Xbox fans: play these classic Bethesda and id games for free right now

Xbox players can jump into a bunch of classic Bethesda and id Software games for free right now, as Microsoft has rolled out a slate of new game previews for Xbox Insiders.

If you’re signed up to Microsoft’s free beta platform, you can play The Elder Scrolls: Arena, The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall, Quake Champions, Wolfenstein 3D, Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders, Hexen: Beyond Heretic, and Hexen: Deathkings of the Dark Citadel for nothing. Don’t go booting up your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One, though, as they’re only playable on PC.

Microsoft has made the games free to preview in the run-up to their full release on the Xbox store. Announcing the games on Xbox Wire, it said it's looking for fans to playtest the games to report any bugs or glitches they encounter. It also means you can just play all the games right now without paying a penny.

 Prime pickings

The cover of The Elder Scrolls: Arena showing several warriors

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

There's quite a selection on offer. Wolfenstein 3D might look heavily dated, but was a progenitor of the modern FPS. Playing the Elder Scrolls games will give you an interesting peek at where the series has come from, and how it’s grown immensely to spawn Starfield. While Hexen never quite made it into the mainstream, it’s a cult classic that any old-school fantasy dungeon crawlers will love.

Quake Champions is the most recent title on the list. Launched in 2017, the multiplayer shooter is pitched as a return to the frenetic arena shooting that typified the early days of the FPS. If you’re an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you’ll also get a bunch of in-game freebies for joining the Quake Champions preview.

While the games are only available for PC, you won’t need one of the best graphics cards to enjoy them. Most were released over 20 years ago, meaning even the most basic office PC can run them.

To play the freebies you’ll need to be registered as an Xbox Insider. Fortunately, that’s dead easy to do. Head over to the Xbox Insider page on the Microsoft Store and install the app. Log into your Xbox profile (or create one if you’re completely new), and you’ll see a menu on the left-hand side of the screen. Slick 'Previews' to find all the available beta programs you’re currently enrolled in.

You should automatically see the Bethesda and id games. Choose the game you fancy playing, click 'Join' to enroll in its preview, and wait to be directed to the Microsoft Store. Success! You just need to click that blue install button and you’ll be away.

Microsoft hasn't specified whether the games are free to keep forever. They’ll be available while any bugs are ironed out, but will eventually be taken off the Xbox Insider platform and plonked on the Microsoft store. When that happens, it's likely they'll disappear from your account.

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