15 Best Pay-To-Win Games in 2023

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With the growing technology, some pretty addictive pay-to-win games are being released. We’ve all been there, and we all got hooked at one point in time. This is a big injustice to all the dedicated players who can’t and won’t buy the premium features. But you can’t stop developers from making money, and you can’t stop gamers from spending it; taking that into account, we bring you a list of the best pay-to-win games.

Editor’s Note: This list was updated in November 2023 to include some of the new releases.

1. APB: Reloaded

15 Best Pay-To-Win Games (2021 Updated)

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

APB (also known as All Points Bulletin) Reloaded is a next-level online video game, aesthetically designed by David Jones and currently available for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Play Station 4. GTA-inspired APB Reloaded is an action-adventure third-person shooter MMO-based video game specially designed into two fractions of cops and robbers. APB is the worst because it hardly lets a freemium player advance to the late game, so a player can’t access upgraded weapons, gear skins, and vehicles without paying.

2. Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga 2012

Platforms: Android, iOS

Is there a more notorious pay-to-win game than Candy Crush? Candy Crush Saga is notable among different age groups. This sweet and addictive game with infinite levels was developed back in 2012, and it’s still going strong. It’s available on both Android and iOS. Candy Crush Saga is a single-player puzzle video game awarded the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Mobile Game in 2016.

If you suck at this type of game, prepare your wallet. If you, by any chance, lose a round, it will take 30 minutes to regain a single life. You can always buy life, and the game itself can be upgraded with paid features in the form of power-ups and instant health regeneration.

3. Angry Birds Go!

15 Best Pay-To-Win Games (2021 Updated)

Platforms: Android, iOS

Rovio Entertainment has created this very intriguing, fun, and adventurous game of a few colorful characters (bad piggies). Designed by Nic Cusworth and directed by Jon Gibson. Angry Birds Go racing game is for Android and iOS users and supports multiplayer and single-player mods. How did it end up on our list of best pay-to-win games?

Although the game offers some real car racing experience, certain drawbacks ruin the excitement over time. Initially, the gameplay is limited to five running tracks for players. You have to wait for a long time for upgrades to complete. The upgraded carts are over-priced (the most expensive one goes for 1500 gems) and can only be purchased with the in-game currency, which can, in turn, be purchased only with real money and can’t be farmed in-game.

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4. Destiny 2

15 Best Pay-To-Win Games (2021 Updated)

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Destiny Franchise was developed as an online multiplayer action-based FPS game, and some time ago, it became free to play. Many players are complaining that it’s not actually a pay-to-win game; it’s a pay-to-play game. Most of the complaints are coming due to the fact that some items and features are locked behind a season pass. I would say that’s fair. Destiny is not like most of the games on this list; it’s a legitimate game developed primarily to be good and, second, to turn a profit.

5. Warframe

Warframe 2013

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Digital Extremes developed Warframe back in 2013. The game was a near-instant success and built an amazing community of devoted fans. Warframe is a classic grindfest, and it’s free at the same time. You know what that means – it’s pay to win. Their pay-to-win model works better than most of the games on this list.

6. Clash of Clans

15 Best Pay-To-Win Games (2021 Updated)

Platforms: Android, iOS

Clash of Clans is the 2nd most popular online freemium game of the genre strategy. It has been released for iOS and Android. This game is all about building villages and training troops; however, the pay-to-win model is clever. The player needs to win more gems to build faster and train more troops faster.

You’ve probably seen Clash of Clans ads all over the internet; now you know why it’s so popular. It’s an overall entertaining game with a pay-to-win system, it’s worth a try if you’re into mobile strategies.

7. Diablo Immortal

Hilts trade

Platforms: Android, iOS, PC

Even though it generated quite the backlash on release, it turned out to be a solid game. Diablo Immortal is a mobile MMORPG, but it was ultimately decided that it would be released for PC, too. Set in the Diablo universe, it simply couldn’t fail. And it didn’t, even though it’s a pay-to-win game. You can buy anything in Diablo Immortal, from items to cosmetics, in-game currency, and XP boosters. You can play the game totally free, but it’s going to be hard, and eventually, the paying players will outrank you, and you will be stuck in a neverending grindfest just to come close to them. It’s impossible to advance through the endgame without paying.

8. Genshin Impact

how many people play genshin impact

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Android, iOS

Like all games on this list, Genshin Impact is a free-to-play game, but what landed it on this list is the gacha system. Players can spend real money to obtain new characters and weapons through a randomized loot box mechanic. Some of the strongest characters and weapons in the game are often locked behind these microtransactions, and the only way to advance through the game while being free to play is through impossible levels of grind. The model works better than with most games however.

9. Dragon Ball Legends

Dragon Ball Legends

Platforms: Android, iOS

Dragon Ball Legends is criticized as being pay-to-win due to the same reason as Genshin Impact, the gacha system. Yes, it’s possible to play while being “freemium.”Players who spend money on in-game currency have the opportunity to acquire stronger characters more quickly, giving them a potential advantage in battles, particularly in competitive modes.

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10. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars The Old Republic

Platforms: PC

Star Wars: The Old Republic is not a direct pay-to-win game, but it’s sure as hell easier when you’re paying for the game. It doesn’t have hidden fees. Instead, it has a flat subscription if you’re willing to go down that route, but the game itself does almost everything in its power to talk you into paying for the sub or spending money on it. The Cartel Market offers a variety of items, including gear, mounts, and cosmetic enhancements. Some of these items can provide stat boosts or other advantages, which can be seen as a way for players to gain an edge through real-money purchases as well.

11. Marvel Contest of Champions

Marvel Contest of Champions

Platforms: Android, iOS

Marvel Contest of Champions is sometimes criticized for being pay-to-win due to its microtransaction model and gacha-style gameplay. The game features a premium currency, Units, which players can purchase with real money. Units are used for various in-game activities, including purchasing crystals that contain new champions, refilling energy, and reviving characters during battles. And yes, exactly as it sounds, it makes the game infinitely easier to play.

12. Hearthstone

Hearthstone

Platforms: Android, iOS, PC

Hearthstone isn’t aggressively pay to win, I played the game for years with moderate success and never spent a dime on it, I’ll admit, but times are changing, and now it seems like you can’t play competitively without spending massive amounts of money on packs. But this is the problem with most free-to-play card games. The game also regularly releases expansions and adventures that introduce new cards. While some content can be unlocked through in-game currency, purchasing these expansions with real money allows players to access new and potentially stronger cards more quickly.

13. Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Modern Combat 5

Platforms: PC, Switch, Android, iOS

Modern Combat 5: Blackout features in-game currency credits, which can be purchased with real money. Players can use these credits to buy powerful weapons, equipment, and upgrades, potentially giving paying players access to better gear that can offer a competitive advantage.

14. Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0

Call of Duty Warzone 2.0

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Activision faced criticism for introducing a $12 Bomb Squad cosmetic bundle in Warzone 2.0 that, despite being labeled as a “DMZ boost,” was seen by players as pay-to-win. The bundle provides advantageous perks in the game’s extraction mode, such as a medium backpack from Fender’s skin and a shorter cooldown for the included SAKIN MG38 LMG, leading to disappointment among fans. The game is slowly but surely turning into pay-to-win.

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15. Escape From Tarkov

Escape From Tarkov 1

Platforms: PC

Escape From Tarkov is most likely the most brazenfaced pay-to-win game on this list; why? Because the game is not freemium in the first place. Despite being in closed beta for forever now and not technically released and being plagued with various bugs, it cost a ludicrous amount of money. Also, the players who are willing to spend even more money get tangible advantages over players who only BOUGHT the standard edition of the game. Players who purchase more expensive editions of the game receive additional starting gear and items, larger secure containers, and a higher starting trader reputation.

Have a game to add to the list? Rant away and let us know in the comments below!

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