Pay-to-win games or P2W games are a controversial but very popular sub-genre of video games. They often focus on microtransactions to give players an edge based on real-life payments. These games can range from sports games to shooters, racing to farm simulators, and esports level competition to single-player games. So here is everything you need to know about P2W games.

P2W Games


P2W (Pay-to-Win) Games: What Are They?

Microtransactions are becoming a feature of almost every video game in the industry. Usually, these are cosmetic items such as weapon skins, character skins, and other in-game aesthetics.

However, in some cases, these microtransactions can give players advantages in-game. Games that have these mechanics are often called Pay-to-Win or P2W meaning players can buy better weapons, players, cars, or anything to help them win with real money. These items are often locked behind pay-walls or take hours of gameplay to obtain.

For example, FIFA Ultimate Team is a P2W game. Players can purchase packs of footballers to improve their teams and get in-game currency. These footballers can be statistically much better than their cheaper counterparts and provide a significant in-game advantage.

Top players such as 96 rated icon Ronaldo can cost an estimated $3,000 and can provide a massive advantage in a match. Furthermore, these players aren’t even guaranteed with this amount of money spent on the game.

These advantages are often seen as controversial by gaming communities as they can upset the competitive integrity of the game. This is not really an issue in P2W single-player titles as these advantages are isolated against the game’s AI. But in competitive online titles such as FIFA, this has caused major controversy.

Why are P2W Games Popular?

Some of the world’s biggest and most popular games are P2W such as FIFA, Clash of Clans, Warframe and many more. Despite the P2W mechanic having negative ramifications for some, it can be a major boon for others.

Many gamers have limited time to play their favourite games. Therefore, P2W and crypto games can help them match those who can dedicate hundreds if not thousands of hours to games. These players can have items on the same level if not better and match the competitive curve of the game without dedicating as much time. This is especially prevalent in competitive games such as FIFA and Clash of Clans.

Furthermore, many P2W games are free to play at the start such as Warframe. Anyone can play Warframe for free and then pay in microtransactions for better weapons and items.

This can be a great benefit to those who may be uncertain about the game to start with. Rather than paying $60 upfront for a game, they can begin playing for free. Then they have the option to spend however much money they wish to once playing. This not only enhances their gaming experience but also allows them to pay the game developer what they believe the game is worth.

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P2W Games


Top Pay-to-Win games

#4 Warframe

Warframe has boasted over 50 million players during its long reign as one of the best P2W games. The futuristic shooter is free to play and has impressive fast-paced gameplay. Players can pay to improve their characters and obtain new weapons. But with the co-op nature of the game, the P2W mechanic greatly enhances gameplay.

#3 FIFA Ultimate Team

FIFA has been the most popular football game for almost 20 years. EA Sports have sold more than 325 million copies during this time. Ultimate Team has been the most popular game mode since its introduction in FIFA 09. While the competitive nature is heavily influenced by P2W it’s undoubtedly the most popular game in the genre.

#2 Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans has been a staple for the mobile gaming industry. With more than 500 million it is undoubtedly one of the most popular P2W games. Players are able to significantly improve their base and save time with microtransactions. However, this doesn’t ruin the PVP (Player vs Player) aspect which has made Clash of Clans so popular.

#1 Minecraft Bedrock and Pocket Editions

These Minecraft editions for X-Box and Mobile respectively have nailed microtransactions. Although the Minecraft Marketplace can provide advantages for players that pay, it brings so much new content to the game. Minecraft is the highest selling game of all time and the P2W mechanics have been utilized perfectly by Microsoft.