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I am looking for a new game and finding searching hard.

The problem is that most games have in app purchases these days. So I eliminate a lot of quality games by trying to filter those out.

But at the same time, some games are abusive with it. Frequently requiring an in app purchase every few levels or to replace hours and hours of pointless grinding.

I want to filter out ONLY the second kind. I have found that “pay to win” comes close, but it is not the same. I have played many great games that allow paying to win, but did not require it. (Warframe for example)

Is there a common term (that I can use for searching) that means games with in app purchases where you HAVE to pay or you CAN’T win?

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    So let me get this straight, you want pay to win games? Jul 20 at 7:07
  • @Ismail - not really, but some of them are fun to play. As long has you don’t HAVE to pay to win. For example, I really liked Warframe, but it has pay to win elements. (You can pay $$ for things that make you more powerful.) But you don’t have to and are not punished (in my opinion) if you don’t want to pay. If I filter out ALL games with pay to win elements, then I am removing some great games from the list I may play.
    – Vaccano
    Jul 20 at 8:26
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    Relevant meta: gaming.meta.stackexchange.com/q/15939/143571 Jul 21 at 14:45
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    Also, the fact a game's microtransactions are abusive is pretty subjective. I personally butted heads with people that Clash of Clans has abusive microtransactions. I personnaly think yes, but the argument is easy to make that its not. I'm sure some son of a mogul would say that a game that is literally 'spend 30k to have a screen written 'you win' on it' would not be abusive.
    – Fredy31
    Jul 21 at 15:16
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    Abusive may not be the 'best' term here, but the gist of the question isn't surrounding whether or not in game purchases is abusive; the question is whether or not it's possible to search for similar games that require payments to succeed in said game.
    – n_plum
    Jul 21 at 16:06
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Games with abusive in-app purchases are known as games with "predatory business models". However, it's worth noting that 'abusive' is subjective in most cases.

There isn't really a 'genre' or category of these types of games since almost any game can fit (and if not, easily tweaked) into this. It is less of what the game's content is, but more of the business model and monetization scheme of the game. Their other predatory business practices other than abusive in-app purchases, may include: pay-to-win, Gacha; loot boxes; "surprise mechanics" and randomized rewards behind pay walls or excessive DLCs.

There is also predatory design, but that's another topic, and more of the act of designing a game around monetization.


Also App Stores won't sort by this as this is a non-standard tag.

The best you can do is do research into each title you are thinking of playing.


On the Google Play Store, there is Premium Games, a collection which contains games that are not of the free-to-play variety, but I'm not sure about the Apple iTunes App Store.

However, these lists are curated and not exhaustive as "not having a predatory business model" is subjective and can also be incorrectly categorized or not considered by those curating those lists (there's just too many games).

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    There isn't a "genre or category" because no publisher would ever publicly admit their game belongs to that category and since publishers tend to have a leverage on official gaming press, any attempts to create such categorizations are suppressed.
    – SF.
    Jul 20 at 14:31
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    @SF I could hardly see a publisher being happy being filed under 'This game is shit if you don't put at least 200$ in it' So yeah pretty sure its not gonna be a possible tag.
    – Fredy31
    Jul 21 at 14:34

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