Pokemon Unite will limit how many Aeos Coins players can earn in any given week. The new MOBA-style game launched today as a free-to-download game, with most of the game's roster locked behind microtransactions. Players can purchase Pokemon in Pokemon Unite using one of two different currencies - Aeos Coins or Aeos Gems. Players have to purchase Aeos Gems using real-world money, but they earn Aeos Coins by competing in online matches and by completing various challenges and missions. Hypothetically, this means that a person could unlock every Pokemon in Pokemon Unite if they had enough patience.
However, with the game's launch today, players learned that Tencent had imposed a weekly cap on how many Aeos Coins a player can earn by playing through matches. Players are limited to earning 2,100 Aeos Coins per week, not counting the rewards they earn by completing missions. Considering that unlocking a single Pokemon costs between 6,000 and 10,000 coins, that means that a player will only be able to unlock a Pokemon every 3-5 weeks if they spend their Aeos Coins on nothing but Pokemon.
Players only earn between 30-50 Aeos Coins per match, so they'd have to do a lot of grinding to unlock content as a solely "free-to-play" player. However, players would need to spend about $60 in US dollars to obtain enough Aeos Gems to unlock every Pokemon currently in the game, which doesn't include the at least three Pokemon that will be added to the game in future updates.
Pokemon Unite obviously needs to make money to survive as a free service game, but it's also earning money via its Battle Pass and cosmetics that are also largely only available by spending money. While other third-party Pokemon games also use microtransactions in its revenue model, Pokemon Unite is easily the most aggressive we've seen when it comes to trying to get players to spend a lot of money to obtain a full gaming experience. Hopefully, Tencent and The Pokemon Company make some adjustments to its currency and transaction models, or the game could struggle to find a dedicated audience.
Pokemon Unite is available to download for free on the Nintendo Switch. Mobile versions of the game will be added later this year.