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.


Mighty DOOM Mighty DOOM
""limited time offers""

Beatstar - Touch Your Music Beatstar - Touch Your Music
"- Shop rotates daily - Limited time shop offers during events and other occasions - Limited-time weekly event - Battle pass every month"

Forge of Empires Forge of Empires
"very regular events"

Limbus Company Limbus Company
"There are some "identities" (characters) and "E.G.O.s" (powerful character attacks) that are only obtainable through limited in-game events."

Merge Studio Merge Studio
"Special offers are in this game"

Cell to Singularity: Evolution Cell to Singularity: Evolution
"Timed offers to buy in game currency, although not obvious and doesn't intrude on game play."

Pokémon Café Mix Pokémon Café Mix
"Legendary/special pokémon events happen once every week/2 weeks, sometimes even concurrently."

SimCity BuildIt SimCity BuildIt
"Limited offers are often displayed on the side of the game."

Kawaii Home Design Kawaii Home Design
"During events, everyone can use event materials, but only for a limited time. It gives you a taste of what Premium members have all year."

RuneScape Mobile RuneScape Mobile
""Buy keys! 75 for 75!" blah blah blah. A little, yeah."