Pay to win is an expression for games that promote themselves as “free to play” but offer purchasable content that puts buyers into a favorable position over their fellow players who are playing the game freely.
While the exact origin of the phrase is unclear, the expression “free to play” was used since the 2000’s.
“Pay to win” started emerging around the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, when game studios started implementing the feature of in-game purchases in their free to play video games.
The rapidly growing prevalence of “pay to win” games resulted in the expression becoming embedded into the language used by gamers, as the experience reached most players.
“Pay to win” was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2011.
- Game Designing – Pay-to-Win Games Are Here To Stay: How Much Are You Willing To Pay?
- Reddit – r/truegaming
- Cyberdefinitions – What Does P2W Mean?