Shackpets | Available on iOS and Google Play Store

Is Pokemon Unite pay-to-win?

Discover whether the microtransactions that are in Pokemon Unite make it a pay-to-win title or whether it's an even playing field.

3

Pokemon Unite is a free-to-play game, which means players will inevitably wonder whether that makes it a pay-to-win experience. It’s not unusual for free games to feature in-game microtransactions, but sometimes these can change from being purely cosmetic to offering buyers a slight advantage over their non-paying opponents.

Last updated on July 25, 2021 at 6:20 p.m. PT.

Is Pokemon Unite pay-to-win?

Unfortunately, Pokemon Unite does feature a pay-to-win method, and one that is quite well hidden. Credit to Chatty user Lexgamer and reader Matthijs for writing in to highlight this microtransaction which has a direct impact on a Pokemon’s stats. You can check out a Reddit post by SpeedRacing1 that runs through some more details.

The crux of the pay-to-win is that Pokemon Unite has several items that can be equipped on Pokemon. These items can be upgraded from Level 1 to 30, with each level increasing the item’s stats and effectiveness. To upgrade the item, players need an increasing number of Item Enhancers per level. These Item Enhancers are awarded through leveling up the trainer, events and milestones, and the battle pass. They can also be purchased from the store.

In order to get one item to level 30, players must use 2,587 Item Enhancers. While it is possible to earn these from playing, a good method is to buy them from the store using Aeos Tickets. One Item Enhancer costs 10 Aeos Tickets. Aeos Tickets are another in-game currency that is awarded from ranked matches, trainer leveling, and the battle pass.

pokemon unite pay to win

While the store only says Item Enhancers can be bought with Aeos Tickets, if the player runs out of tickets and goes to buy an Item Enhancer, the store will prompt the player to use Aeos Gems. These gems are the premium currency purchased using real-world money. The conversion is 1 Aeos Gem for 1 Item Enhancer.

Now, keep in mind each Held Item requires 2,587 Item Enhancers to upgrade to Level 30. There are 16 Held Items in the game. Players that want to upgrade them all to Level 30 will need 41,392 Item Enhancers. If you only bought Item Enhancers using Aeos Tickets, you would need 413,920 Aeos Tickets.

Acquiring that many tickets will take a lot of time, which is why some players may opt to spend cash to skip this grind. Right now, the best value-for-money at launch is to spend $99.99 for 6,000 Aeos Gems which comes with 1,100 bonus gems – this is roughly $1 for 71 Aeos Gems, or approximately $36 to upgrade one Held Item to Level 30.

In essence, players can spend real-world money to buy Item Enhancers, which are used to level up Held Items, which directly make a Pokemon stronger.

The only saving grace here is that paying is not the only way to take advantage of this. Players are able to increase all the Held Items to Level 30 by simply playing the game. Paying just skips this grind. In time, most players will be able to get everything they want to Level 30.

Unfortunately, Pokemon Unite features a pay-to-win method that allows paying players to skip the grind and level up powerful items earlier than non-paying players. Despite the fact you don’t need to spend money to enjoy the game, if a paying customer can get a power advantage significantly sooner than a non-paying one, it is a form of pay-to-win. We’ll be sure to keep you updated should the situation change. Be sure to take a moment to check out the Shacknews Pokemon Unite page, it’s there you’ll find more tips and answers.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 22, 2021 9:35 PM

    Sam Chandler posted a new article, Is Pokemon Unite pay-to-win?

    • reply
      July 23, 2021 5:34 PM

      This article doesn't even mention the items which can be upgraded with real money for an obvious gameplay advantage and concludes that it isn't pay-to-win. Good to know Shacknews are a bunch of Nintendo shilling scum.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:29 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

      • reply
        July 23, 2021 9:30 PM

        Yeah you might be on to something, I watched penguinz on youtube showcase this exact problem.

    • reply
      July 24, 2021 6:29 AM

      This needs to be updated. To be fair, the game hides its pay to win method, which is even more sneaky/shady. Basically for things like cosmetics it says, "X Aoes tickets/X gems", with gems being the real money currency. However, item upgrades just list Aoes tickets, but if you attempt to buy them without enough, the game then prompts you if you'd like to buy them with gems. Your items can become quite powerful, so it very much is paybto win...

Hello, Meet Lola