Time is precious, or so the saying goes, and as any veteran enthusiast is aware, it never feels so precious as when you're sitting there twiddling your thumbs waiting for the latest new major or indie-label PC game release to @#&! download. Happily, help has arrived: if you haven't checked closely lately, you'll soon discover that Republic of Gamers has a range of helpful new hardware options that can quickly speed you on your way. Now you can grab all the hottest new releases quickly and cost-affordably, without having to wait around a minute longer.

Case in point: the latest ROG routers with WTFast can amp up your performance to staggering levels. As you might expect from this kind of hardware, units such as the RT-AC5300 and RT-AC88U routers provide damn near the fastest, smoothest online gaming experience with multidevice support imaginable — and each features Broadcom NitroQAM technology to boost maximum wifi speeds on the 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies by up to 25 percent (RT-AC5300 is tri-band - two for 5GHz and one for 2.4GHz) . As an added bonus, the routers also offer a subscription to the WTFast Gamer Private Network, so you can get your game on like never before.

Of course, having the right hardware in place is just one piece of the puzzle — once you've got the right gear, you also need to figure out where to get all the latest and greatest new games. Want to give your WTFast router a run for its money? Following is a closer look at 10 of the most promising sites and services where you can download or play digital diversions on-demand — several of which (hallelujah!) won't charge a single cent for the privilege.


Playing games is a great way to blow off some "steam" — but you won't want to blow off the online game service of the same name, which remains one of today's de facto leaders in digital downloads for the PC. From the latest titles to treasured computing gaming classics and free-to-play indie titles, if you can't find something to play on Steam (which boasts tens of millions of users, early release programs aplenty, DLC galore, and more) you simply aren't looking hard enough. The service — an omnipresent go-to for players — also ensures that games can be easily updated, and makes online play with friends so easy that we almost wonder what the world would be like without it.


What do you do when you're one of the world's largest PC game publishers, and determined to make your own mark in the online retail space? If you're Electronic Arts, you launch your own damn store in the form of Origin, a signature download and online software purchasing service. Not only is Origin the place to grab EA's latest games the moment they release, you'll even find an "On the House" section that often offers giveaways of a past AAA title. The site and featured selections change over time, so it's definitely worth checking back on frequently, and on each visit, you'll find a host of options to pick from, including free-to-play downloads of demos, betas, and in-browser games.


PC gaming classics live on at GOG.com, a service devoted to ensuring that games from yesteryear aren't lost to the ages. Many past PC games — some from as far back as the DOS and Windows 95 era — have been updated and made playable for the latest Windows 8.1/Windows 10 PCs on the site. The service also offers DRM-free content, so gamers can trade and share titles, as well as a money-back guarantee — so if the old title doesn't work, you get your cash back! And for those who have the old boxed copy of a game that might not run on a modern PC, GOG.com sometimes also allows users to enter old copy protection and ownership keys from select games to reclaim the titles. Classy as well as classic, what's not to love?


Commonly known as D2D, this online game store offers a host of PC games for your enjoyment via direct download. Launched in 2004, it now has more than 3,000 titles from some 300 game publishers, and strongly supports the independent game development market. Users can browse from the latest AAA titles, as well as upcoming smashes, and even scope out the sales bin. Games can be quickly downloaded, and unlike with Steam, users don't need a specific client to play or manage their titles either.

Green Man Gaming

This British startup is definitely an emerging player to watch in the PC digital download space. In similar fashion as Direct2Drive or Steam, it offers a wide range of games to pick from, supplementing some with early access to upcoming titles and providing robust support for indie game titles to boot. Green Man Gaming also runs regular sales, making it a great place to look for digital deals — price conscious gamers should check back often for bargains.

Games for Windows Marketplace

The Games for Windows platform is the place to be if you're looking to find Microsoft's PC game catalogue — and it will likely become more and more fascinating as its creators look to more closely integrate its features and selections with Xbox offerings. Focusing on quality rather than quantity, the platform's got a solid selection of current titles as well as old classics, and serves as proof that Microsoft is still very much a player in the PC game business. Any fan of PC gaming should have it on their radar.

Game Top

As with music and movies, gaming isn't just about the biggest major label hits. There's a world of excellent indie titles and causal games just waiting to be discovered, and Game Top offers a decent place to find 'em. Visiting the site, you'll find puzzle, hidden object, simulation, racing, board, card, action, and arcade games and more. Interestingly, this service supports downloads as well as browser-based games, plus games for the Mac, Android, and iOS platforms. If you've got time to kill, Game Top can help you out.


Cnet's Download.com is the first place to go to find freeware and other necessary tools and utilities for the PC. But what you may not realize is that it also features a vast selection of games from arcade to FPS, strategy to RPC, and that's just for starters. There are plenty of options for free and indie game fans to pick from, and even older AAA titles that are "free to try." Those willing to browse a bit will find a number of hidden treasures lying in wait.

Humble Store

Haven't tried a Humble Bundle package of value-priced games yet? You're missing out. Luckily, the same folks behind them have also launched their own online storefront for PC, Mac, Linux, and Android titles — and you'll find a host of hits and indie releases just waiting to be explored. Pop by to find lots of new releases, sales, and quirky new debuts: it's easy to see why it's a special favorite with indie gaming fans.

Ocean of Games

Launched in 2013 by self-proclaimed game developers and players with the goal to build a huge online community, Ocean of Games is as much about sharing as it is the love of games. The site includes reviews and op-eds, and offers free downloads if you're on the hunt for independent, offbeat, and unusual games of every variety. While its selection of AAA titles is limited, for those who like to game off the beaten path, you'll find yourself swimming in a sea of choices. Try it out if you're looking to broaden your horizons.

More free-to-play options

Kongregate | When you've got just a few minutes to kill, Kongregate makes a great fit, offering a variety of easy to get into and out of Adobe Flash, HTML 5/JavaScript, Shockwave, Java, or Unity games that'll hit the spot.

Armor Games | This browser-based game site has something for everyone — from role-playing to sports to real-time strategy. Hint: as the name points out, you'll find several battle-based games as well.

Shockwave | This popular portal has been going strong for more than a decade, and it offers a vast selection of free board games, card games, puzzles, and even shooters to choose from.

Newgrounds | This long-running internet playpen offers a huge selection of user-created content, with a nearly endless selection of games.

MMORPG.com | The URL says it all. Looking for a free MMORPG? Point your browser this site's way, and let the adventures begin.


By Scott Steinberg