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.


Pokémon Café Mix Pokémon Café Mix
"The premium pass gives you an advantage during events that other players wouldn’t."

Shadow Fight 3 Shadow Fight 3
"its a singleplayer game but yes you can pay to make the game much easier"

Kawaii Home Design Kawaii Home Design
"You can pay to obtain more currencies. And obviously, not everyone can invest the same amount of money into a mobile game."

Bloons TD 5 Bloons TD 5
"Permanent upgrades to gameplay can be purchased, including ones that cannot be acquired in any other way."

RuneScape Mobile RuneScape Mobile
"Not *directly*, but yes. Buy bonds -> sell bonds to other players for gp -> get the best equipment. Also Treasure Hunter gives an embarrassment of riches that let people level a hell of a lot faster, but see loot boxes."

Kawaii Kitchen Kawaii Kitchen

SongPop 2 - Guess The Song SongPop 2 - Guess The Song
"VIP allows you to master playlists faster."

Everskies Everskies
"Buying currency tends to allow you to progress your item collection faster."

Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game
"You can dominate the events with gems"

Zombie Frontier 3: Sniper FPS Zombie Frontier 3: Sniper FPS
"Better fully-upgraded weapon."