‘Pay to Win’, or P2W is defined as follows;
Any game where players are compelled to continually pay for premium content to progress.
We can further subdivide this into two types, ‘Pay or Wait’, and ‘Buy or Die’.
‘Pay or Wait’ is most commonly seen in puzzle games like Candy Crush or bubble popping games. It is one player vs a puzzle. These games get progressively harder, but almost never offer a level that can’t be beaten without enough patience. An example would be that at a certain level you might have to attempt it a hundred times to beat it. The P2W comes in when you can purchase special items that enable you to beat the level much easier, or bypass it all together.
Another progression of ‘Pay or Wait’ is the Farmville model. This game model gets the player invested in building something. This something they are building, usually amounts to nothing more than a nicer farm house, or more farm land. Players get hooked on the repetition of clicking. Its becomes an inherit addictive behavior. Players here can purchase time reducers and the like to speed up progress, so they can get back to clicking.
A little further down the road, game developers enhanced the Farmville addiction model by adding direct battle with other players. This created the ‘Buy or Die’ model.
‘Buy or Die’ games engage the player with the same type of repetitive clicking as Farmville that gets them addicted. They then allow all players to purchase content that gives them in game advantages over other players not purchasing. Now it becomes Buy or Die. A player not making progressive purchases to be better equipped will lose battles, and in most games, resources and items they spent time clicking to make are destroyed or taken. ‘Buy or Die’ games also invoke a massive social layer. In these games you play with alliance members from around the world creating friendships. You now have added social pressure to progress.