Fear of Missing Out

If you stop playing you'll miss out on something or be left behind and unable to catch up.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is an anxiety that occurs when you worry about missing something exciting or important. In games, this can happen when there are timed events. If the event gives a special participation reward, then this anxiety can be heightened. If the player misses the event, not only will they miss the excitement of the new experience, but they will also miss the special reward. If the reward provides a benefit to the game, then the player will be behind everyone else and it will be difficult to catch up.

This anxiety can drive people to play the game at times when they wouldn't otherwise. It may even keep them playing a game long past when they derive enjoyment out of it. For example, a player who has lost interest in a game may see the announcement for the next event and think to themselves that maybe this new event will make the game interesting again.

Many online games are under continual development with new content and updates being added all the time, so there is a constant trickle of new things that players are at risk of missing if they take a break from the game. This is a strong motivator to keep playing. Often these types of timed events provide an incentive to spend money on the game in order to fully take advantage of the event. This enriches the game developers at the expense of the players who may be playing for reasons other than enjoyment.


Examples

Princess Connect! Re: Dive Princess Connect! Re: Dive
"Limited-time gacha banners, limited-time events."

Honkai Impact 3rd Honkai Impact 3rd
"Plenty of story events that could easily be added to the Chronicles or Open World sections, are instead made available for a couple of weeks. Some of those events contain continuity with previous events."

Fer.al Fer.al
"Items in shops (including the premium shop) rotate. Some items from closed beta and season passes have not returned and can only be gotten by trading with other players."

Pokémon UNITE Pokémon UNITE
"The Battle Pass has weekly and daily quests for Battle Pass points. If the player does not complete quests before they expire, they will not have enough points for all the rewards before the Battle Pass expires, unless the player purchases the points."

Mech Arena: Robot Showdown Mech Arena: Robot Showdown
"Skip a day and you'll definitely miss some rewards or events"

Tears of Themis Tears of Themis
"Daily rewards, limited-time banners can cause FOMO."

Legends of Runeterra Legends of Runeterra
"Seasonal events with unique cosmetics."

Infinite Lagrange Infinite Lagrange
"Daily timers with resource caps that mean they need to be used or stop accumulating. Unions are under time pressure to take objectives as a group. There's always some personal timer or another finishing up and requiring attention"

Magic: The Gathering Arena Magic: The Gathering Arena
"There are limited time events sometimes with cosmetic rewards that are unavailable any other way."

Dungeon Crusher: Soul Hunters Dungeon Crusher: Soul Hunters
"Events occur at all times. There are no lull periods."