Pokémon

Is Pokémon UNITE Pay to Win?

The newest MOBA for Nintendo, Pokémon Unite, is fortunately not a pay-to-win type of game. | Photo by Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, Tencent
The newest MOBA for Nintendo, Pokémon Unite, is fortunately not a pay-to-win type of game. | Photo by Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, Tencent

Pokémon Unite is a game that represents Pokemon's first step into entering the widely popular MOBA market that is dominated by other companies like Riot Games and Valve. But, does that mean that the game is going to allow players to simply get ahead with a pay-to-win model in order to stuff Nintendo pockets full of cash?

Is Pokémon UNITE Pay to Win?

Though game companies are known to suck money right out of the consumer pockets in order to get them ahead at the cost of others, Pokémon Unite also flirts with a pay-to-win model with one mechanic in the game, through item enhancers.

There are definitely microtransactions in which players can spend real money in order to purchase Pokémon Licenses, but that does not directly mean that it can give them an advantage. Rather, this is similar to that of League of Legends, in which some players can pay for a new character with either real money or the in-game currency. Just having a Pokémon quicker than another person does not correlate to a pay-to-win model. And paying for cosmetics is just for a visual purpose, not a practical one.

So where does a pay-to-win model step in for this game?

There is one glaring red flag that gives the game a pay-to-win label, and it's through the item enhancers. Spending real money in order to purchase the held item enhancers for Pokémon gives significant stat boosts that make even the same characters pale in comparison if they do not have better items. To which the community has noticed is a significant boost over newer players that do not have any of them at all.

The item enhancers cost 10 Aeos Tickets, however, they cannot be directly purchased with real money, per se. If buying a battle pass, one could get a multitude of Aeos Tickets that are the key to purchasing those item enhancers.

The only way to circumvent the people who have the item enhancers is to simply beat them and win the game if they are a lot stronger. Fortunately, the game is team-based, and communicating with teammates will bring down even the strongest of enemy players.

All of that said, are Pokémon's first steps into the MOBA market ones that will be plagued and shamed as pay-to-win? Well, not so much. Even with the item enhancers, the model the game goes through is a bit more of a grind. And unless there are direct changes into purchasing item enhancers with real money or if there are future updates that will have it, feel free to play knowing that it is only slightly pay-to-win.