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.


Star Trek Fleet Command Star Trek Fleet Command
"Nearly every event they have"

PewDiePie's Pixelings PewDiePie's Pixelings
"Timed sales of pixellings"

MARVEL Strike Force MARVEL Strike Force
"All the time"

Gems of War - Match 3 RPG Gems of War - Match 3 RPG
"Whenever a legendary drops, it immediately offers you the chance to fully level them for a cost... which expires at the end of a day."

Mortal Kombat Mortal Kombat
"Special offers for new or specific characters are a limited time offer and then either become unavailable for a time or available randomly through other non-limited, randomly generated offers."

World of Tanks Blitz MMO World of Tanks Blitz MMO
"Yes, unlock a tier 8 reward or premium vehicle in a week that requires at least 60 hours of gameplay if you are good. And these events are pretty frequent."

Fate/Grand Order (English) Fate/Grand Order (English)
"Limited events, both Holiday events and non-holiday events. The events come back every year."

Walking Dead: Road to Survival Walking Dead: Road to Survival
"Log in and you may see 5 limited time offers."

Hearthstone Hearthstone
"The preorder : best money / pack ratio, and a cosmetic otherwise unobtainable."

Roblox Roblox
"Some items on the catalogue are 'on-sale' for a limited amount of time and/or quantity. After the period is over, they can be resold by purchasers WHO ARE REGISTERED FOR A PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP."