I spent money in 'Pokémon GO,' and it wasn't worth it

I feel so dirty.

As a free-to-play mobile game, “Pokémon GO” is a good deal less insidious than its Clash of Angry Birds vs. Zombies brethren in its use of in-game purchases. You can exchange real money for gold coins that can then be used to buy Pokéballs, egg incubators, incense and lure modules. Pokéballs are the only item you can buy in the store that are essential to playing and enjoying the game.

I ended up spending a little bit of money for the sake of this article, and I’m somewhat delighted to report that it wasn’t really worth it. That may sound strange, but in the grand scheme of mobile games, that’s actually a good thing.

Here’s how the money breaks down:

I went with the $4.99 option to get 550 Pokécoins. With that, I was able to get more space in my bag for items, an egg incubator and two lure modules. A decent haul!

Pokemon go sgopNiantic/The Pokemon CompanyOn iPhone, you can’t buy anything without first entering your password or using TouchID, so hopefully kids won’t be able to accidentally spend hundreds of their parents’ dollars.

Now that I have four egg incubators, I could potentially get four decent Pokémon as a reward for simply walking around, which is fantastic. I can use those lure modules on the Pokéstop in our office to bring the Pokémon to us while we sit and work, and make all of my co-workers love me. Finally, that extra bag space is nice, since I’ve had a full bag for a while.

But that’s a decent haul of things I don’t necessarily need. Like I said, Pokéballs are the only item you need to actually play the game; all of those other items simply maximise the efficiency with which you can acquire Pokémon and level up. I just went from level 11 to level 12 in about an hour while sitting at my desk, and that was fun, but that’s not the ideal “Pokémon GO” experience.

I’m always suspicious of games with microtransactions like this, but in all fairness, “Pokémon GO” is reasonably smart about it. You can do the fun part of the game (walking from Pokéstop to Pokéstop, catching Pokémon along the way) indefinitely without spending money. I feel that buying items to speed up that process cheapens the experience a bit, but that option is there for you if you want it.

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