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.


Merge Witches - Discover Magic Merge Witches - Discover Magic
"Some events pit you against other players and you could buy things that are normally available to help you win."

Fishdom Fishdom
"the higher tier package gives you more lives, and more advanced specials, which helps you beat other players especially in the races to a set leve;"

The Simpsons™: Tapped Out The Simpsons™: Tapped Out
"characters that are purchased with premium currency almost always earn 50% more money/exp, and premium decorations/building​s give a small multiplier to all money earned"

Soul Knight Soul Knight
"Yes, but its generally additional content as the paid characters besides 1 don't necessarily provide an advantage just more diverse playstyles."

Play Together Play Together
"You can pay real money for better fishing rods and pickaxes which have a better chance at getting “rarer” fish and ores"

Star Stable Online Star Stable Online
"horse type and gear gives you an advantage over other players in the championship races, which have to be purchased with star coins."

Cookie Run: Kingdom Cookie Run: Kingdom
"as much as i hate to say it, yes. yes it does."

Punishing: Gray Raven Punishing: Gray Raven
"Character power directly correlates with their rank"

"The game is a gacha game where you can pay for the chance to get rare demons"

Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus
"cash shop locked characters"