Pay-to-play games: are they worth your time?

by Clare Morgan

Playing games on your mobile phone is a great way to pass the time. There are all kinds of genres like shooters, puzzles, role-playing games, and more. Some of these games are quite addictive, so it’s easy to spend tons of hours just playing.

Many popular mobile games today are called pay-to-play or P2P games. Essentially, you have to pay real money in P2P game apps to access services or products in the game. People have mixed opinions about this and some think that paying real money isn’t worth it. However, some think that it’s a decent deal because it usually doesn’t cost much. 

There are different reasons for you to decide whether P2P games are worth your time and money. Naturally, the decision is up to you, but it’s a good idea to weigh the following information below before you make your decision. 

1. Some Games Could Help You Earn 

Playing some game apps to make money is argued by some to be a more practical way of spending your free time. If you could earn money through playing, why even consider paying money for games? 

Every game or app usually have their own rules on how each player can earn some money. For instance, some can only be used on Android, iOS, or even computers. So, it’s important to get to know the platform before you commit yourself to spend time on it if you’re looking to earn money specifically. However, if you’re just there to have fun, it shouldn’t be a problem.

2. P2P Games Can Be Addictive

Limiting access to specific services or items in a game give paying players an advantage. This is an important factor, especially if the game is a competitive one. If you want to be on the list of the top players, it’s easier to get there by paying to unlock some features in a game. 

The same goes for games where you play against other players. To win against their characters or accounts, it’s best to level up or strengthen yourself faster so that you can go against them. And to do this, you might want to access some equipment or features that could help you strengthen your character. Some players go as far as calling these play-to-win games. 

Because of this, it’s possible to get a little carried away with spending on these games, especially when it comes to limited access and promos. For example, some games on mobile phones and computers hold sales for some of their products. They even have promos where you could get multiple items for a special price. Players can sometimes feel pressured to purchase it because they believe they’re getting a good deal. 

3. It Might Not Be What You’re Expecting

Spending money online can sometimes be a gamble, especially when it comes to digital goods like games. This is because you’re not always sure about how safe it is to give these platforms your credit card information. So, it’s always good to take extra precautions when doing so. 

But this isn’t the only gamble that you might be taking on. Sometimes the features or services you’re paying to access might not be what you’re expecting. Because of this, it’s easy to feel cheated and lose trust in the entire game. 

4. You Could Also Earn From Some P2P Games

Some P2P games could also allow you to earn some money. For example, some websites collect fees from each player who wants to enter. After each match, the winner takes the prize money. 

There are also online casinos where you have to trade money for chips. Essentially, it’s just like a physical casino, but you’re playing virtually. There are many websites and mobile apps, so it’s important to research before you pick which one is safe and right for you. 

5. P2P Games Might Not Be Secure

Attaching your credit card information on any mobile app could be a risk. Games are also risky because you might not be aware that it’s charging you for a subscription. Many games will charge you for a single purchase, but a few other games will require a monthly or even yearly charge. You’ll have to be careful with how you purchase these services and features. Also, don’t forget to remove your credit card information after every transaction. 

6. Many Popular Games Are P2P

Despite the many negative opinions people have about P2P games, it's still quite popular. However, it’s only popular if done in a way that players appreciate. Usually, this means giving the players an option to play, have fun, and advance in the game without spending money. 

Furthermore, if the game is well made and fun, players will think it’s worth the money. And if the game stays popular for a long time despite being P2P, it usually means that it’s worth it and that they’re applying the concept in a way that the players like. 

7. Some Prefer Single Purchase Games

P2P games usually allow you to purchase currency in the game. These might be in the form of coins or gems. Because of this, the game can continuously profit from its players. It’s understandable why many players don’t like this idea. Instead, they prefer games where they could purchase a single time and have access to all features. This way, there’s a limit to how much they can spend, and they could decide whether it’s something they’re willing to buy or not. 

8. It Might Get Boring

Being able to access all the best features in a game by buying them could also take away the excitement of the game. Instead of working your way up to a level, players can level up with just a click of a button. 

At first, this can be exciting, but it can make the game boring after a while. This is because it takes away the challenge. Being able to win everything by just playing might feel like you haven’t earned it. Or it might even dampen the experience by making it feel too easy. 


Pay-to-play games are a dime a dozen these days, so you’ve probably played some already. Usually, it’s possible to play the game without purchasing anything, but it might feel impossible to get access to the entire game without doing so. 

But the power to choose whether to spend on a game or not is yours. If it’s something you truly enjoy, then it’s understandable to want to pay for it. However, it might be a gamble to do so, and extra care and precaution could be necessary. 

Photo: Adobe Stock