Do Mobile Games abuse the Fear Of Missing Out?

Fear of Missing Out: What does it mean?

Did you receive your daily chest yet? Have you shared the time-limited event on Facebook for a chance to win a rare treasure? And how often are you logging into your favourite game making sure not to waste a single collectable? Then you’ve already experienced the Fear of Missing Out.

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is described as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”.


Basically, FOMO acts out as a form of social anxiety where the affected person suffers from the desire to stay connected and avoid missing great opportunities. Based on the concept of self-determination theory, connectedness with others poses a psychological need that influences people’s psychological health.

Even though the Fear of Missing Out has gotten a lot more attention with the progress of technology, back then people suffered from similar needs – they read books just so they could have a say, they listened to the latest gossip eagerly.

FOMO in the Video Gaming Industry

You probably also have this friend who can’t put his phone down even when you met for coffee; he could miss a great Instagram story, he could miss the latest Facebook post from his idol… Nearly every social media platform, but also and especially Mobile Games exploit this Fear of Missing Out.

Fear of Missing Out – a modern affliction?

Talking about Mobile Games, pretty much every game tricks our mind into playing more or even spending substantial amounts of money. Although this might not apply to everyone, special events, additional loot and limited quests condition players to log in and grind frequently.

One of many events in Mobile Legends to tempt players to spend more time with the game

Looking at Mobile Legends Bang Bang as an example, Moonton keeps the player base engaged with several events a week. Chests refresh every 4 hours, several daily login rewards come on top. Additionally, you get to complete in-game quests that vary in difficulty for even better loot. Also, lots of time-sensitive events require you to play on a specific day or time.

Recurring recharge bonuses encourage players to spend lots of money on supposedly better deals. And you can only obtain certain exclusive treasures such as epic skins by investing over 100$.

With all that being said, MLBB is definitely not the only and by far not the worst representative of a game exploiting FOMO. Call of Duty, Fortnite, Clash of Clans… Nearly every game is guilty of abusing our psyche.

Read – State of Mobile Gaming and the Mobile Gamers community

Are Mobile Games nothing but a bad habit?

Not the end of the world: Missing a free reward every now and then

And let’s be honest, why wouldn’t they? In the end, companies have to earn money to develop the games we love to play, don’t they? Ultimately we all get to decide on our own how much we want those games to impact our everyday life. Nobody forces us to log in every couple of hours to make sure we won’t be missing out on anything.

Do you feel pressured to play by all the events and rewards? Have you experienced Fear of Missing Out? Let us know your thoughts about FOMO in the gaming industry in the comment section below. And if you’re up for some more of it, don’t forget to check our latest news!

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