Power Creep

A permanently purchased item in the game becomes less valuable over time.

Power creep is a term used to describe a situation where an item in a game depreciates in value over time. The main way this happens is via new content being added to the game that make the old content less valuable.

The idea is that you may have earned or paid for a powerful item or upgrade in the game. It may have been great for awhile, but new better items are available or the power level of the opponents has increased to the point where that original item is no longer useful. The money and time that you previously spent to earn that item is now worthless and you must spend more money and time on the new more powerful item to have the same benefit that you had before.

If games do this often, it encourages players to keep spending money to stay competitive. If done incorrectly by the game developer, it also has the effect of making the game boring for new players who start with the new powerful items which are overpowered against the opponents found in the beginning of the game. The original game can become unbalanced if too many updates are made that keep adding more and more powerful items.


Examples

AFK Arena AFK Arena
"Although this game does have ways of feeding items into items purchased to make them more powerful and thus you wouldn't need to buy a new item to stay competitive."

World of Tanks Blitz MMO World of Tanks Blitz MMO
"Old (premium) tanks are outclassed after some years. They aren't bad then by any means but can't quite compete with newer tanks."

Walking Dead: Road to Survival Walking Dead: Road to Survival
"They just introduced a new character level. Third new character rank."

Archero Archero
"You can buy low-tier items, but they get useless after some time because you can get better ones"

Hearthstone Hearthstone
"Kind of. Depending on the player, wild cards could be seen this way."

Heads Up! Heads Up!
"If you play a deck enough times, you will see repeats and it will become less fun."

Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes
"Power-creep is huge in this game. Old characters that we paid for become obsolete by newer characters."