Square-Enix Now Letting Us Play Some Of Its Old Hits For Free

Old Conventional Wisdom: Square-Enix is ripping us off left and right. New Conventional Wisdom: They're, um, letting us play some of their old games for free. They're nice people, after all.

Look, Square-Enix is such a big company that they can encompass both Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy, and both price-gouging and the wonderful generosity of letting us play high-end games in our web browsers for zero dollars.

Using Square's new Core Online service you can play Mini Ninjas and Hitman: Blood Money in a browser right now, for free. Try it right here. (Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light as well as Tomb Raider: Underworld are coming later).

There is, of course, a catch:

Watching ads is better than paying, yes? You get 10 minutes of game time per ad.

Though... the official Core Online FAQ contradicts that official image:

How often will the ads appear?

You will normally earn 20 minutes of game time for each 1 minute advertisement you view — although occasionally this may vary. Adverts will also appear during loading screens; but the load time is not artificially increased by this, and ads viewed in this way will earn you additional game time.

This is all you need:

And this is probably what you want to know about:

How will the transition between game and advertisement be handled?

During loading and when you game-time runs out, you will automatically be taken to the ad block when you earn additional game time.


Is there a limit to the number of ads a user might watch in order to earn game time?

At any point you can accumulate a maximum game time of 60 minutes; as you use this game time, you will be able to top up again by watching additional ads.


What if I don't want to watch ads?

You can always choose to skip ads by directly purchasing levels or full games. The cost of content will always be listed out on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, they said the specs wouldn't be high to play these games in your browser, and they weren't kidding:

Specs for Hitman:

System Requirements


Windows XP or later

Pentium 4 1.5Ghz or Athlon XP Equivalent


DirectX 9.0c compatible video card which supports Hardware TnL and Pixel Shader 2.0 (GeForce FX / Radeon 9500 or higher)

DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card

Windows compatible Mouse and Keyboard (Gamepads and controller are not supported)

Recommended: Pentium 4 2.4Ghz or Athlon XP/64-bit equivalent


ATI X800 series, Nvidia GeForce 6800 series or higher video card

DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card, Sound Blaster X-Fi series

Anyone have a problem with this? It seems pretty good, no?


    Is there controller support for the games on offer?

    Considering YouTube makes you watch an ad for 3-5min per view, this seems fine.

      adds on youtube? never seen any.

        They exist if you don't have adblock enabled, but still: the point is valid.

    I wonder if someone will make an ad filter for this which makes it so the game thinks ur watching ads when you're not >.>

    Now go!

    If theyre letting you play a game for free? This is damn fine.

    It's when you buy a game and it has ad breaks... jeeesus that'll piss me off...

    ehhhhhhhhhhh it's okay I suppose. I wonder how much money they make out of this and if it will become more popular.

    Not a bad idea. Seems like a fair enough trade. Props on them for trying out this business model.

    lol It's like they are door-to-door preachers who are willing to buy you a meal but the catch is that you have to come to thier brainwashing church 1st. Ha Ha, this is NOT something any cluey person will support. God they are soooo desperate to make sales...now if they just "gave" these games away THAT might improve thier image out of the gutter like it is currently.

      You're right - just like people don't play ad-supported Angry Birds games, and completely shunned youtube.

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