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Category Definition Notes Examples
Boost Allows player to pay to accelerate progress in a game, whether it is faster speed, levelling, level skipping, boosting % chance to find rare items, etc. or to instantly unlock rewards.
Cosmetic Cosmetic microtransactions are any paid additional content that are designed to be cosmetic in nature and are not intended to affect gameplay substantially nor alter game mechanics.
  • Examples include items such as skins, hats, decorative items etc.
  • Apex Legends sells weapon skins, character skins, emotes, dances, etc.
Currency A virtual currency that must be purchased using a real-world currency. The virtual currency can then in turn be used to buy other microtransaction items, or be traded for account credit. Typically the virtual currency is locked to a single game or publisher.
  • The virtual currencies often have a wide array of different names, depending on the game, such as gold, gems, tokens, crafting materials, credits, V-Bucks, etc.
Finite spend Finite spend games have a limit to the number of microtransactions that can be purchased. For example, a game could have x5 unlock microtransactions, and after those have been purchased no more can be purchased by the player.
  • If the game has other microtransactions which qualify for Infinite spend then that will overwrite the finite cap category.
  • For The Sinking City, the player can purchase the Experience Boost microtransaction, but after it is purchased no more can be purchased, meaning there is a finite cap on the number of microtransactions.
Free-to-grind The main gameplay unlocks/goals of the game can be achieved through grinding or naturally in gameplay without real money payments.
  • The category is designed to be a rebuttal to the criticism 'The game forces you to buy microtransactions', but for 'free-to-grind' games, 'everything you would want (gameplay) can be unlocked by playing or grinding'.
  • Free-to-grind means you have freedom to choose to grind to unlock content within the game - regardless of whether an initial purchase was required or not to access the game itself.
Infinite spend Infinite cap games have microtransactions that can be purchased over and over again without any limit.
  • This is in contrast to Finite spend games that have a limit.
  • 'Infinite spend' excludes services that the player only ever sees or make use of once, e.g. character name change, server move etc.
  • If the limit is finite e.g. one can spend over $1,000 US dollars, then for all intents and purposes this is considered an 'infinite cap' on microtransactions.
  • If the game has a loot box system, then it is likely that for all intents and purposes it is an 'infinite spend' microtransaction game.
Loot box A variation of microtransaction where the player purchases a loot box where there is a chance to receive varying qualities of in-game item, similar to gambling.
  • Some games, like Overwatch and the FIFA series, have had loot boxes disabled in several countries like Belgium and the Netherlands due to conflicts with local gambling laws. Games like Diablo Immortal, which rely heavily on loot boxes, have not even been launched there.
  • Overwatch's 'Loot Box' can be earned in-game or purchased, and have a random chance to drop icons, skins, emotes, sprays, credits, etc.
No microtransactions Game does not contain any microtransactions.
  • Does not apply to any game pre-April 2006.
  • Display this as 'None' in the Infobox.
Player trading In-game items and digital currencies can be traded between players on the game marketplace that allows the developer to receive a cut on transactions that players make. Also covers blockchain games involving the trading of NFTs.
Time-limited Game sells microtransactions that are exclusive to a specific time period, promotion, or pre-order bonus. Once the time period is over, the microtransaction cannot normally be purchased again, or there is a long duration of time between periods of availability.
  • Team Fortress 2 has had many tie-in promotions that offered cosmetic microtransactions for a limited period for players with Apple Macs.[3]
Unlock 'Unlocks' are normally chunks of a game that have been already developed and have been 'locked', and can be 'unlocked' with a purchase. This commonly includes individual characters, maps, levels, weapons, armors, etc.
  • Purchase of microtransaction content that affects gameplay and is not solely cosmetic.
  1. Assassin’s Creed®IV Black Flag™ Time saver: Technology Pack (DLC) - last accessed on 2020-04-19
    "This pack will save you time by revealing all of the collectibles locations on your map. Note that you will still need to travel to these locations and beat the game play in order to get the rewards."
  2. League of Legends - MICROTRANSACTION.ZONE - last accessed on 2020-04-15
  3. Earbuds - Official TF2 Wiki - last accessed on 2020-04-26