Pokémon Unite's Weekly Currency Cap Pushes Players To Spend Real Money

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor July 22, 2021
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Recently released MOBA Pokémon Unite is getting some flak from players -- including cries of "pay to win" -- for its monetization practices.

The gist of it, as laid out by TechRaptor, is as follows. There are three currencies in the game:

  • Aeos Coins: Earned in-game and from events.
  • Aeos Tickets: Earned through in-game events.
  • Aeos Gems: Premium currency that costs real money.

The game's shop, the Aeos Emporium, offers game-affecting boosts that can be purchased with Aeos Coins or Aeos Tickets. If you don't have enough of either, the game (helpfully!) gives you the option to spend Aeos Gems to make up the difference. Additionally, you start with a few Pokémon for free, and more can be purchased with Aeos Coins or Aeos Gems.

All of that isn't too unusual; League of Legends, as an example, also sells champions and other stat-boosting effects for either its in-game currency or cash-shop currency. On that level, I dismiss TechRaptor's claim that such transactions are inherently pay-to-win.

The issue with Pokémon Unite is that there's a cap on how many Aeos Coins you can earn per week. That's set at 2,100, and the screenshot of items showed all of them costing 1,000 apiece. The Pokémon themselves cost 8,000 to 10,000 Aeos Coins, meaning you'd have to farm up for about a month -- apart from a few early-game bonuses -- to earn one, and that would leave you with little left over to purchase anything else.

As it stands, the weekly cap serves no gameplay purpose and solely exists to push players to spend real money, which is the worst way to do monetization. It transforms Pokémon Unite from a game where players want to spend money to a game where they need to spend money, and that will likely make it a no-go for a large portion of its intended audience.

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In this article: Tencent, Pokemon Unite, TiMi Studios.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

Discussion (3)

Lol Player 6 months ago
"League of Legends, as an example, also sells champions and other stat-boosting effects for either its in-game currency or cash-shop currency."

This may have been true at one point but the circumstances are/were WILDLY different. In league of legends you never stop earning currency so even when you had to buy runes you could always buy more.

In pokemon unite there is a hard cap on the number of tickets you can earn. Someone did the math and it takes about 78,000 tickets to fully upgrade three items, the max carrying capacity with all three slots unlocked. You only get about 28,000 tickets for free in the current reward tiers, so to be competitive with fully upgraded items you would still need roughly another 50,000 tickets.

So at one point you can no longer get free tickets and have a hard cap on power level while those that spend money can improve beyond that cap. Pretty sure that's the very definition of pay to win.

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