Pay to Win

A player can spend real money to purchase something that gives them an advantage in the game.

Many games have a system where you can purchase items by using in-game currency. This currency can be earned by performing certain actions, such as grinding and sometimes it can be purchased with real money, which makes it a premium currency. If earning the in-game currency through gameplay is so slow that it's almost impossible to realistically earn enough to buy the necessary items, then spending real money becomes necessary. The players who spend the most will have the biggest advantage and a free-to-play (F2P) player will be at a significant disadvantage.

If you can spend real money to give yourself an advantage over other players, then a game is exhibiting the "Pay to Win" dark pattern. In addition to accelerating the normal earning of in-game currency, you may also be able to purchase a "cheat" or unlock some otherwise unobtainable item that gives you an advantage.

Sometimes games give large incentives to be in the top ranks, but make it impossible to get into the top ranks unless you constantly spend money to purchase the latest items or upgrades. This dark pattern is sometimes called "Monetized Rivalries", and when its combined with another dark pattern, called depreciation, it can setup a player to be constantly needing to spend money to stay ahead of other players.


Examples

The Battle Cats The Battle Cats
"They do bundles that give you a lot of progress for an amount of money and you can do that as much as you need."

Clash Royale Clash Royale
"You can spend money to upgrade your cards so your cards have better stats."

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
"Kind of. You use real money to purchase new card packs, which often contains more powerful cards."

Daily Themed Crossword - A Fun crossword game Daily Themed Crossword - A Fun crossword game
"Spend coins on extra letters and a spell checker to let you know when you put something wrong in."

MARVEL Puzzle Quest MARVEL Puzzle Quest
"You can spend a lot of money and buy specific covers"

Merge Mansion - Mystery Game Merge Mansion - Mystery Game
"You can buy energy and gems to progress further in events. You also have to spend money to get access to certain seasonal stories."

Dream Hopper Dream Hopper
"There is a "dream master bundle" that boosts you, such as increasing your cap to 5, making the first dream of each day new and boosting your chances of a new dream by 10%. It isn't a multiplayer game but it does give you an advantage"

Mochicats Collection Mochicats Collection
"there isnt a way to win but it can let you progress quicker"

Rise of Cultures Rise of Cultures
"You could skip the entire game with purchases, theoretically."

My Singing Monsters My Singing Monsters
"You can use premium currency to buy the rarer monsters flat out, rather than trying to breed for them over time."