If you’ve spent any time playing video games in the last decade, you’ll have come across the acronym P2W. But what is the P2W meaning and is it a good or a bad thing? Join us as we take a look at what P2W games are and why they are such a hot topic!
What does P2W mean?
In the context of gaming, P2W has 2 meanings. Both of which we will cover in some detail for you to have a good understanding of both concepts.
Pay To Win
Firstly let’s look at Pay To Win. As it states by its name, Pay To Win is essentially where gamers can put money into a crypto game so they can have an edge over the other gamers who may otherwise be playing for free.
More times than not you can play a game for free, such as Fortnite, Clash of Clans or Pokemon Unite. These games usually have the classic season pass feature, that you have to pay for to unlock more features and items in the game. They will also have a huge back catalogue of extra downloadable content you can pay for.
Overall Pay To Win is a popular game style but is deemed somewhat controversial amongst gaming communities and definitely starts discussions. You have probably played a Pay To Win game without even realising, they are really popular on mobile and console.
Play To Win
Play To Win is another variation of P2W, and can be applied to more than just gaming. Often it is used in discussions around sports, business and of course gaming/esports.
If you are saying Play To Win, you are insinuating that you are aiming to triumph in your given field. More times than not esports teams like Optic and Fnatic will use this phrase in their discourse.
High stakes matches and tournaments require esports stars to be at the top of their game so it is no surprise this phrase is popular amongst pro gamers.
As you can see from the above, P2W has different meanings depending on the context you are using it. One refers to a sort of game you may find on your favorite gaming console, whilst the other is more of a mindset and action that can be used both in and outside of gaming. Interesting stuff!
Where does P2W originate?
Whilst the official origin of Pay To Win is not certain, the saying became very popular during the late 2000s and early 2010s. Around this time DLC or downloadable content was becoming a really popular feature of games as developers were looking to cash in on their creations and their loyal fanbase. This was met with mixed reactions at the time, however nowadays it is sort of a norm for there to be an essence of Pay To Win implemented into a game.
Are P2W videogames good or bad?
Now we’ve had the P2W meaning explained, it’s pretty clear that this approach gives a player an unfair advantage. As such, P2W games are hugely unpopular in the video gaming realm. After all, the fact that one player could pay their way to gaming success goes against the ‘level playing field’ that has been something of an unwritten rule ever since the video gaming revolution began.
As such, the accusation that a certain kind of game is P2W is a damning verdict. This is especially true as all games developers will try to disguise the fact that any of their games are P2W.
While there is little doubting the hatred vented upon P2W videogames, such an approach is one of the only ways that free to play games will ever create revenue for the game developer. Despite this, it is the underhanded way in which payments are demanded of the gamer that is perhaps the most unsatisfactory aspect of the P2W concept.
The most notorious P2W games
We thought that it would be good to have the P2W meaning with a few examples of some games that have been accused of being overly pay-to-win.
- Clash of Clans – This iconic mobile game is notorious for having lots of in-game items that give paying players a big advantage. The Gold Pass is one particular example of how Clash of Clans has become one of the archetypal P2W games.
- Star Wars Battlefront 2 – OK so this isn’t P2W anymore, but the EA game was the centre of a massive furore when it introduced a bunch of lame P2W mechanics.
- Pixel Gun 3D – This is a fun shooter that has been massively let down by rampant monetisation throughout the entire game.
Conclusion – The future of P2W gaming
Now that we’ve had the P2W meaning explained, you’ll be able to see that it’s one of the least popular things to hit the video gaming world in years. While P2W is an unpopular concept, it’s probably going to stick around.
After all, the monetisation of video gaming has expanded way beyond simply buying a game upfront. The fact that there are play to earn crypto games shows just how fast things are progressing. Thankfully there are still plenty of f2p games out there that don’t use such an underhand approach as P2W for you to enjoy the best in gaming.