The great party game Sportsfriends is now free on all platforms, because the studio behind it says it's 'not in a position to support or update it' anymore

Sportsfriends is a collection of multiplayer party games released in 2014 by indie studio Die Gut Fabrik. It's an oddball thing, but also really good: We rated it as one of the best local multiplayer games on PC a few years after it came out, calling it "intense, entertaining, and varied." And with its 10th anniversary now looming, the studio has decided to make it fully free on Steam and every other platform where it's available.

It's not just a birthday celebration: Sportsfriends producer Doug Wilson said the decision came in part because "we're not in a position to support or update Sportsfriends moving forward," a situation presumably brought about by Die Gut Fabrik's recent troubles: Earlier this year, the studio "halted production" after it was unable to find funding for its next project. 

Die Gut Fabrik is also transferring ownership of Sportsfriends to Bennett Foddy, one of the contributors to the Sportsfriends collection (and perhaps better known these days as the Getting Over It guy), "to ensure long-term stewardship of the project."

The developers are also open sourcing a version of JS Joust for Linux. Because of limitations in Windows that make it basically impossible to use PlayStation Move controllers—which JS Joust requires—the game was never supported in the Windows version of the release. Even now, the Steam listing warns that JS Joust "is only supported on Mac and Linux."

"We've been meaning to do this for years, and so this is a good excuse to finally get it done," Wilson wrote. "Stay tuned for link and details—soon."

It sucks that this is happening at least in part because of the effective and untimely end of Die Gut Fabrik, but it's certainly a better outcome than just letting Sportsfriend die on the vine. It's not officially supported, but there's also a player-led effort afoot to get Sportsfriends working on Steam Deck, which could broaden interest in the game—especially now that it's free.

That certainly seems to be Wilson's hope. "Big thank you to everyone who supported the project along the way—our Kickstarter backers, Die Gute Fabrik, Sony, popagenda for all their recent logistical support, friends and family, and all of you who purchased or played the game over these last 10 years," he concluded. "Here's hoping the game will remain playable for many more years."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.