What does Freemium mean?

No cost but with a choice to buy extra features

Freemium is a slang term used to describe any game, app, or service that is free to use, but also offers premium features that users can purchase to enhance their experience. This model cleverly combines the elements of both free and premium products, hence the term ‘freemium’.

For instance, consider a digital image editing tool, like Canva. The basic version of this tool, which is free, allows users to create and save designs. But, it also displays ads and has a time delay before you can start a new project. If users want to get rid of these inconveniences, they can buy Canva’s Pro subscription. This also unlocks many other features that aren’t accessible in the free version.

Another common example of freemium products is free-to-play (F2P) video games. While some of these games are genuinely free and earn revenue from optional purchases like character skins or accessories, others are labeled as “free” but can be very hard to progress in without spending money. These types of games are often criticized as “pay-to-win.”

So, when you see the term ‘freemium’, remember it refers to any product or service that is free but also offers premium features for a price. Be careful with these, though. Some are fair and balanced, while others might force you to shell out money to really enjoy the experience.

Example for using ‘Freemium’ in a conversation

Hey, have you tried that new game everyone’s talking about?

Yeah, I downloaded it yesterday. It’s a freemium game.

What does that mean?

It means the game is free to play, but you can make optional purchases to get extra features or items.