What does PvP mean?

In this article, we review everything about PvP games. Also, what sets them apart from PvE games? Do they have common ground?


What is PvP in video games?

This article covers everything about PvP games. Additionally, what sets them apart from PvE games? Do they have common features?

PvP in video games means “player versus player“, where you play against other human players, instead of against machines or AI systems.

Note that PvP games usually include a mode for playing “against the machine”, useful when the player is alone, either in the physical or virtual space.

Before moving on to the characteristics of PvP titles, let’s see some examples to better understand what we’re talking about here.

A pure variant of a PvP game is a fighting game, where two human players face each other. Another example is a racing game, where all racers are flesh-and-blood users.

It is possible to note that PvP is the oldest mode of play, as it eliminates the need for any automated system. Some of the earliest video games in history, such as Pong and Space War, are examples of this.

As we will review later in this article, PvP video games are opposed to PvE, in which players face characters and situations controlled by the computer.

Features of PvP Games

The main feature of PvP games is derived from its name: player against player. In other words, the digital environment brings together two human users who compete with each other.

In addition, player vs. player video games have these characteristics:

  • PvP is not a genre or category, it is a game mode.
  • As indicated, the enemies are other players (humans).
  • This feature affects the development and gameplay: it is not the same to compete against a machine as it is against a pair (beyond the abilities of each human player).
  • The proposal of the PvP mode is not limited to overcoming levels or outwitting opponents, but also to obstruct their progress and prevent them from doing the same to you.
  • The adventure and challenges become more human. By facing other users and not a CPU, the experience resembles games in the “real world,” where skills vary.
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Types of PvP games

When examining the types of PvP video games, it is necessary to note that many games have well-defined and separate modes. In other words, they can only be played against other users or against the computer (PvE).

Some games combine PvP and PvE modes. An example is World of Warcraft, where there are enemies controlled by an automated system and others by humans.

Depending on the timing of certain actions, the PvP mode is divided into two variants:

  • Synchronous PvP: Human users play against each other in real-time. They can do this with two controllers connected to the same console, or play online.
  • Asynchronous or asymmetric PvP: The enemies are controlled by humans, but an artificial intelligence plays on their behalf. This is common in mobile games, where it is not always possible to organize games with many participants simultaneously. An example is Clash of Clans, where certain attacks are automated.

Among the games with PvP mode, it is possible to find a wide variety of genres and categories, such as racing titles, action, fighting, strategy, musical, puzzles, and also MMORPGs, which are massively multiplayer role-playing games.

Current examples of PvP video games are Fortnite: Battle Royale, Among Us, and Fall Guys, which typically take advantage of online gameplay for users to compete against each other in real-time.

“Play to earn” games also have PvP modes

You probably know what NFT games are. For the uninitiated, they are gamer releases based on the blockchain network that use non-fungible tokens to reward users for achievements they obtain within the digital adventure.

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As we explained in The best NFT games, the rewards users receive on the gaming platform can be exchanged for real money, for example for dollars or euros.

One of the hallmarks of “play to earn” games (also known as such) is Axie Infinity. By the way, that title has a PvP mode.

  • In Axie Infinity, the PvP variant or “Arena” pits players against each other with matchups based on the users’ history and experience.
  • That paradigm of NFT games also has a PvE mode, also known as “Adventure”. In that case, the player battles with their Axies against non-player characters (NPCs).

Other “play to earn” video games are Alien Worlds, CryptoBlades, Ox Universe, Gods Unchaines, and Sorare.

Differences between PvP and PvE

At this point in the review, we understand more clearly what the differences are between PvP and PvE modes. Let’s review: in the first, players face each other, and in the second, computer-controlled characters are involved.

The PvE acronym refers to “player versus environment”, in Spanish “player against the environment”.

There are countless examples of PvE mode games, from classic Mario Bros. titles, to Sega’s Sonic games, to sports video games such as FIFA, in which one often plays against the machine.

Finally, it is interesting to emphasize that PvP and PvE sometimes complement each other. Let’s take the example of FIFA, developed by Electronic Arts studio. In that game, it is possible to create matches against the computer (PvE); or compete with other users (PvP) who are in the same room or online.