A number of players have noticed that Pokemon Unite microtransactions are pay to win. In short: you can buy stat-boosting items with premium currency, albeit in a roundabout way.
Pokemon Unite is the new Pokemon MOBA created by Tencent's TiMi Studio Group and published by The Pokemon Company. It certainly looks like a cool spin on the MOBA genre, but the game's microtransactions — including the rate at which you earn in-game currency — have some serious problems.
How is Pokemon Unite Pay to Win?
So, how are Pokemon Unite Microtransactions pay to win? There are key complaints that have been raised by players.
Let's start with the currency: there are three types of currency in Pokemon Unite:
- Aeos Coins – A currency that you earn for playing the game and from events. Capped at 2,100 per week from battles, although you can earn small amounts in other ways.
- Aeos Tickets – A currency earned through in-game events.
- Aeos Gems – A premium currency that can only be acquired by spending money.
The first issue is with stat-boosting items sold in the Aeos Emporium. As the above image shows, these items can be bought with Aeos Coins and Aeos Tickets, If you don't have enough currency, however, you can complete the purchase by spending the premium Aeos Gems currency. What this means is that you can buy these stat-boosting items by spending real-world money, and that's about as pay-to-win as it gets.
The second issue relates to getting Pokemon Licenses. Much like other MOBAs, you have to pay to unlock characters — but Pokemon Unite makes the questionable decision to put a cap on earning Aeos Coins. Even worse, some of these Pokemon can get pretty pricey.
Because of this cap, some of the more expensive Pokemon licenses can take as long as five weeks to earn. Gengar, for example, costs 10,000 Aeos Coins; that means that you would have to play as long as five weeks straight to earn 10,500 coins from battles to buy Gengar — and that leaves you with only 500 Aeos Coins for purchasing other stuff. You might be able to get some more coins from quests or bonuses, but certainly not enough to speed things up that much.
What about premium currency, though? You have the option of buying Pokemon licenses with either coins or Aeos Gems; here's what you'd have to pay to get some:
You'll start off the game with a couple of playable characters, but getting your hands on more can be a challenge. Each of these Pokemon have their own unique abilities, and it's certainly possible to gain a serious advantage by spending money to get a better Pokemon.
Pokemon Unite microtransactions — combined with the capped rate on earning coins — will make spending money an inevitability if you want to be serious about the game. As this Reddit submission notes, the purchasable power-ups can have a serious impact on a game.
Strangely, the one thing you can't buy is special player clothing that requires Fashion Tickets or Pokemon outfits that require Holowear Tickets — those items can only be purchased by earning those respective currencies through in-game events and missions.
Considering the strength of these stat-boosting items and the ability to buy them with premium currency, there's a pretty strong case that Pokemon Unite microtransactions are pay to win — never mind the whole issue with an earnings cap on Aeos Coins and unlocking new Pokemon Licenses. Still, it's a free-to-play game and it's up to players to decide what is or is not worth their time and money — you can play Pokemon Unite for free on Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS via its official website.
What do you think of the Pokemon Unite microtransactions? Does the gameplay live up to your expectations? Let us know in the comments below!