August 26, 2021
Things to know
We explain important gaming terms in this post so you understand your fellow gamers
Alpha / Beta
Before video games are released and go on the market, there are different development phases. In order to optimize the quality of the game, testers are needed to play the game before release and examine it for sources of error. Especially for online games this is necessary to test if e.g. the servers hold up and if the game system is accepted. The testers therefore receive a version of the game that is not yet finished in order to give feedback on what can be improved. These versions are then referred to as the alpha or beta version.
An early access version is an alpha or beta version of a game. Players receive early access to the game, which has not yet been developed, in exchange for money. This allows players to support the developers financially in order to finance the project.
DLC stands for 'Downloadable Content' and refers to content that expands the game and can (usually) be purchased. This can be small content such as new weapon skins or completely new game sections and worlds.
Free to Play
Free to Play refers to games that can usually be downloaded for free or have free access. The first few hours or progress of the game are usually free until a pay barrier appears before the game ends. This can mean that the game cannot be played further unless payment is made. It can often happen that even some items that seem very valuable can only be purchased. All in all, cost traps are often hidden behind various free-to-play games.
Pay to Win
Games with a pay to win system have mechanics through which player progress can be purchased. Specifically, this means that, for example, time runs out faster, better weapons are available, or a section is unlocked faster. The psychological trick that is used conveys to the player that they can gain a big advantage over other players for very little money. Pay to Win is heavily criticized by many gamers, as players are manipulated and buy their progress.
Very often games have a so-called in-game currency. This refers to a currency created in the game world that can be used to purchase various in-game goods. The game can also provide this currency when various battles are won or challenges are mastered. Often, this in-game currency is designed to provide a gameplay advantage quickly. In doing so, there is often the option to exchange real money for in-game currency to advance faster.
'Loot' describes what it actually is: the spoils a player receives in-game. This loot usually advances players or helps them have the right equipment. Especially often, in games like Fifa or Star Wars:Battlefront, it is packed into boxes that can be purchased. Here, for example, an in-game currency can be used to buy Loot boxes. In doing so, the player receives various goods from the Loot Box according to a random principle.
Subscription services are becoming more and more common in the gaming industry. These involve monthly or annual contributions that players have to pay in order to have access to a pool of games or to be able to play online. Examples include Xbox Game Pass, Playstation Now or EA Access.
Games as a Service
This refers to a revenue model in which new game content is always available in a video game. This is intended to maintain the fun of the game and long-term motivation. This is intended to prevent players from being inhibited from spending money on new DLCs again. One example of this is The Division.
Meanwhile, many online games have different seasons, with each season bringing new content. A Season Pass allows full access to all content, but it can also consist of a package with additional content such as DLC. The Season Pass is especially worthwhile for players who plan to purchase all upcoming DLCs, since they are usually offered in combination at a reduced price.