What is a whale in video games?

A person who spends a lot of money in a video game

In video games, especially mobile ones, a person who spends a lot of money on microtransactions, such as power-ups and weapons, is known as a "whale." For example, a gamer that spends hundreds of dollars on booster packs and other upgrades in an in-app purchase (IAP) mobile game is known as a whale among other gamers.

The "whale" name comes from game developers and publishers hunting for gamers (much like whale hunters) who are willing to pay or susceptible to being manipulated into paying for the microtransactions. Many non-paying gamers despise microtransactions since they allow gamers, like whales, to gain an incredible edge over others not due to their skill but to the size of their wallets. Some gamers also pity whales because they believe they are being duped and milked for their money.

Whales in other contexts

Besides video games, you may hear or see people describe others as whales in other contexts, such as comic book stores or casinos, when they spend excessive money. For example, employees may refer to a customer who spends a lot of money on collectible card games (CCG) at the store as a "whale."


I came up against a whale on the third level and was completely overpowered
That's a bummer
Yeah, it's not fair at all
Whale Reddit AMA post
Whale Reddit AMA post

Related Slang


Updated August 23, 2023

Whale definition by Slang.net

This page explains what the slang term "Whale" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slang.net team.

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