013)
  • Halo Infinite – 343 Industries (2021)
  • World of Tanks Blitz – Wargaming Group Limited (2016)
  • SMITE® – Titan Forge Games (2015)
  • World of Warships – Wargaming Group Limited (2017)
  • STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™ – Bioware (2011)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links – Konami Digital Entertainment (2017)
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis – SEGA (2020)

A lot of these titles have a common thread: they have an online component. The in-app purchases allow players an edge in online gaming, and that’s what makes these titles some of the highest grossing of the year.

For more information on this topic, follow The Gaming Observer.