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Money is central to many industries, gaming included. Whereas some providers allow you to play casino games online for real money, others require you to pay money to progress or even win. Pay-to-win games are an example of the latter. These controversial but popular titles comprise a subgenre of video gaming built on microtransactions that give paying players an edge over other players based on real money payments. Below, we define pay-to-win games and review top titles in the category.

What Are Pay-to-Win Games?

Microtransactions involve the exchange of actual money for in-game items, such as weapons, character skins, weapon skins, cars, players, access to levels, and more. The system is set up so a character can pay to get perks that they would have otherwise had to put in hours of gameplay for. In FIFA Ultimate Team, for example, you can buy players to boost your team’s performance. World class players like Ronaldo can set you back about $3,000 and give you a competitive edge over other gamers.

Pay-to-win games or P2W are titles that use this system. They often feature a free version where players can get the same perks by playing for long periods and a pay option where you can skip the work and just buy the items. Due to the inclusion of real money, these games are very controversial in gaming communities. Some gamers claim that they compromise the competitive integrity of gaming. This can be true in competitive online games but less important in single-player titles.

Top Pay-to-Win Games

Some of the top P2W games at the moment include:

1. APB: Reloaded

All-Points Bulletin Reloaded, or APB, was developed by David Jones in 2011. It is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. Featuring two factions of cops and robbers, APB is an action-adventure TPS MMO title loaded with action. It is also a P2W game, allowing paying players to purchase vehicles, gear skins, and upgraded weapons and advance faster than non-paying gamers.

2. Diablo Immortal

Originally released for mobile, Diablo Immortal was such a hit it was soon adapted for PC. This MMORPG is set in the popular Diablo universe and is a classic pay-to-win title. Players can buy everything from XP boosters and in-game currency to cosmetics and items. If you prefer the free option, you can earn these enhancements the regular way. However, it will take you longer than paying players, who will ultimately outrank you, forcing you to be on your toes constantly to keep up.

3. MapleStory

This 2D MMORPG was developed by Wizards for Android and iOS. While there is no set goal, there is much to keep you entertained. You can develop and customize different characters and immerse them in the adventures that come your way. MapleStory also includes a cash shop, where you can buy cosmetics and enhancements like skins and pets.

4. Warframe

Since its release, Warframe has been played by more than 50 million people. It is a futuristic shooter title with impressive graphics and fast-paced gameplay. Within the game, you can pay to get new weapons and boost your characters, to improve your odds of winning. Warframe also features a free-to-play option, where you get these perks through normal gameplay.

5. Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans is a staple of the subgenre. This online freemium strategy game is available for Android and iOS and will have you training troops and building village. By using the pay-to-win option, you can acquire more gems, which will allow you to train your troops and build faster.


Pay-to-win games remain controversial in the gaming world. On one side, some gamers believe that it creates an unfair advantage that benefits people with deep pockets, compromising the competitive nature of gaming. On the other hand, P2W fans believe microtransactions are an easy and effective way to improve your gaming experience while compensating the game developer for their work. Whichever side of the debate you land on, there is no questions that these games are the top P2W titles currently.