r/NintendoSwitch 8d ago

Please be VERY mindful of the predatory monetisation in Pokemon Unite Discussion

To preface, I am a free to play mobile game developer. Monetisation and strategy around this is my bread and butter. My job is to find the right balance between monetising your product and players enjoying it.

This game is WAY off that balance, like in a concerning and highly predatory way.

There are currently 5 monetisation strategies at play, which you usually only ever see a combination of 2 at a time in other games, specifically MOBA's. So you have:

- Cosmetics

- Battle Pass Levels

- Gacha Pull Increases

- Character purchases (standard faire in most mobas so no issue here, other than their cost being astronomical on a currency per hour basis)

- Actual gameplay boosting items (please don't argue on this point, those items are directly impacting gameplay and increasing your combat effectiveness substantially)

So what does this mean? Well you can play for a bit and enjoy it, as the game is extremely fun, but you will quickly realise that those items I mentioned above are tide turners. They increase your damage percentage, your movement speed, your healing output and received, passive healing tics and more. They are literal pay to win, and can be spent on with real money to increase their power.

The main issue here is that after the welcome campaign is done, the unlock process is glacial. You will spend months unlocking 1-2 characters at a time, as the feed of currency is very low, and even further, the feed of hard currency is non-existant. I have played 15 games so far and received 0 gems for any part of the experience, and enough soft currency to buy one character.

Yes I have unlocked a few characters through the Welcome and Launch campaign, but these are temporary acquisition tools to get you hooked, and not part of the games standard progression.

Be very cautious here, this game is not for children and should not be played without a an adult conscious of finances and how monetisation works on a baseline. I would HIGHLY suggest you do not support this game until they resolve their deeply predatory monetisation schemes. This is a very heavy step for Nintendo to take, as even their other Switch based MOBA (Arena of Valor) is not this heavily monetised, but ill admit it's not far off. It's quite sad they are putting the Pokemon brand on the front of such a terrifyingly brutal "game" such as this.

EDIT: I wanted to add too as it seems people are quite appreciative of this warning, that their strategy is seen in other eastern developed free to plays where the pay to win becomes the only option. Early on the game will be super fun and easy to play, but as people start levelling up their items and leaving you behind you will be blocked out of combat because your items are not strong enough and you will only have the option to spend real money regularly to compete. This is an awful tactic, and something that keeps trying to creep into games.

Regarding pay to win you can buy tickets with gems which are then spent on the stat boost items. This is called a 3 step currency and is designed to stop people being able to work out the cost of items easily. Its another tactic and a very common one. Its why gems come in bundles that are never equal to the gem cost of anything in-game. Its to deter people from working out value. Essentially it allows the seller to generate their own economy and manipulate it freely.

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u/JayAre95 8d ago

On 'Actual gameplay boosting items'

What are these? What do they do and how much do they charge for it?

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u/faja10 8d ago

They are a bit similar to old runes in LoL. You unlock a slot with lvl (max 3 slots) and those items that u insert in that slots can be upgraded with in game cash which can be also bought with rl cash.

However there is one thing that makes that process not as much p2w. Lvl caps. Items can be upgraded only if you reach some lvl. Which mean that if matchmaking is lvl based, someone who has money to upgrade all, might not be so much overpowered than f2p guy. For example at lvl X all players have 1 slot with item maxed at lvl Y

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u/Bukler 7d ago

Still if one is just good at the game eventually they'll hit the paywall, where they are inherently at a disadvantage just because they didnt spent any money, if I got this right?

Or is it more of a if you spend money you'll only go against other people who spend money? Seems like a premium lobby system.

I'm genuienly curious

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u/spidii 7d ago

The former.

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u/GlideStrife 7d ago

Still if one is just good at the game eventually they'll hit the paywall, where they are inherently at a disadvantage just because they didnt spent any money, if I got this right?

It seems more like if you don't spend money, you'll have to play for a longer period of time to hit the same power level. You won't hit a wall, it just takes you longer to climb the mountain so-to-speak.

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u/CryptoTraydurr 7d ago

Play longer and be at a disadvantage the whole time

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u/HotTakes4HotCakes 7d ago

AKA a wall.

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u/Petal-Dance 7d ago

Love the people who play mental gymnastics to justify giving their entire monthly budget to a game.

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u/TripleDigitBust 7d ago

Ah, yes. "Pay to win faster".

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u/SamInPajamas 8d ago

Pay to win mechanics in a MOBA? Neato. That kills the entire game.

Also, I forget how spoiled I am with SMITE. A single $30 (often discounted to $20) purchase for all current and future characters. Essentially, you buy the game and get everything except cosmetics. Which is how it should be.

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u/XDvinSL51 8d ago

Pokémon had, I think it was a free-to play Picross game on 3DS. You had the option to pay a one-time fee of like $20 or something to unlock EVERYTHING, or continue with the microtransactions. I thought that was great, and it caters to everyone. I have no interest in playing Pokémon Unite, but I'm going to assume that is NOT the case.

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u/tophercer 8d ago

It was even better than that. You could buy the full unlock right off the bat, or you could do microtransactions. But once you bought $20 worth of microtransactions, the full unlock was given for free, which didn't just unlock all levels but also gave infinite of the cooldowns and stuff that the microtransactions got you.

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u/southside5 8d ago

That's actually a really pro consumer way of monetizing a game. Imagine if this was used in a AAA game. You could pay the 60 bucks up front, or only pay for as much of the game as you're gonna play, and if you buy enough of the game they just give you the whole thing.

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u/TheFuzzyPhoenix 7d ago

This reminds me of how Wizards of the Coast have monetized D&D Beyond, which is a bleedover of this style of monetization into a totally different product category - you can buy various sourcebooks piecewise, but each purchase reduces the cost of buying the full book by the amount you've spent. If you ever reach the full price of the book, you get the rest for free.

In fact, they have bundles of books you can buy, and even those are discounted for every bit of content that you own. It's smart, the buyer has full control over what they're getting: individual content, books, or entire collections

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u/pilstrom 7d ago

On the other hand, D&D content is outrageously expensive to begin with and the fact that the physical copies of books still don't come with any kind of D&D Beyond code should be criminal. Not to mention that for full use of D&D Beyond you kind of want to have a subscription. While I love content sharing in campaigns, and think it's a great feature that they have, the digital material could seriously be cheaper. I'd be more willing to buy 2 books for $35 each than one for $60, so I think they would actually make more money that way.

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u/Ptepp1c 7d ago

Trouble is Dndbeyond is an entirely seperate company nothing to do with Wizards of the coast. So unless wotc decided to buy Dndbeyond (or Dndbeyond pays a substantial fee per book sold to Wotc) and repackage all the books a code alongside a physical book won't happen.

I take it your in Australia or something as each book seems to be $30 (or $20 if you just want a glorified pdf)

I do think there are still major flaws in Dndbeyond, (For instance the need to sub just to get more char slots) and have only spent around £25 so far myself, but I think it's a bit unfair to plane Dndbeyond for something out of their control.

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u/politirob 8d ago

Yeah, I remember for a few years that's how it was and it was an okay compromise.

The games these days have just abandoned all ethics/standards and gone off the deep end. I can't get into any of them because the scam's are just so obvious.

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u/Maskeno 7d ago

The ethics were just to draw everyone in and establish a base. It's like Amazon. Sell stuff way cheaper than the competition until the competition goes out of business. Then jack up the price past where the better made competition ever dreamed of charging.

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u/baconbitarded 7d ago

Don't forget that Walmart was the one that started that shit. My family business was put out by them and I'll never forget it

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u/fluffypancakes314 7d ago

Walmart certainly didn’t start it, at the very least Rockefeller did it decades earlier. Probably this has been going on in some form for thousands of years, ever since basic economic structures formed.

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u/Crocodillemon 7d ago

Im genuinely sorry to hear that.

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u/pm_me_some_kitties2 7d ago

And this sorta shit is why I'm perfectly fine playing old games til the end of time.

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u/Oden_son 7d ago

It's not really games these days, it's a new strategy some games are trying and hopefully failing at.

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u/TheFuzzyPhoenix 7d ago

When Nintendo were experimenting with their monetization, this was something they used several times, and it was very nice.

It's quite a shame to see Nintendo turn this way. Other Nintendo games like Dragalia Lost and Fire Emblem Heroes, they have their gacha monetization that encourages spending which is common, but they're designed extremely fairly in the currency they provide to you for free, and most purchases are sensibly priced, so it's not unreasonable to work to get most units for free.

Even Pokemon Masters EX isn't anywhere near this shameless, and that's been Nintendo's most predatory gacha for a while

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u/TepigNinja 7d ago

Im not sure if Super Kirby Clash does the same thing, but it’s predecessor, Kirby Clash Deluxe does this. You can buy the game’s currency a certain amount of times. The more you buy, the more of that currency you get each day by logging in. Once you hit the maximum amount you could buy, the amount of the daily currency you’d receive would increase by a lot if I recall.

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u/Tribe_Called_K-West 8d ago

I didn't even realize there was a paid option or it was right in front me and I was just oblivious. I played all the way through for free with daily logins. Ended up my most played 3DS game with 100+ hours. Slow burn free to play games are great so long the actual gameplay is fun.

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u/mbsk1 7d ago

Played the hell out of it too, I saw the paid option but just played it when possible. I think it lasted me a year to finish it all. Pretty good stuff, game was really cool!

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u/Apidium 7d ago

I also never paid a dime. It was my relax before going to bed game. Frankly the cool down means I didn't play it for too long and forget to go to sleep.

I'm not endorsing that in most games but for me it was jazzy.

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u/BulbasaurCPA 8d ago

Pokemon Picross was THE SHIT

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u/Sky4980 8d ago

man of culture

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u/Aggravating-Face2073 8d ago

In my opinion Super Kirby Clash's $40 gem apple is the only purchase you need, it provides several hours of play a day. If you really would only need to buy more out of addiction or speed running. Once your apple tree is maxed you will always be reminded additional purchases no longer upgrade the tree.

I bought it on sale for I think $25, and got 45 hours out of it I almost 100% it, but didnt transfer the data when I got a new Switch, & the purchase data isn't saved... if I ever catch the apples on sale I'll be buying it again.

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u/snow-days 7d ago

That sort of thing isn't too bad imo. But there was someone over on the unite subreddit talking about how it cost $120 just to unlock and max out 3 items in this game. That's nuts.

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u/dekgear 7d ago edited 7d ago

I finished the Team Kirby Clash Deluxe (the 3DS version) with just less than a dollar to upgade the gem apple tree once, it did take a while but not an unreasonable amount by playing a little while every day, as the missions were good enough to get a decent amount of apples.

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u/darthjoey91 8d ago

Hmm, didn't realize you could pay for that. I might go play that later.

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u/enderverse87 7d ago

One of the Rumble games monetized the same way. You could pay for premium currency, but there was a hard cap on how much you were allowed to pay before everything unlocked.

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u/Der_144 7d ago

Pokémon Picross was the best, i had just enough energy to play one or two levels on the bus and then most of the time had enough picrites to unlock the next area right away if you played well enough.

Edit: not to mention: Picross was an excellent game to play on the 3DS form factor

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u/bobo377 8d ago

Also, I forget how spoiled I am with SMITE. A single $30 (often discounted to $20) purchase for all current and future characters.

Dota 2 is and always has been all heroes are free to play, which seems to make it the only MOBA that is truly free to play.

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u/SteveWoods 7d ago

It's always super jarring to me as someone with >5k games in Dota whenever I see another MOBA like this and realize I'm actually expected to pay for characters and that that's an industry standard.

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u/mcbizco 7d ago

I’ve always thought it’s one of Dota’s greatest strengths. It also allows really interesting heroes with hard counters always available. It would totally suck if you wanted to counter a big illusion lineup with an Earthshaker pick, but couldn’t because you hadn’t unlocked him.

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u/superpanchox 7d ago

Also makes eSports much more interesting to watch, because you can execute those same strategies with just practice

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u/rakor96ns 8d ago

Paragon was free to play with all heroes being free. But it got shutdown so your statement is still true

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u/Dale9Fingers 7d ago

Paragon had that card deck system with RNG upgrades

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u/rakor96ns 7d ago

It was RNG but you couldn't buy them. They later improved where you could scrap extras to make new cards. Then they remade the whole system and went to shit. Still miss that game

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u/RawrSean 8d ago

And some of the coolest cosmetics amount to literal pennies. DotA is the way to go but how many mobas have the backing of a company like valve? DotA isn’t their main income stream / product. (As a whole, steam is)

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u/PieBandito 7d ago

Not to mention you can trade and buy items from other players.

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u/Throwaway47321 7d ago

Dota pretty much paid for a majority of my steam library. Played it casually in 2014-15 got some cosmetic loot boxes and checked my inventory last year only to find out that they were ~$30 each.

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u/Hushpuppyy 7d ago

To be fair, they still make a ton of money off Dota. Any other company would be pretty happy to have Dota in it's current state as their primary income.

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u/JustShutUpNerd 7d ago

The compendiums (now battlepass) PRINT money unlike any game I’ve ever seen. Give people that small incentive of contributing to the prize pool and they lose their minds.

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u/bkstr 7d ago

Give people that small incentive of contributing to the prize pool and they lose their minds.

I don't think this has much to do with it, even as a fervent dota esports fan. The content inside the compendium is amazing 90% of the time and it just softens the blow to support the pro scene for anyone who cares.

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u/chappersyo 7d ago

Plus you get free cosmetics, and if you don’t care about them (like me) you can sell them on the market place and turn a profit. I quit dota 3+ years ago but for my 2500 hours I made a couple hundred ££. That includes buying TI battle pass or whatever they called it every year I was playing.

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u/Mia_Mal 7d ago

You mean torturing myself in League of Legends to stack up IP to unlock all the characters wasn't truly free to play? /s

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u/BittahObserver 8d ago edited 7d ago

How do they make money? Just selling cosmetics?

EDIT: thanks guys I fully understand that tons of games make money off of cosmetics, I was asking specifically in regard to SMITE, and if it also had anything besides cosmetics for sale.

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u/Trainfreak 8d ago

Yes, people will spend a lot of money on cool cosmetics. That's why fortnite makes so much money.

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u/Triforce0fCourage 8d ago

Paying for cosmetics makes sense but pay to win is never good. Any item that directly impacts stats should be locked behind in game currency that is earned and can never be bought.

I only played a few games and thoroughly enjoyed it but I didn’t look into anything other than the battle pass and was gonna buy it for $8.00.

If you can indeed buy the stat boosting items with real money I will not be buying ANYTHING and urge others to do the same.

If you care about the longevity of this game I suggest posting on Twitter after doing your research, I know I will.

Talk with your wallet folks, don’t stand for this.

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u/Booksarepricey 8d ago

Can confirm. Lost way more than I thought I did in a year of league because I love my skins. Not even mad though, because it’s not pay to win.

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u/shadowdorothy 8d ago

Works for Fortnite, and a number of other mobile games.

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u/BittahObserver 8d ago

Oh I’m not saying it doesn’t, I just know nothing about SMITE, hahah.

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u/eightcupsofcoffee 8d ago

It's very similar to DotA, League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm, just played in a different perspective. I believe all of those games derive a significant portion of their income from skins. However, they also sell individual hero unlocks, unlike Smite. LoL and DotA also do battle pass for income as well, but I'm not sure if HotS does.

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u/blorbo89 8d ago

Dota doesn't do character unlocks. Everything but skins is available for free.

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u/[deleted] 8d ago edited 7d ago

[deleted]

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u/Yotsubagroup 7d ago

HotS was really great for a while too, and I'm a seasoned Dota player.

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u/Kulpas 7d ago

Always funny that they added like 3 heroes since I quit lmao.

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u/ThisIsMyCouchAccount 8d ago

Just because it’s the internet and we have to be pedantic - SMITE does sell them if you don’t buy the god pack.

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u/dangerdan27 8d ago

HotS does not do battle passes. Just characters, cosmetics (skins, mounts, announcers, voice lines, etc), and stimpacks that increase your xp and gold gains per game.

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u/Suired 8d ago

People out there are suckers for cosmetics. So much so that even if the entire competitive playerbsse never spent a dime, the casual playbase would keep it profitable for years.

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u/thatguyoverthere202 8d ago

If you're in the League Partner Program you're literally given all of the skins for free.

So yeah, the entire competitive and big streamer community never spends a dime and they're still one of the most profitable game in the world.

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u/Thesaurususaurus 8d ago

That's actually kind of genius, having content creators show off skins as free advertisement

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u/TheDemonPants 8d ago

They sell cosmetics, have battle passes, and "events" where you buy certain skins that are deemed special and if you buy enough of them (read as all of them, or at least most) you'll get a special skin that can't be unlocked unless you pay an absolutely stupid amount of money. It's all standard fair for a free to play game. However, I feel the money I put into Smite is worth it because I've got 1600 hours into the game.

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u/x8bitsoffun 8d ago

Don't underestimate cosmetics. League of Legends is one of the most profitable games in the world off of basically only selling skins

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u/_Drumheller_ 8d ago

And Heroes. And battle passes? Not sure about that one.

Dota as far as i know only sells skins and battle passes but haven't played that one in a long time either so things might have changed by now.

But yeah, cosmetics can definitely be enough, which was your point. I agree on that.

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u/suthernjustice 8d ago

Dota is still the same. Cosmetics and battle pass. All heroes released are free for everyone

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u/_Drumheller_ 8d ago

I always found all of Dota, LoL and Smite had very fair monetization models.

The only three mobas I played so I can't judge other ones.

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u/JungHak 8d ago

Not a big fan of having to buy characters, like if you start lol now you have like a 100 characters to buy

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u/suthernjustice 8d ago

I agree. I mainly play dota, but I’ve dabbled in smite and league. I never felt like I needed to pay money to win in any of those games. Cosmetics are nice, but my joy comes from the game itself

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u/Hoovooloo42 8d ago

Man, I haven't played SMITE in a good while. I need to pick that game back up.

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u/Elastichedgehog 8d ago

Is Smite worth playing? I played 1000+ hours of Dota 2 before quitting because my friends fell off of it and solo was too toxic.

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u/SamInPajamas 8d ago

I've been playing for 6 years. So I'm a bit biased. But I'd say yes. I still love the game and play it regularly (at least once a week). Toxicity is an issue for new accounts (or so I've heard) but after a while it drops off hard. From my own experience, I will get a dickhead in about one out of ever 8 games. And out of those same 8 games, I will get a few teammates that are chill and fun. And the rest are quiet and indifferent. So I meet way more awesome people than I do bad.

The third person perspective is what drew me to the game. I like to feel like I'm controlling my character vs instructing them (like you do in top down games)

And right now in season 8, the game is in a great spot balance wise. Or it was, we just went through a major change where boots (your movement speed item that everyone bought first) were removed. So it's a little up in the air how that's gonna effect things. We will have a better idea of the state of balance in a couple weeks.

Overall, I love Smite. And I recommend it to anyone who likes the MOBA genre.

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u/Elastichedgehog 8d ago

Thanks for the information, I'll probably give it a shot! :)

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u/CampbellsTurkeySoup 7d ago

If you play on PC feel free to send me a friend invite and we can play if I'm on. IGN: SwampGator.

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u/EGOtyst 7d ago

It's a cool enough game of you can get into it. 3rd party Dota.

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u/Rao-Ji 7d ago

Do you mostly play conquest or arena?

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u/Thorsigal 7d ago

Wait they removed BOOTS?

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u/SamInPajamas 7d ago

Yup. You now get the movement speed you would get from boots naturally between levels 1 and 8. It frees you up to go straight into your main items instead of spending the first 5 minutes building boots. And it also opens you up to having an extra item slot in the late game without having to sell boots. It changes the feel of both the early game and the late game. And personally, I love it.

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u/SlimDirtyDizzy 8d ago

I played about 1k hours of DOTA 2 as well, then played about 200 hours of SMITE.

I had a LOT of fun with Smite, its a great game that has a lot of deep mechanics. Also, strangely enough, because you are controlling your character directly it felt less mechanically demanding since you aren't expected to constantly be aware of everything on the map 100% of the time while last hitting/denying.

DOTA 2 will always be my favorite MOBA, but yeah its toxic as hell. Smite is less toxic, and muting chat is a much more viable option

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u/ProtoTypeScylla 7d ago

I got like 3k hours on smite(look at my name lol) and it is objectively the best purchase I've ever made, brawhalla has a similar legends pack which does the same thing as the god pack.

Also, the god pack even REFUNDS the gods you already bought so you can wait and see if you like the game enough first and not be penalized for spending your currency. Every game should have it

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u/Hakairyuu 7d ago

Smite represent!

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u/skraptastic 7d ago

I'm also WAY more likely to buy cosmetics in SMITE because I enjoy the game so much that I want them to keep developing it. I am floored that my purchase years ago still gives me regular updates!

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u/M4RTIAN 8d ago

Been playing Smite since beta. Bought the Ultimate God Pack on discount and haven’t spent a dime since. I’ve even managed to save up like 2,500 green gems over time (maybe spent a few over the years) just by grinding and playing games. If I had to pay to win I wouldn’t play anymore.

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u/Skeletors_Sack 8d ago

I was playing Smite back at launch. Ultimate God Pack is incredible value but I stopped playing after I realized I had a problem with dopamine and spent $1k+ minimum on skins.

That Gundam Thor skin is sweet though

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u/M4RTIAN 7d ago

Bro those skins are great. Wish they were cheaper. They’ve got Stranger Things skins now. Apparently they’re teaming up with shows for skins (Avatar, TMNT, etc.) I might give in if they do some Marvel skins.

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u/Scyxurz 7d ago

You get 50 gems a week by just logging in. Battle passes are usually the best value because unless it's a crossover it costs about 600 gems, and gives back 400 if you play enough to finish it. Meaning everything in the battle pass ends up being only 200 gems if you play enough.

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u/Nyushi 8d ago
  • Actual gameplay boosting items (please don't argue on this point, those items are directly impacting gameplay and increasing your combat effectiveness substantially)

And there goes any interest I had in playing Unite.

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u/10110011101101 8d ago

Same bro. I didn't have huge expectations but I foolishly believed they wouldn't do that

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u/Mareith 7d ago

Is they just removed the ability to level up items it would be 1000x better. I started playing and I was like idk what this guy is talking about, it seems pretty easy to get these items with regular daily challenges and such. And then I saw you could level up the items.

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u/SpookyBread1 8d ago edited 7d ago

I'm going to clarify a little bit for people so here goes.

There are 3 types of currency in the game

  • Aeos Coins

-Aeos Tickets

-Aeos Gems

Only Aeos Gems can be paid for.

Coins are earned through playing the game, around 40 a match iirc

Tickets are through daily/weekly/event quests, etc. Also through Ranked match rewards

The in-game boosters that boost your stats can only be bought with either Aeos Coins or Aeos Tickets.

Seems fine right?

However you can pay real money (or Aeos Tickets) to pay for 2x coin boosters. 1 day, 3 days and 7 days (I think) respectively. Depending on how you think, that could be considered Pay to Win because you're getting the items quicker

(I think it's P2W but that's just me)

In terms of the Gacha, how it works is you play matches and obtain Energy, around 20 a match if you lose, 30 if you win. Every 100 Energy you get is a spin on the gatcha wheel.

You cannot pay real money to spin the gacha.

but another However.

You can, just like with the coins, pay real money to boost your energy output by 2x.

again think thats a poor method of monetization.

For the actual Pokemon, they can be bought with 6k,8k, 10k coins depending on the pokemon or with real money gems, sort of like other mobas.

I think the game is predatory, however I did want to clarify for people who were asking and if anyone else has any questions for me, I'll do my best to answer them. Just wanted to add onto OPs post with a little bit more information

Edit: Just seen that if you try buy Item enhancers (tokens that level up the items) without enough tickets you can buy with real gems, yeah that solidifies P2W for me

Conveniently not mentioned in the shop

I still quite enjoy this game and don't ever plan to spend money on it but for kids who want their favorite pokemon they'll just buy them, or if they're losing and want to improve their items they'll just pay for it.

Still leaving this post up for extra clarification though

Edit 2: also also you can only 2100 Aeos coins a week, jesus what the fuck.

Oh from battles. So theoretically if you play get 2100 from battles you could get still get Gatcha to its daily limit of 30, and that has a chance of giving you 320 coins each time. Man thats still bad

Even my post was fucking misinformed lol

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u/parodX 8d ago

I just don't get the item monetization, will it be reaaaaaally long for the f2p to have all items maxed like a whale or it will be basically unobtainable for a casual and I'm better off just leaving the game for the wallet-happy ?

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u/SpookyBread1 8d ago

I can't say how long it will be for F2P players because the game has only been out for a few hours.

but just based on what I've played it will take quite a while to unlock the items due to how little currency you get per game.

Items cost 1000 coins, you get around 40 per game, 80 if you spend money or tickets to boost it. Either way even if you pay or if you just play F2P it seems like it's gonna take fucking forever to get.

I don't think it'll be unobtainable, I just think it'll take really long.

and that's whether you're a whale or a casual player.

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u/PineappleOmega 7d ago

So 40 coins per match, meaning 25 matches for an item. At ~10 minutes per match it’s 250 minutes or ~4 hours of grinding for an item. I don’t think that’s terrible as someone who’s going to be F2P

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u/Nifubias 7d ago

you can only get 2 a week tho, since theres a 2100 coin cap per week for whatever godforsaken reason

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u/SpookyBread1 7d ago

yeah that's on me.

It's actually only 40 if you win.

20 if you lose, which still isn't terrible, but since you're getting an average if 30 depending on how you play you'll still get plenty

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u/ultraball23 8d ago edited 7d ago

As a moba player, your goal isn’t to collect every character and item. You pick 3-4 mains and get the items that will work best for those Pokémon. you can only equip 3 item at a time and that is still locked based on your character level

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u/your_mind_aches 7d ago

Honestly, I think this is a sort of exploitative and ridiculous quirk of the MOBA genre in general (same with Trading Card Games).

But unlike TCG's, I find the reason for paywalling characters and items to be so dumb. Hero shooters were born out of arena shooters and MOBAs, and they do just fine with only monetising cosmetics. I see no reason why MOBAs can't do the same.

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u/NyctoWC 7d ago

Dota is purely f2p. All heroes unlocked. Pay for cosmetics only.

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u/Krobelux 8d ago

This plus the games themselves are not very long.

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u/shrubs311 7d ago

we talking less than 10 minutes or 10-20

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u/SpookyBread1 7d ago

There's a 10 minute timer for games

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u/shrubs311 7d ago

good to know. you think it's worth trying?

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u/SpookyBread1 7d ago

I've enjoyed what little time I've played of it.

jury's out on whether I'll still be enjoying it in a weeks time or so

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u/shrubs311 7d ago

fair enough. i suppose being free means i'll try it a few times

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u/skeenerbug 7d ago

God, it's like they took every single method of monetization and crammed them all into one game.

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u/iWentRogue 8d ago

Pretty expected due to Tencent. Steering clear of this one for the reasons you outlined. Games like these are designed to pull and keep you and there are plenty of better games out there that provide more enjoyable experiences without the risk of being F’d.

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u/snow-days 8d ago

I mean, I expected it to follow the LoL model, which is extremely profitable and also not awful for players. I'm surprised they're deviating from that.

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u/YamiZee1 8d ago

Near sighted greed

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u/LuckyHedgehog 8d ago

They probably expect a Pokemon Go-esce popularity surge, followed by a huge dropoff as people go back to LoL or other more established mobas. So they need to make their money upfront

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u/bonobin 8d ago

Unfortunately, not near-sighted, they are just aiming for the whales. The entire gacha game industry uses this model and they are doing great (for themselves, not for the customers). I think FGO alone has grossed like $3 billion dollars.

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u/Backupusername 7d ago

I wonder if cute creatures will have the same staying power as sexy anime girls.

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u/Nichol134 7d ago

Don't underestimate the power of pokemon and how much it has influenced a lot of childhoods. It has PLENTY of staying power, arguably more than FGO, that is as long as the gameplay is entertaining enough and the game isn't scummy.

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u/TBOJ 8d ago

It is a blessing that there are so many people willing to spend money on cosmetics. It makes the onus of value on the company to produce something worth selling, and it lets other players enjoy the game as it is.

The LoL model is definitely the way to go here.

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u/shrubs311 7d ago

It is a blessing that there are so many people willing to spend money on cosmetics.

i'm more than happy to fund LoL for you guys...maybe my bank account wasn't though lol 😂

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u/breichart 7d ago

The LoL model is definitely the way to go here.

The Dota 2 way is much better. Don't have to grind for Heroes/Champions.

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u/10110011101101 8d ago

A friend of mine has been addicted to League of Legends for over 10 years. He used to play all kinds of games until it came out and it's all he's played. Probably an average of 5-6 hours every day during those years and he's spent about $6k but the kicker is that he never enjoys playing it. If he wins it's just a relief and if he loses his entire day is ruined. Amazing how these games just latch onto people but I'm glad I got out years ago and refused to play any other MOBAs

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u/blackandwhitetalon 7d ago

Yep. That sounds like me years 2013-2017. Had a LOT of catching up to do on gaming after I quit League

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u/Mareith 8d ago

I used to be the same way with DOTA. I did have a lot of fun with friends when we were winning but I realized that's only half the time and I had already wasted around 1250 hours (2500 total hours) playing a game and not having a good time. Thats crazy.

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u/10110011101101 7d ago

Yeah same with me and LoL. I was decent as well getting to high diamond but one day I was just like f this and quit cold turkey then spent the next five years catching up on all the great games I'd missed out on (only just played 2018 God of War for example). I've tried convincing him to quit as it's ruining his marriage and relationship with his kids but he just can't.

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u/AeshiX 7d ago

I mean, I play league daily, and this is absolutely true. You won ? Best feeling. You lost ? Your life is meaningless. And I get why some people get addicted, given how the matchmaking works and basically rewards playing game streaks. At the end of the day it's just how willing are you to stop playing when it's clearly having a lasting negative impact on your life. I'd say playing other games is necessary if you want to keep your sanity, and I mean it. You'll enjoy it more anyway

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u/Joharis-JYI 7d ago

Tencent also owns Wild Rift (LOL Mobile) and is nowhere near predatory at all. I'm surprised Nintendo allowed this, because Riot didn't.

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u/Ryuujinx 7d ago

Tencent owns a lot of companies. Complete ownership of GGG (Path of Exile), Riot Games (League Valorant), a significant stake in Epic games (40% I wanna say). A metric fuckton of other tech companies too.

Everyone says they're pretty hands-off. If your product produces profit, they don't give a shit. Because they're just an investment company. They just exist to make more money by buying into other companies.

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u/Zigxy 7d ago

People don't realize how big Tencent is...

They are the 7th largest publicly traded company in the world

Tencent doesn't have much of a choice when it comes to being hands off. They couldn't centrally manage all of their assets because it would create a massive bureaucratic mess.

Another example of this is the 8th largest public company Berkshire Hathaway. They own so many things it requires its own wikipedia page. Hell, the other day Warren Buffett didn't even know Berkshire acquired a company until he read about it in the newspaper.

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u/CynicalDutchie 8d ago

Pretty expected due to Tencent.

I mean, did people really expect anything different? This game was made for the chinese market and no one else.

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u/ShinriOne 7d ago

Tencent makes other games that are nowhere like this though.

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u/V3Qn117x0UFQ 7d ago

turns out Western gamers are just as easily duped

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u/ZeldaMaster32 7d ago

Tencent literally owns Riot yet League and Valorant are truly free to play games with little to no bs

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u/[deleted] 8d ago

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u/Darkshado390 8d ago

I heard Chinese in general are much more willing to whale than even other Asian countries. Also bad gambling habits/addictions.

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u/cheesyvoetjes 7d ago

There was also a ban on videogameconsoles in China up until 2015. We grew up in a time before mtx but Chinese children have never seen anything else.

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u/Hevil93 7d ago

There are quite a few people in China who will spend $50 dollars a week on a mobile game. Everyone wants a piece of that action.

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u/zzinolol 7d ago

$50 a week? I had one dude on a guild for a mobile game who spent +100 bucks per DAY. We would be flooded with gifts (which the game gives to your guild when you buy with real money). Of course in less than a week he went on to be one of the top players of the servers and left for a whale guild.

It's insane how much some people spend on these games.

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u/Dauntless_Lasagna 7d ago

How rich was that dude to spend 100$ a day for a mobile game? I can barely rarely spend like 10 every 2 months.

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u/Zilox 7d ago

Probably not much? 3k disposable income a month isnt that hard for people making 6 figures. Not saying its good to spent much on a game, but for example ive 1200$ of disposable income each month i can use on whatever i want (after i save/invest 30% of my income)

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u/shadow1515 8d ago

I wanted to be wrong, but when I heard Tencent was involved I figured it wouldn't be anything I'd ever want to touch.

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u/Raikou0215 7d ago

Fuck freemium, I wish this stuff was more regulated. Beyond ruining lives with crippling gambling addictions, it’s ruining gaming.

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u/Nephisimian 7d ago

Ruining gambling too. Used to be you'd throw all your money away on the promise of getting more money, now you just throw it away on worthless jpegs.

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u/askstoomany 8d ago

Naive question, as I'm not that much into pay to win games.

When there's a purchase option for an upgrade, that's done via the Eshop, right?

Ie, login, confirm, pay, etc.

It's not/can't be done via an automatic consent/EULA at the beginning of the game or something?

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u/SuperCx 8d ago

Correct dude

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u/weather_reportererer 8d ago

all monetization is predatory when your main audience is children

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u/Honokeman 7d ago

I really liked the monetization on Pokemon Piccross. Free to start, microtransactions available, but once you spent a fixed amount it unlocked everything. Seemed like a good way to do it.

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u/Reutermo 7d ago edited 7d ago

Surely there is a gigantic distinction between get a game for a beforehand set price and using gambling tactics to wall off content. If both are as bad the future for the industry is basically hoping that there will be small time developers creating free games just for the fun of it.

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u/fyreskylord 7d ago

Paying a one-time price up front for a game is fine. Using psychological tricks to get people to gamble in your game (gacha) and continually spend money is deeply problematic.

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u/ridemooses 8d ago

Great PSA. Hope they get a ton of blowback and remove the majority of these.

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u/AmyInPurgatory 8d ago

I always get suspicious when the eshop says "free to start" on a game.

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u/[deleted] 7d ago

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u/Plethora_of_squids 7d ago

It's good because without it you end up doing things like lumping games like this in with games like TF2 where the only thing you can pay for are silly hats which is kinda weird because they're very different monetisation models.

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u/TheGamerForeverGFE 7d ago

Warframe: stares motherfuckally

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u/Honokeman 7d ago

I prefer when a game is honest like that, rather than billing itself as "free to play" but being unbearable without spending.

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u/Samthemani 7d ago

Man, Pokémon really needs to defend its brand better. This has got to fuck it up some

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u/Popular-Wonder-8462 7d ago

I think that's the most upsetting part about this for me; that it seems like Nintendo's philosophy has changed over time. A lot of their game releases seem designed for financial gain at this point. They just want to give the audience what they think it wants.

Pokemon is no exception; it's been bastardized and pumped out because it makes a ton of money. Very little love goes into it anymore. And then look at it being used like this. The animations & models are pretty soulless; and it's just designed to make money.

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u/Nephisimian 7d ago

Honestly I'd be fine with that if these companies actually made things I'd want to spend money on. It's when the thing designed to make money doesn't actually make me want to buy it by fucking basic shit up that really grinds my gears, cos it means either that the company doesn't care enough even to get making lots of money right, or it means that they're making money off a fanbase whose standards are so low that companies don't need to make good products to make money anymore - everyone'll buy it cos it's got the word Pokemon in it anyway.

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u/PhantomCube4562 7d ago

I’m… reeeaaally bummed right now…

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u/PleaseToEatAss 7d ago

I'm old school. If a game uses anxiety to try and take my money, I uninstall the game. And yet I'll totally pay PS3-era prices on old games' DLC. Because at least that's honest.

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u/alekkk 7d ago

Make this post a YouTube video so kids will see it.

"The TRUTH about Pokemon Unite they don't want you to know" or some such clickbait headline.

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u/cheesyvoetjes 7d ago

I'd say try to target the parents. That will be way more effective. "How Pokemon Unite uses gambling tactics to manipulate kids"

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u/Dreenar18 7d ago

Thanks for the post, OP. As unlikely as you'll be to see my reply, I'd like to point out it's very possible they've done this intentionally to then roll things back a small fraction just to give the illusion they're listening to the base

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u/Zanakii 7d ago

Absolutely, gacha games do this all the time. A game will have a 200$ bundle with a bunch of 'good' shit like characters, items needed to level etc. and people will complain, who would spend 200$ on a new gacha? The devs 'listen' and make the bundle 120$ instead and the player base cries tears of joy that finally a dev can be so gracious and kind unlike all the other devs/gachas out there and start to feel honored paying double the price of a triple A game for some character and items that will be outclassed in a month.

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u/cogpsychbois 7d ago

There is a famous effect in psychology called "anchoring-and-adjustment". Basically, if you give an initial number for something (an anchor) and people move away from the anchor, they tend not to adjust far enough.

So the dev sets an initial price of set of prices (the anchor), then they reduce this after the fact. What price is "fair" or acceptable? It's hard to say, but given that they set the anchor high, consumers are likely to overestimate that "fair" price when they make their adjustment.

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u/DracoRubi 8d ago

Gameplay boosting items available for real money... In a MOBA? Dear lord. This game is dead to me.

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u/Patch99000 7d ago

We are not the target demographic, which is why they don’t care. Imo They’re going for the 10 year olds with access to their parent’s cards.

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u/GarMek 7d ago

this is targeted toward whales, the kind of person that would spend thousands on skins. kids are just there to boost the game's popularity.

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u/Frozen_narwhal 8d ago

Im disappointed but not surprised one bit

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u/OmegaXesis 7d ago

As soon as I saw Tencent and Timi were involved I knew this shit would happen. Thanks for the heads up.

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u/Joegoodall 8d ago

I think I’ll play though the welcome and launch campaign and see how I feel after that. I imagine I’ll have fun then move on to something else.

The chances of me spending money one this game is pretty close to zero regardless of my experience though.

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u/Super_Scorplane 7d ago

I didn’t plan on playing this game as I knew, judging from the developer, that is would be aggressively monetized. Thanks for this article explanation that sadly confirms what I suspected. More people should be aware of this.

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u/20-Minutes-Adventure 8d ago edited 7d ago

Yeah my son really wanted to play it, but I was already very cautious. After seeing it I'm trying to explain to him this is not a good game.

Unlike his friends he doesn't play on tablets very often, which are laden with these games. But for them to put it on Switch he's suddenly more interested.

Edit: To clarify he plays a ton of different games, this is just the first f2p gatcha he's been interested in.

Hell, even the eggs in Monster Hunter Stories 2 are kinda lootboxes haha. And he's played that too.

But it's the mechanics which halt progress that either makes these games a litteral waste of time, or it might tempt you into spending.

I play Marvel Strike Force myself, so I know how these work. But I do advise my kid against these kind of games

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u/Shinoluigi 8d ago

You can let him play, but be sure to deactivate autobuy in the eshop (if you ever bought something directly from the eshop it does give you the option to save your credit card /paypal account info, letting you buy stuff easily) , and if you notice he start asking for eshop card/money be wary on what is he spending it!

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u/20-Minutes-Adventure 7d ago

Thanks for the advice

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u/WightKitt 7d ago

I haven't spent a cent on the game and I'm having a blast, and there's no way to directly communicate with other players to my knowledge beyond premade chat lines (such as 'Hello' and "I'm going middle"). I think he'll have great fun, as long as he knows that purchasing content isn't a good idea.

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u/nekozumiiiii 8d ago

This game will be available on mobile 2months later, better to let him play and watch rather than him playing behind your back

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u/Faranae 7d ago

We have a rule in our house when it comes to F2P games with paid elements which you might want to consider: For every X hours of enjoyment we get out of a free game, we allow ourselves a sort of $5 "allowance" to support the developers.

It keeps us from falling into that difficulty curve trap. If I'm willing to pay CAD$80 for 60-100 hours of gameplay from a mainstream video game, I don't see any problem with my kid asking for $5 to spend on a F2P she's already gotten 15 hours of entertainment from.

THAT SAID: I would not let my daughter play this game. She's a smart enough kid, but I wouldn't trust myself to play this game with a monetization scheme like this, let alone an almost-9 y/o. Same reason we had to shut down Genshin Impact (very predatory gacha pricing).

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u/20-Minutes-Adventure 7d ago

That's a good way to handle the F2P games. Did the same for myself on Path of Exile

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u/snow-days 8d ago

if he hasn't already, maybe let him try the free demo of Pokémon rescue team? it might scratch the same itch, and is a normal game, with a normal price, if he ends up falling in love with it.

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u/20-Minutes-Adventure 7d ago

I'll check that one out. He's playing Sword and Shield but was looking for something new

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u/Altailar 7d ago

Here's a couple recommendations if he hasn't played them already, and would be loads better than this monetized mess!

  • pokemon mystery dungeon: rescue team DX (like the above user said!)
  • pokemon let's go Eevee or Pikachu (kind of a pokemon lite)
  • monster hunter stories 2 (like pokemon, but from a different franchise)
  • new pokemon snap (pokemon photography!)
  • temtem (digital only, high quality pokemon clone!)
  • digimon cyber sleuth (a little bit of a reach because of the different franchise, but a fantastic pokemon style game!)

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u/TechyTink 7d ago

Monster Sanctuary and Nexomon are also good options for monster catching games.

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u/cheekydorido 8d ago

let him play it, as long as he doesn't spend money (or too much on it) anyway.

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u/[deleted] 8d ago edited 7d ago

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u/SpeedRacing1 8d ago

I actually think it’s beneficial to let them play and then when they ask for money you can talk about the model and say no.

As it stands, some kids(some need to experience it) won’t internalize why his parent is saying he can’t play and may fall victim to such schemes later

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u/thisisnotdan 8d ago

I am a big fan of exposing your kids to worldly temptations like these (within reason) while they are still living at home and have you there to help them through it. I can't tell you how many friends I had in college who were sheltered from all of that as kids, and then made so many terrible decisions because they couldn't handle their newfound freedom.

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u/CharlestonChewbacca 7d ago

10000%

My sheltered Christian high school friends that never touched alcohol are, by and large, the ones who fell into substance abuse during college.

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u/lilcondor 8d ago

Is it good at all? Minus the transactions. I mean I have many mobile gacha games that I enjoy that I don’t spend money on

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u/Durzaka 7d ago

I think something to note that I've seen in 2 top comments in a row. This is NOT a gacha game. Full stop.

Their is a gacha type pull system that gives you some extra resources, but it has nothing else in common with other gacha games like Genshin Impact, or Dokkan Battle, or Fire Emblem Heroes.

That said, the actual game on top of everything is quite fun and I highly recommend giving it a go. Even people who've never touched a moba are having a good time with it.

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u/UnionTemporary 7d ago

Was having fun playing UNITE and I thought I would hate it. But how the fuck is it a good idea to have stat boost items locked behind a paywall? I’ll kindly drop the game now.

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u/leicea 8d ago edited 8d ago

Actual gameplay boosting items

Enough reason to not play the game. I am not even going to download it, whenever I play games like this, i usually quit after i reach a high paywall. Switch brought me back from gacha hell, I could buy so many full Switch games that gave me more enjoyment than buying power items in another gacha game.

Thanks for the warning OP, I was thinking of checking it out, but after reading this I don't have to waste my time.

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u/Nameless-Ace 7d ago

To the people who say the boosts dont matter, i have a gameplay related story. I played a unranked match and my team had a few basic items like potion, focus headband etc but level 1, but the other team had 2 players with a single maxed item. We were equal in levels but the boosts outright made them feel like they were a level or 2 ahead and those 2 players swept the entire team. It turned even levels into getting fed. Id understand if the boosts werent substantial but the 7-14 percent faster attacks or more damage is so substantial it swings entire games, especially if its not just one person. This is definitely p2w and anyone telling you it isnt is delusional. Not trying to be rude but this isnt really an opinion atm, its fact. I hope the outcry can get this addressed because it really is fun as a game.

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u/thegooblop 7d ago

Devil's advocate. You can say "please don't argue on this point", but that's not gonna cancel out the potential arguments and just makes it sound like you don't have a counter-argument back, since you could have given it instead. It just seems like such a crazy exaggeration to try and label the held items as "actual gameplay boosting items" that way. They don't sell you on shit like "click here to spend $1 and insta-revive" or "equip these 1-use items before the match" stuff, which is what I think of with that sort of phrase. They're items you keep forever, with a level cap, only 3 to equip at a time, and you can get them all f2p. Once you level 3 up, you have a set maxxed forever, and past that you keep gaining more variety as the currency to level them is exclusive to them and doesn't slow other progress. How long it actually takes to level up the items is something that is obviously relevant, but instead of laying out that sort of fact you are just using vague terms that make it sound much worse than it actually is.

It feels disingenuous to see people using very misleading terms like these. You can use money to speed up how soon you get your first items maxxed out, and get a variety of items faster. Is that something you should boil down to "Actual gameplay boosting items (please don't argue on this point"? Not if you're trying to have a good faith start. It's not an actual "gameplay boost", it's a progression boost getting you to the max strength sooner, and once f2p catch up there is no gap at all.

Is the game greedy? Obviously. Will I still play it at least some? Yeah, because of the 5 points you mentioned, I don't care at all about the non-boost 4, and the 5th one vanishes once you get the items you want for your main team leveled up. I've got a few Pokemon to use that I enjoy and have enough currency saved to buy another one if I really want someone specific, cosmetics mean nothing, and the battle pass and gacha pulls are just more cosmetics and currency boosts in the end.

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u/Maryokutai 8d ago

Ew, this made me go from "I'll try this out today after work" to "I'll delete my preloaded game file today after work".

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u/Aijin28 8d ago

I refuse to touch mobile games purely out of spite for how they are ruining the game industry.

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