Artificial Scarcity

Limited time offers with unnecessary urgency.

One psychological trick that pushy salesmen use all around the world is artificial scarcity, and they often combine this with an unnecessary demand of urgency on the buyer. This is why you often see items listed for sale saying something like "Only 4 left in stock. Order now!"

Game developers use this technique to trick you into spending more time and money on their games. This often takes the form of limited time offers. The only reason for the short time limit is to make you rush into making an uninformed decision and prevent you from comparing the value of different items.

Games may also advertise items by saying that there are only a certain number available, "Hurry, only 47 magic daggers left in our inventory!" In a game where all the items are digital, there is no reason to artificially limit the supply of an item. In fact, often these numbers aren't even real and they may sell far more than the stated limit. The only reason for emphasizing the scarcity of the item is to make you hurry up and make a purchase before you think better.


Examples

Head Ball 2 Head Ball 2
"Lots of 2 day offers."

Call of Duty®: Mobile Call of Duty®: Mobile
"Limited time loot boxes."

LEGO® Legacy: Heroes Unboxed LEGO® Legacy: Heroes Unboxed
"There are many prompts in-game urging you to purchase various tile packs."

Dragon Mania Legends Dragon Mania Legends
"New players are offered cheap bundles, and discounts on premium bundles are often offered."

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
"Limited-edition hero skins or collectibles, and other items in shop"

Candy Crush Saga Candy Crush Saga
"limited-time "discounted" offers that are still too expensive"

Dream Girlfriend Dream Girlfriend
"Pack with unique dresses are seen often."

Lovestruck Choose Your Romance Lovestruck Choose Your Romance
""Special offers" regularly appear"

Brawl Stars Brawl Stars
"You get offered special packages."

Arknights Arknights
"Skins rotate to create scarcity, and a lot of the token items/operators are part of a cyclical rotation that matches the main gacha banner."