Here we are with another free to play game, Pokémon Unite, which arrived on the Nintendo Switch July 21, 2021 and will soon grace mobile platforms as well (September 22). This game comes to us from The Pokémon Company, TiMi Studio Group, and Tencent. This free-to-play MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Area) game fuses Pokémon with the action real-time genre to create a fun and competitive experience for players. But is this game meant to unite us on an even playing field or divide us by giving the advantage to those who toss more cash to the cause?
Recently I was asked to participate in an upcoming podcast that talks about Pokémon Unite, the only problem with that is that I had played just two matches; and the only thing I knew is that it felt a bit like playing Heroes of the Storm, which I played a ton in the past. So, I did the proper thing and started to research and play the game a bit further to learn how the game operated, and I uncovered some interesting nuances surrounding the game.
As a free-to-play game, we know that microtransactions will be woven into every and all aspects of the experience; and in this game, we see at least six different currencies that include Aeos Coins, Aeos Gems, Aeos Tickets, Fashion Tickets, Holowear Tickets, and finally Item Enhancers. This of course is a subtle tactic to somewhat confuse the player on how they spend their earnings and dilute how much money they may have spent within the game if they chose to do so. The developer knows that this system will generate money, and if continues to do so, they do not need to tweak the formula. If it does start to slow or fall, this is where they will make streamlined changes to make it both more user friendly and make the developer look more heroic as they are catering to the concerns and wants of the fans. But is this game really dividing us by the pay to win method?
When it comes down to it, if you spend the time to grind to reach the highest level without paying, you still can do well against players who have. Paying money is for the dedicated, determined, or possibly impatient, so it is basically a pay-to-bypass model and not so much a pay-to-win system. Yes, one way is quicker and will most likely give an advantage to those who pay, but you can play through it and get up to speed with some time and effort. The point is that this is a free game; you are in no way obligated to pay money to participate in the fun, and in the end it is this fun that unites us. It is the rivalry that should ultimately divide us.
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Featured Image: TheVerge.com