Play console games for free via your web browser — say what?! Yeah, I had the same reaction. Square Enix, a game publisher known for popular titles such as Final Fantasy and Hitman, has launched a new service — called Coreonline — that allows users to play Square Enix games for free via a web browser.
Okay, before you shat your pants let me say this: you can’t play any Square Enix game you want via Coreonline. Coreonline allows you to play play the games Square Enix has specifically put on the platform; currently Hitman: Bloody Money and Mini Ninjas are the only games on Coreonline. However, Square Enix promises to bring Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light to Coreonline in October, is working on porting Tomb Raider: Underworld and Gyromancer but has no ETA, and says it will continually add other games to Coreonline in the months to come.
That said, there is another caveat. Coreonline is free, yes, but it is advertisement supported. The ads aren’t the traditional banner or text ads which you can ignore. Rather, you get play time in return for watching ads. The more ads you watch, and the longer the ads run, the more play time you get for Coreonline games. If you don’t want to watch ads, you can pay money to unlock levels or whole games. According to Joystick, the amount of play time you get per ad watched varies from ad to ad:
At the end of our initial ten minutes, we were given a selection of ads, each worth a number of minutes. A 1:17 ad for Kohl’s for example, is worth 26 minutes of play time, whereas a 7 second ad for the Samsung Series 9 is worth 5 minutes.
Square Enix says all game modes and progression is saved to the cloud so you can pick up where you left off. I’m not exactly sure how Square Enix is saving game data because, while there is a “Log In” button, I was not prompted to login prior to playing Hitman. I presume if you don’t login then your progression is saved by cookies (I hope you don’t clear your cookies…), and if you do login your progression is saved by account in which case you can probably pick up where you left off on any computer.
Unfortunately, it looks like at the time of this writing Coreonline games are only available to users of Windows and Mac. On Windows all games will work on Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 8+ while on Mac you need Chrome. To add salt to the wound, Hitman: Bloody Money is not supported on Mac even if you have Chrome. Take note Square Enix recommends you use Chrome because Coreonline was developed in cooperation with Google so presumably you will get the best experience in Chrome. Funnily enough, I got Hitman to work in Firefox but on Chrome I was told it isn’t compatible with my operating system. Go figure.
Hit up the link below to get started with Coreonline.