Illusion of Control

The game cheats or hides information to make you think you're better than you actually are.

Games may make you think that you are getting better and better, when in reality you are just unlocking better tools inside the game. Perhaps the game doesn't even have a component of skill at all and it just makes you feel like you have some amount control over the outcome. If a game is doing this, it is trying to make you feel like your apparent skill is greater than your actual skill.

For example, a claw machine doesn't always grab at full force, it cheats and makes it impossible to grab an item until it decides it's time to give a prize. This makes you feel like you did a good job at aiming the claw and that you are getting better, even though it's random chance.

Another way that games manipulate information to make you feel more skilled than you actually are is by grouping players into isolated worlds. These are sometimes called "shards". In a competitive game with a single leaderboard, it would be very discouraging to have a rank of 124,204. Instead, what games do is they break people up into tiny groups or shards. Maybe only a few thousand people per shard, and you only compete with those people. Your rank may be 283 which sounds a lot better. Being the 283rd best player in the world is pretty encouraging, but the game doesn't tell you that you are only competing against a small percentage of the players. This makes you feel like you are more skilled than you actually are.

Games may also randomize the difficulty of the game to make it more interesting. This is why you may get an easy level immediately following a difficult level. If the difficulty secretly becomes easier, you may feel like your skill has increased when it really hasn't and this feeling of control may get you to play the game more often.
Citations and SourcesWikipedia :: Illusion of control


BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!
"The score gain in a song is almost entirely dependent on the rarity of your cards instead of your accuracy."

D4DJ Groovy Mix D4DJ Groovy Mix
"difficulty 1 through 14 is easy to learn and master, while 15 is the hardest difficulty in the game. makes people think that they have 90% of the skill of the best player but in reality it is not the case"

Pokémon UNITE Pokémon UNITE
"Beginner players or when the player is in a loss streak, the player is placed into matches against CPUs (with real teammates or CPU teammates) where the CPUs use real player nicknames. These matches are often easy to win for the player and boost up their win rate."

Mech Arena: Robot Showdown Mech Arena: Robot Showdown
"First matches are against bots disguised as human players"

My Singing Monsters My Singing Monsters
"the daily spin wheel appears to have equal chances of each prize but after hundreds of hours I can guarantee you it's rigged to give you a garbage prize 99.5 percent of the time. the game asks if you'd like to pay premium currency for another spin after you use your daily one."

Magic: The Gathering Arena Magic: The Gathering Arena
"There are mysterious matchmaking algorithms. It isn't clear how these work. At face, they appear to match players of similar skill or deck strength."

Brawl Stars Brawl Stars
"Only during your first few games that the game lies to you and puts you against bots making you think they are real people."

Really Bad Chess Really Bad Chess
"Initial board states are random which leads to highly variable difficulty. It’s unclear if this is manipulated. The AI also seems to inexplicably also go easier at certain times."

CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars
"I was like 8 when I played this and I won way too much considering."

WWE SuperCard – Multiplayer Card Battle Game WWE SuperCard – Multiplayer Card Battle Game
"AI cheats in certain modes by triggering procs or abilities more frequently than they should and by moving at the last second in modes where positioning is important."