Accidental Purchases

Making it easy to accidentally spend money with no confirmation or ability to undo or refund the action.

Games like to make it easy to accidentally spend premium currency. They sometimes do this by making the purchase button big and easy to push. Additionally, it may not be immediately obvious that pushing the button spends your premium currency, and once you push it, there is often no confirmation screen and no ability to undo or refund the purchase. One accidental stray tap of the screen can irreversibly spend your money.

Sometimes games may go even further and introduce a popup button right where you normally tap to play the game. For example, there may be a blue button in the lower right corner that you normally press to start a level when you have enough energy to do so. But if you have run out of energy that blue button may turn into a green button that spends premium currency to refresh your energy and start the level. By placing this button where your muscle memory has conditioned you to tap, the game can trick you into wasting your money on items you didn't intend to purchase.

Another tactic used is the "Status Quo" or "Bad Default" effect. This is when the most expensive option is selected by default, or when you must opt-out instead of opt-in to purchasing something. By making the option to spend more money the default option, some people will accidentally spend more than they wanted to. In effect, the game is trying to sneak more expensive items into your shopping basket. Without an option to easily refund the purchase, players are often stuck having spent too much.

Spending more than you wanted to can can cause a snowball effect. If you have spent money on the game, you may feel that you have to "get your money's worth" by playing the game a lot. This in turn gets you more invested in the game and more likely to spend money again.


Examples

Purrfect Tale Purrfect Tale
"It has a separate menu for the real money shop AND the real money shop is accessible from the game shop, and both always have a little notification dot on them, causing me to accidentally click on it often, only to realize I don't have anything I need to do there and they just want me to spend money"

Minecraft Minecraft
"Limited confirmation when buying things from the marketplace"

Last Fortress Last Fortress
"Can spend on things you don’t really need. Or that you can get for free over time"

MARVEL Puzzle Quest MARVEL Puzzle Quest
"Pops up and you can accidentally press the purchase option"

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
"It's easy to accidentally spend gems (rare to come by without paying for them) on energy when you don't want to."

Ronin: The Last Samurai Ronin: The Last Samurai
"They advertise 'Limited time offers' to gain extra privileges in the game, but it's deceptive wording. The offer isn't time limited; the privileges are."

BADLAND BADLAND
"Every single level finishes with an ask to get premium."

Dice Dreams - Roll the Dice, Become the Dice King Dice Dreams - Roll the Dice, Become the Dice King
"The game forces you to view and exit every available bundle as pop-ups on login and when you run out of rolls."

Tiny Tower Tiny Tower
"You can frequently "buy" things accidentally with in-game currency, and the only way to replenish that is to spend actual money."

Star Stable Online Star Stable Online
"considering the amount of children playing the game (and the new mobile port, allowing even MORE children to play), yes."