About Our Tags
Wondering about the icons under the games on our site? Here, we give an overview of all the tags you might find. Select a tag below to jump to its entry.
Spotless (No Monetized Content)
You buy the game, you own the game—full stop.
This game contains no post-purchase real-money transactions of any kind (e.g. expansion packs, DLC, loot boxes). Only one purchase is necessary to own the complete game and all future content. Online features tied to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold do not disqualify a game from this tag. Pre-order items which are no longer available for sale also don't count against this tag - we choose to live in the present. Anything that isn't actually available to buy doesn't count as far as we're concerned.
- Stardew Valley has released several major updates at no cost and has no plans to release paid content.
- Gravity Rush 2 has several costumes and an expansion available, all of which are free.
Free to Play (No Cost of Entry)
No up-front purchase required to play.
This game can be downloaded and played for free. Often, the game requires users to create an account.
- League of Legends has plenty of microtransactions, but requires no purchase to download and begin playing.
Expansive Expansions (Expansion Packs)
Paid DLC reminiscent of traditional expansion packs.
This game contains packs of meaningful content additions, similar to games released before DLC was popularized. The defining characteristic of this tag is that the content in question should expand the scope of the game in some way—an additional campaign, a new area with quests and story and boss fights, or a new pack of levels for a platformer or a multiplayer shooter all count for this tag. A skin for your gun or a new costume for your dog do not.
Note: This does not necessarily indicate that the content in question is of high quality, or represents good value for money.
- Bloodborne sells a $20 expansion pack with several new gameplay areas, enemies, weapons, and bosses.
- Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a platformer with an additional level for sale for $3.
Horse Armor (Cosmetic/Frivolous DLC)
Minor DLC with no randomization involved. New items, equipment, abilities, etc.
This game contains some minor, paid DLC, such as character skins, vehicle parts, background music, new weapons, new abilities, etc. The DLC can be purchased directly, with no randomness or loot boxes involved. If you can purchase a premium currency with real money which can then be spent on things that would reach this classification, that also counts. Things that were commonly included as cheat codes in the pre-internet days (big head mode, god mode, in-game money, etc) are also covered by this classification.
- Fortnite offers clothing, tool skins, glider skins, and emotes for $8-$20 worth of the currency "V-Bucks."
- Persona 5 offers several costume packs and downloadable monsters for $3-$7 each, totaling over $90 in all.
It's Not Gambling, We Swear (Loot Boxes & Other Randomized DLC)
Loot boxes with randomized contents, buyable with real money.
This game contains loot boxes or other similar content that drops randomized items. These boxes can be purchased directly with real money and/or with an in-game currency—which can often be purchased with real money, as well. Some games have boxes that require paid single-use keys in order to unlock the box.
- Overwatch provides loot boxes for leveling up, completing certain activities, or in bundles starting at $2 for 2.
- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, commonly known as PUBG, provides loot crates that can be opened for free, as well as "Desperado crates" that drop in-game or sell for money on the Steam Marketplace. Desperado crates cost $2.50 each to open.
Infinite Money Hole (No Spending Cap)
No limit to real money purchases.
This game has no limit to the amount of money that can be spent. Usually, though not always, this involves loot boxes of some kind.
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive has a market of weapon skins dropped from boxes, which are unlocked with keys. Skins, boxes, and keys can all be bought, traded, and sold with real money via the Steam Marketplace. Players can receive, then sell duplicate items.
Changing The Game (Gameplay-Altering DLC)
Upgrades with gameplay-altering effects, purchased with real money.
This game contains gameplay-altering content, such as experience boosts or powerful weapons. This content may be purchased directly with real money, or indirectly by spending money on premium in-game currencies or loot boxes.
This tag is primarily meant to be paired with the Horse Armor, It's Not Gambling, We Swear, and Time Is Money tags. If there's stuff covered by those tags which affects game balance/gameplay, rather than just appearances, check this one off. In-game currencies which can be bought with real money and then used to purchase things which affect gameplay are also included here.
TL;DR: If it can be bought with real money (through loot boxes, through a premium currency, or directly), and it affects the gameplay in some way (whether it's objectively an "upgrade" or not), and it isn't something that would fall under the "Expansive Expansions"-tag, then it's Changing The Game.
- Grand Theft Auto V sells several tiers of "Shark Cards" for $10-$100 each, which grant various amounts of in-game money. This can, in turn, be spent on any number of powerful in-game items.
- Tales of Xillia sells several "level-up" packs for $3-$4.50 each, raising the levels of your characters by 5 or 10 each, respectively.
Time Is Money (Pay-To-Skip)
Lets you pay to acquire items instantly (or at least faster) that you could also get through playing the game.
This game contains one or more transactions that essentially boil down to skipping the gameplay and just paying money for a "reward" that can also be acquired without extra payment by simply playing the game.
Typically (though not necessarily), the game in question might give you a slow drip-feed of some resource (in-game currency, loot boxes, weapons, or equipment), that can also be purchased either directly with real money or through a premium currency. In other cases, it might be paying for instant level-ups in an RPG, or paying to instantly unlock playable characters or gameplay modes that can also be unlocked by progressing far enough through the game.
- Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition includes several difficulty modes and an alternate game mode that can all be unlocked by playing through the game - or simply paying $1.50 to unlock them all immediately.
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege has several playable character classes to unlock, either with the in-game currency "Renown", or the premium currency "R6 Credits"—or through annual paid "season passes".
But First, You'll Need a Contract (Subscriptions)
Contains a game-specific subscription service.
This game contains a paid subscription service. The subscription may be required to play the game. Alternatively, it may be the case that paying for the subscription is optional, but provides bonuses or enhances gameplay. This does not include services such as Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, which apply to multiple games rather than one specific game.
- World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn both have mandatory subscription fees of $15 per month—or less, if purchasing multiple months of service at a time.
- The Elder Scrolls Online allows players to play for free once the base game is purchased, but also offers a freemium service named ESO Plus that adds bonuses such as DLC access and experience boosts.
Batteries Not Included
This game features interactions with some sort of physical item - typically a collectible toy of some kind, which activates an in-game effect when touched to the game's controller or a separate periphal capable of "reading" the item. Examples of this include Nintendo's "Amiibo"-figures, Disney Infinity, and Skylanders. Since it's often kind of vague which other tags should be covered by this stuff, we've decided that any purchase that's covered by this tag doesn't "bleed over" into any of the others.
- Super Mario Odyssey lets you use Amiibo-figures to unlock some costumes before they're normally available, as well as giving you a small amount of health pick-ups or money once per day.
Table for One (Standalone Single Player)
Contains a single-player campaign with no additional monetization.
This game has a complete single-player campaign without any microtransactions. Other tags applied to this game are based exclusively on multiplayer content.
This tag is only for games where the multiplayer has monetization of some kind, and the single-player would've been a valid candidate for the "Spotless" tag if it had been released on its own.
- Uncharted 4 sells packs of "Uncharted Points" for $3-$50 a pack, but these are only relevant to the multiplayer portion.