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

Flutter: Starlight Flutter: Starlight
"Events are frequent, and almost impossibly hard to complete even if you begin participation as soon as it starts, many exclusive moths and items are obtained this way. Certain moths have to be lured at certain days or months, and can't be lured without premium currency or until up to the next year."

SOULS SOULS
"Limited time events and rewards"

Zombie Tsunami Zombie Tsunami
"Not really, but there are time-limited events where you could "lose" rewards if you don't play"

Overmortal-Idle RPG Overmortal-Idle RPG
"With randomly timed events and no guarantee of getting more progression you kind of have to play daily to ensure you can mildly keep up"

Squad Busters Squad Busters
"Feels like wasting chest keys and being at a disadvantage."

Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 Plants vs. Zombies™ 2
"Plants you can only unlock via Arena grinding during designated seasons"

Dragon POW! Dragon POW!
"Game can release new Dragon forms and upon release will remove other previous dragon forms from being attainable encouraging the feeling of FOMO. Monthly login calendars may also contain items you may not be able to obtain upon missing even 1 day."

Covet Fashion Covet Fashion
"There are many limited time things within this game. When you leave, especially for long periods of time, you’ll be at a big disadvantage from other players as your clothes aren’t as valuable, and you missed out on exclusive items."

Idle Angels Idle Angels
"You'll lose valuable progress, and you can catch up if you pay or watch ads. The less present you are, the less competitive your account becomes, and the slower your progression is."

Super Snail Super Snail
"if you take a break you fall behind a TON and it makes it hard to stay in strong clubs... again, FIND A GOOD CLUB, the best clubs in the game will have systems to help their members account for things like IRL emergencies but you tend to need to be stronger to access these clubs"