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Category Definition Notes Examples
Ad-supported Monetized through advertisements which do not form natural part of the game, e.g. watching a video before playing, on-screen launcher ads, ads in the in-game menu system, etc.
  • Does not include games that advertise their own microtransactions.
  • NBA 2K20 video advertisements before playing a match.
DLC For the purposes of PCGamingWiki's taxonomy, 'DLC' specifically refers to medium size chunks of additional game content such as maps, levels, quests, new gameplay mechanics etc. that is normally created in addition to the game, paid for and downloaded, but less substantial than an 'expansion pack'.
  • This category could be called 'Extra gameplay', but DLC is a much more familiar term to most gamers.
  • Soundtracks do not constitute additional in-game content and should not be covered as part of this category.
  • Expansive Expansions (Expansion Packs)
  • Mass Effect 2's 'Lair of the Shadow Broker' is a purchaseable story mission with voice acting and new gameplay mechanics.
  • NieR: Automata's '3C3C1D119440927' includes three new battle arenas, three new outfits, as well as a new short side-storyline.
Expansion pack Game content which can extend the percentage of playtime substantially. Including and not limited to: large story campaigns, a large number of new maps or levels, expanded gameplay, etc.
  • As a rule of thumb PCGamingWiki considers individual DLCs or bundles of DLCs in packs that extend the playtime of the main game 'substantially' or by 40% or more as appropriate for this category.
  • In pre-digital distribution age, expansion packs were separate boxed products that may or may not require the original game to install and run.
  • Expansive Expansions (Expansion Packs)
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown's expansion is XCOM: Enemy Within, which substantially adds new content and gameplay mechanics.
  • Borderlands 3's multiple DLCs contain substantial new campaigns which are each individually large enough to constitute an expansion pack
Free-to-play Free-to-play or F2P games give players access to a significant portion of their content without paying. They might include an optional subscription, or are supported by expansion packs, DLCs, microtransactions, or advertisements.
Freeware Games that are completely free to own in their entirety.
One-time game purchase Games which requires an upfront purchase to access.
  • This is the base monetization used for most games and is in modern times often combined with additional monetization.
  • This is in contrast with Freeware and Free-to-play where the game can be accessed without a purchase.
Sponsored Sponsored content is a type of in-game advertising that forms part of the natural game experience.
  • Final Fantasy XV has a quest called The Perfect Cup which features Nissin Cup Noodles which is sponsored content that is part of the 'natural' game world.[1]
  • PC Building Simulator features real world products from companies such as Intel and AMD that are used in-game.
Subscription Game may require continuous subscription payment from a player, or a subscription offers premium features. This is distinct from subscription services which allow access to multiple games, for example EA Play.
  • World of Warcraft requires a subscription in order to play the game beyond level 20.
  • Fallout 76's subscription Fallout 1st is not required to play the full game, but offers premium features like private servers, unlocks, currency, cosmetics, etc.


This category has the following 8 subcategories, out of 8 total.