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The Great Online Gaming Debate: Pay to Play vs Free to Play

The gaming community has been through quite a ruckus ever since online gaming existed. The balance of this particular economy has shifted back and forth between two major categories: Pay to Play (P2P) games and Free to Play (F2P) games.


What is P2P?

P2P games involve directly paying the company behind a game to fully access their services. You pay them through either of these two methods:


  • Monthly payment.Games like the World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV are classified under this subcategory, since you need to pay them on a monthly basis to avail the game.
  • One-time payment.This method allows you to buy access to the entire game after a one-time purchase. Once you havepaid for the game client, you'll have access to everything the game has to offer. A couple of games under this subcategory include Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2.


What is F2P?

F2P games do not require an upfront payment. Since it comes for free, these games mostly feature a conglomerate of different countries playing within their servers, so expect to encounter different types of personalities (from trolls to honorable opponents). Some examples of this gaming model include Dragon Nest SEA, RaiderZ, and the popular Ragnarok Online.


F2P games come with a unique feature as their revenue model: Item malls.


  • The Item Mall sells"premium items”. These are things that are not found in-game, but they help improve a player’s gaming experience. Costumes, item protection scrolls, EXP raise, mounts, and skill/stat reset items are commonly found on Item Malls.
  • These itemsare totally optional, but as the game gets older and progresses further, the premium items become important aspects of the game. The F2P economy commonly focuses on Item Mall premiums as their staple currency after a while.


The Great Debate: P2P vs F2P

Now on to the debate! We asked several gamers what they think about this and had some surprising answers.


Question: Which do you prefer? Pay to Play or Free to Play games? Why?


Kai Buhay, currently playing Path of Exile

"I prefer Free to Play, since I easily get tired of something. When I finish agame, I often don't touch it anymore like what happened to the last P2P game I played. I usually just waste my money when I buy games."


Ken Aoki, currently playing Path of Exile

"Pay to Play, since usually, P2P cash shops are more on cosmetic changes only. F2P Item Malls usually turn into Pay to Win things with overpowered gears."


Mark Gachitorena, currently playing TERA Online

"Free to Play with perks, like what TERA is doing right now. Perks, but not 'Freemium' or Pay to Win stuff. I just like cash shop items like gold and EXP boosts, not those gears with +stats on them."


Andy Nguyen, currently playing TERA Online

"Depends. If I got some extra cash, P2P. I often run into friendly people who are willing to cooperate with you. Some F2P games are alright, but I prefer P2P just because of the type of people I run into."


Sheenah Tan, currently playing Diablo 2

"For MMORPGs, I like P2P games more, but not games like Tantra where you actually buy gears. I just want games that are worth my money. For FPS games though, I prefer them free."


Rod Tolentino, currently playing Diablo 3

"Free to Play, since I don't have to pay for anything. It's just a game, man. Although games like Diablo 3 are definitely worth my money."


Stephenie Sy, currently addicted to Dragon Nest SEA

"F2P for me. Instead of buying the game, I want to enjoy it first and spend my money on costumes and other in-game stuff later. I need to experience it first before I buy anything else."


Jerry Segui, professional CounterStrike gamer

"Pay to Play games. Less trolls and retards."


Jason Acidre, professional CounterStrike gamer

"Pay to Play games. The new Counter-Strike Go is a paid game, so yeah. Less hassle as well, since I only get to compete with good players—all who make the most of their money."


Vincent Sevilla, currently playing Torchlight 2

"Free to Play, because games are made just for fun."


Eric Sanchez, currently addicted to League of Legends

"Pay to Play. Less retards and more pros, making competitions fun and exciting."


Karen Briz, currently hooked on League of Legends

"Pay to Play games for me. I don't like overpowered people, especially when I join in late and all those rich/high ranking people have better gears just because they have money to spend on Item Malls in F2P games. I like it smooth and exciting, where you build your character’s level from dirt to the top."


So there you have it. These are just some reactions we got from players, and they obviously have different views on F2P and P2P. What about you? Where do you stand on this debate? Pop a comment on the comments section below and share your thoughts.


  • Blog
  •  The Great Online Gaming Debate: Pay to Play vs Free to Play