Free to Play

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Synonyms: F2P, F2S/free to start
See also: Pay to win, Loot boxes in Gaming, Whales, Pay to play
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Free to play (F2P) has two distinct meanings within the gaming community:

  • A game itself can be "free to play," meaning that the core game is free of charge to play and requires no initial purchases
  • A player of a game can be "F2P," meaning that they don't pay money to play the game even if microtransactions are available

It is not mutually exclusive term from the term P2W, because a game can be free to play while still being pay to win. Many mobile puzzle games such as Candy Crush, for example, are free to play but feature consumable items that can be purchased with real-world money but these items aren't necessary to play the game. They simply make the levels (potentially) easier to complete or allow you to play for longer. Most people are fine with (or resigned to) the fact that free to play games are often predicated on the the pay to win model, but take issue with Triple A games such as Assassin's Creed: Odyssey[1] or Fallout 76[2] featuring microtransactions. These people believe that if you pay $60USD or more, depending on the currency, you shouldn't also have to pay for features that should have been included in the base game, while free to play games are slightly more leeway in that they did not require an initial purchase so if a player chooses to support the developers if they enjoyed the game that isn't inherently a bad thing.


  1. ^ Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has a huge grinding and microtransaction problem. Posted 3 Oct 2018. Accessed 23 Sept 2019.
  2. ^ Fallout 76 fans are furious over the newest cash shop items. Posted 11 Sept 2019. Accessed 23 Sept 2019.