Forced to watch ads or given rewards for watching ads.

Many games, especially free-to-play games, contain advertising. Instead of paying for the game with money, you pay for it with your attention. People are more willing to part with their attention than with their money, and often aren't aware of how much time they are giving to these in-game advertisements.

Advertisements by themselves are not necessarily a Dark Pattern, but they can become one if they are made too intrusive and interrupt normal gameplay too frequently. For example:

1) Ads that cannot be skipped.
2) Giving rewards for watching ads.
3) Tricking you into clicking on an ad by placing it in a place where you might accidentally click on it.
3) Disguising an ad to make it look like part of the game.

Games can sometimes treat watching an ad as a form of in-app currency to enable other dark patterns. For example, some games allow you to replenish your energy by watching an ad. This is a form of Pay to Skip where you are paying with your attention instead of money.
Citations and SourcesUXP2 Dark Patterns
Disguised Ads


"unskippable ads between levels. Popups encouraging you to watch extra ads for rewards"

Single City: Life Metaverse Single City: Life Metaverse
"ads for rewards"

The Walking Dead: Survivors The Walking Dead: Survivors
"Ads for random games and things"

Temple Run Temple Run
"There are ads in this game, you can watch them as a reward to keep going, if you say no you watch one anyway with no reward. You have to spend real money for there to be no ads. You can also watch an ad to get a free resurrection"

Polysphere Polysphere
"One after every single puzzle, without a way to escape them other than restarting the app, which has a slow startup time"

Purrfect Tale Purrfect Tale
"Yeah there's options to watch ads, but then it'll also just randomly play them"

GunboundM GunboundM
"you can turn it off by disabling tracking, but in game rewards/currency are forfeited"

"You can choose to watch advertisements to gain rewards a limited amount of times a day. You will never have an ad forced on you."

Last Fortress Last Fortress
"The Boys collab including buying all The Boys heroes"

Daily Themed Crossword - A Fun crossword game Daily Themed Crossword - A Fun crossword game
"Watch ads to get coins and power ups"