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In some video games, there's a normal currency which can be obtained easily through regular gameplay. Along with that, there's another currency that are a lot more difficult to acquire, and are usually achieved by completing special quests, participating in events, leveling up, etc. This second can then be used to purchase more effective equipment, better cosmetics, boosts or other useful bonuses. This forces the players to either grind and spend countless of hours in the game to accumulate enough currency to buy what they want, or pay real money in order to earn them more quickly. Some games may offer players to watch ads and/or download other games/apps to acquire some of the premium currency instead of paying real money.

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Often found in Allegedly Free Games or those running on a Freemium model. Sometimes overlaps with Global Currency Exception.


Examples:

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    Card-Battle Games 
  • Ensemble Stars! has several different kinds of collectibles, each with specific purposes (e.g., gems can only be used to increase cards' stats, and medals are used solely within the medal shop to exchange for promo cards), but the most commonly seen as Producer Points, which are used in low-rarity scouting and are very plentiful, and Dia, the premium currency which is used in high-rarity scouting, to refresh LP and AP bars, and as a substitute for gems if the player doesn't have enough.
  • Fate/Grand Order has the Saint Quartz, which are mainly gained by paying real money, but can also sometimes gained by certain in-game quests (or by collecting SQ Fragments). Notably, the game separates SQ gained in-game from those gained by spending real money, especially for the gacha Servant summoning.
  • Kantai Collection: the game doesn't have any regular "currency" (although what it has is raw materials I.E fuel, steel, bauxite, etc.), but it has "premium" money in the form of DMM Points, which let's you purchase things that you wouldn't get otherwise, like ship slots expansion or dock slot expansion.
  • South Park: Phone Destroyer: The standard currency, "Cartman Coins," can be acquired in bulk by winning matches. The premium currency is a form of in-game Cash, which you only get in measly amounts, but can be spent on more valuable things, like entire card packs, extra chances at Challenge Mode, or the Premium Battle Pass that scores you extra rewards from the Battle Pass. PVP tickets aren't as valuable as Cash, but are slightly more valuable than Coins as they can purchase outfits and special card packs.

    Endless Runner 
  • In Cookie Run, coins are collected in the stages, and used to complete level-ups, buy consumables, and upgrade Magic Candies. Crystals and Rainbow Cubes are purchased for real money or rewarded for reaching certain goals, and are used to draw from the gatchas and buy costumes respectively.
  • Subverted with Pokémon GO. The main currency in the game is Pokecoins, which can be only obtained by getting to the top of a gym and, of course, with real money.
  • Sonic Dash uses red-star rings as premium currency; they can be only earned by catching them on daily first runs, completing missions, or buying them with real money. Red-star rings can be used to buy new characters or revive after dying.
  • Sonic Runners (now defunct), like the above game, also uses red-star rings as such currency. Players can use them to play roulette (used to earn new characters, Chao, and buddies) or exchange for rings, which are regular currency. Red-star rings can be earned by completing daily challenges, episodes, participating in events, or rarely during runs and boss fights.
  • Temple Run: The primary currency, Gold, can be acquired by simply playing the game and collecting it on the map. Gems, however, are rare items that can only be obtained via reward systems, rare appearances on the map, or by purchasing with real money.

    Fighting Games 
  • Get Amped: There are 2 kinds of currency, one that you gain from playing it and one you get with real money (the exact name varies from server to server). The latter lets you buy more powerful accessories and play gamble in the gacha for even more powerful gears. You can exchange between the two, but the exchange rate isn't symmetrical.
  • Skullgirls: In the mobile game, the 2 currencies are Canopy Coins and Theonite. The former can be earned through regular playing while the latter can be purchased with real money or earned through achievements and missions.
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    Hidden Object 
  • In addition to gold coins, Alice in the Mirrors of Albion features Diamonds and Cash:
    • Diamonds are typically used to buy food (to fill up the Freemium Timer), special amulets, chests, weapons, and special keys to unlock new locations. They can be obtained in-game from leveling up, doing street patrols, and completing certain quests, but the amount obtained from the gameplay is rarely enough to buy the more useful items. Of course, paying real money would remedy that.
    • The second currency is "Cash", which is used in the Mirror World for the same purpose as diamonds (i.e. speed up timer, purchase amulets and so on). Unlike diamonds, however, Cash cannot be obtained in-game, and can only be purchased using real money.
  • Criminal Case sells Cash for real money, which can be used to speed up autopsies and/or analysis and to unlock the next stage without getting "help" from friends.
  • Hidden City has rubies—which, like Alice In The Mirrors of Albion, are used to buy energy boosters, tools, amulets, opening chests, etc. Rubies are typically obtained from leveling up and (sometimes) sharing your game's progress on Facebook, although players can also win additional Rubies by being actively involved in the game's social media pages.

    Idle Games 
  • Castle Cats and Dungeon Dogs: Both games have Gems as a premium currency. A couple can be earned per day, but they're needed for many things like upgrading space to store your dogs/cats, and buying/crafting some heroes (which costs at least 300 gems), so it's much easier to buy Gems with real money.
  • Disco Zoo: Regular coins, constantly flowing in from your zoo exhibits, are used for basic gameplay — going on rescue missions and buying new vehicles (once you've got enough animals in your zoo). Discobux, rarely acquired from missions, visitors, and events, can be used to hurry construction, make extra search attempts on rescue missions, and buy vehicles without meeting the zoo size requirement. All currencies can be bought in the shop, but it's pretty clear the game wants you to buy Discobux.
  • In My Cafe, Diamonds can only be obtained from participating in guild championships, winning the Barista Challenge, purchasing a gift box (with real money, of course), or by becoming a VIP. This currency can then be used to buy spices (for completing Special Orders), speed up the preparation time of the food/beverages, hire additional staff, etc.
  • Neko Atsume has two types of fish-based currency: Normal gray fish and gold fish. Both types of fish can be obtained from cats as gifts; however, gold fish is remarkably rarer and can be bought with real money. You can also exchange 500 normal fish for 10 gold fish.

    Massively Multiplayer Online 
  • In Animal Jam, diamonds serve as a sister currency to gems. Diamonds are earned by buying real world items, getting lucky on the Daily Spin (or using the members-only spin), going on each week (for members only), and getting certain gifts on Jamaalidays. Diamonds can be used to buy exclusive clothing, furniture, music, dens, and gems.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online has gold earned in-game, and two types of premium currency:
    • One is "Crowns", the currency used in the cash shop, obtained by spending real money (including subscribing to the game); these let you buy cosmetic items, shortcut items (e.g. merchant assistant that has limited functionality compared to in-game bankers), and DLC.
    • The rarer type of premium currency is Crown Gems. These are obtained only by purchasing Crown Crates (a box that gives you 4 random items), and either trading your consumable prizes from them for 1 gem per card, or getting a duplicate costume/pet/etc. (in which case the amount of gems is based on the item's rarity). These gems can then be used to buy an item from the Crown Crates outright, for 16-400 gems depending on which rarity tier it's in.
  • Elsword has both in-game money (usually referred as EC) and the one purchased with real money (its name varies between countries). The premium money is used to buy costumes (which acts as extra "socketing" slots, on top of making you look pretty), some special accessories and consumables, and the Ice Burners.
  • In Phantasy Star Online 2 and its sequel Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, ARKS Cash (AC) can be purchased in addition to the earnable currency Meseta. AC allows players to roll on scratch tickets for cosmetics and valuable items like enhancement and augmentation boosters as well purchase a Premium subscription for benefits like access to a personal shop to sell items to other players.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has a large number of premium currencies in addition to the Star Wars-standard credits, which hardly see any use outside of the main storyline content. The first premium currency to be introduced was the Cartel Coin, purchasable with real money and only accepted at the Cartel Market in-game vanity shop.
  • Warframe has platinum, a currency that can be either bought with real money or earned through trading with other players. It can be used to get prefabricated weapons and warframes (as opposed to just blueprints) from the market, accelerate the process of Item Crafting, buy extra space for your arsenal or to get cosmetics which cannot be otherwise earned.
  • World of Tanks: Silver is used to maintain tanks, buy most mainline tanks, and generally handles the majority of game progression in conjunction with XP. Gold is used to purchase premium tanks specially balanced to make it much easier to grind out Silver, can free up XP from premium and fully researched tanks to use elsewhere, buys Premium time with multiple benefits, buys premium ammo and consumables (also available for silver at decidedly uneconomical rates) and can buy silver directly.
  • Star Trek Online: Dilithium & Zen. Dilithium Ore can be earned through various ingame tasks, and then manually refined into actual Dilithium at a fixed amount per day. Zen can either be purchased with real money, or traded for Dilithium on the ingame Exchange. You thus technically don't need to spend a penny to get items from the Zen store, but there's far more Dilithium in circulation than there is Zen which limits the practicality of actually gaining Zen by trading Dilithium.

     Platformers 
  • LittleBigPlanet 3: Bubbles are the most common form of score items, but this game introduces Collectabells, hidden currency that, with a fixed amount appearing in game, are much more valuable and able to be spent on new cosmetics.
  • Super Mario Odyssey: In addition to the standard Super Mario coins, each kingdom has 100 purple coins (or 50, for smaller kingdoms), which can be redeemed at Crazy Hat shops for exclusive costumes and souvenirs.

     Role-Playing Games 
  • Chroma Quaternion has Season Stones that can be spent on exclusive items and weapons. You can earn them as occasionally from battling monsters (though you don't earn them if you use the Battle Shortcut option), completing daily missions, winning them at the lottery, or buying them for real money.
  • Genshin Impact has multiple tiers of premium currencies. The most common are the Primogems, which are your main currency for investing in the game's gacha mechanics. While they can be earned in-game by completing daily commissions, solving puzzles, opening treasure chests, obtaining achievements, participating in limited-time events, etc., you can also buy them with real money with various Microtransactions, and like with many gacha games, you get more that way. Next are the Genesis Crystals, which are purely premium and can only be bought with real money. They can be converted into Primogems via Crystal exchange or they can be used to buy alternate character costumes from Version 1.6 onward. Finally, there are the Fates, which are the primary currency for Wish banners. These can be bought with Primogems or earned through other means like character ascension rewards, and there are two types of Fates: the Acquainted Fates (which go to the permanent standard banner), and the Intertwined Fates (which go to the limited event character and weapon banners).
  • Grim Dawn has a currency called "tributes". They are exclusive to the Crucible DLC and are spent on buffs and defense upgrades.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd uses multiple types of items for in-game purchases, but its two premium currencies are Crystals and B-Chips.
    • Crystals are slowly earned through various in-game achievements, but can be purchased in bulk using real money. They can be spent on certain items and currencies for other purchase types, but their main use is for the game's gacha mechanic.
    • B-Chips can only be acquired by buying in bulk using real money. They're used for a variety of premium purchases, such as bulk item packages in the game's store, coupons that are spent to get rare outfits for Valkyries, premium outfits that become available in events, and game supplements like new music or themes for the main screen interface.
  • Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen utilizes two main currencies, gold and diamonds. Gold is won by completing and replaying stages, and is used to upgrade skills, purchase clothing in the main shop, and to craft new items. Diamonds are also used in the shop, and can also purchase extra stamina, gold, and stage re-play attempts. Additionally, diamonds are the only currency that can purchase extra re-play attempts in limited stylist battling events and extra "pulls" in lottery-type events. It's possible to collect about 65 diamonds a day while remaining free-to-play, but with weekly events that run between 500 and 5,000 diamonds to complete (and new content being introduced all the time), players are often encouraged to make real-money purchases of diamonds.
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    Romance Games 
  • Mr Love Queens Choice is an otome ren'ai that has cards that can only be obtained by purchasing a recharge or a pack with real money. Usually these are SR or SSR cards. Many of the events are nigh impossible to obtain the card for unless real money is spent, as the free chances add up to much less than half the goal.

    Simulation Games 
  • Harvest Town has Diamonds, which can be earned from completing daily quests or participating in the Harvest Cup, or bought from the item mall using real money. They can be used to speed up cooldown timers from Workshops, or buy materials for cooking/crafting/building.
  • My Little Pony (Gameloft): While Bits can be easily obtained through shops, games, and bushes, Gems are much rarer and often require days of playing to receive just a small amount, if they aren't given as a reward for certain accomplishments (like finishing a quest or completing a scrapbook page of ponies). Unfortunately, after a certain point in the game, Gems become the main way to purchase new ponies, and you're often required to use Gems to progress further in the game by buying a certain pony, shop, or prop.
  • My Tamagotchi Forever has one of this type called diamonds, which are used to buy specific items and unlock hints about how to get certain characters. They aren't rewarded as frequently as coins are, but are somewhat easier to get than most examples, as often 3 will be given for doing a task like taking a picture for the photo album or leveling up.
  • The Simpsons: Tapped Out: The basic currency is "cash" which can be easily obtained by tapping on buildings that generate pre-set amounts a various time increments or by setting your characters to do various activities around town. The premium currency is donuts, which occasionally crop up from various taps or special quests, but are mostly gotten via real world money.
  • Stardew Valley: Qi Gems are are a form of currency distinct from regular money, that can only be obtained by trading Golden Walnuts, completing weekly quests found in Mr Qi's challenge room, or as a rare drop from monsters killed in either the mines after the shrine of challenge is activated, or in the cavern during the Skull Cavern Invasion quest. In return, they can be traded in for some of the best items and crafting recipes in the game.
  • All three of Wargaming.net's "arcade simulator" games—World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes have a "silver" currency earned by playing the game, and a "gold" currency awarded by ranked and clan battle victories or purchased with real money. The perks obtained with gold vary from Pay To Win bonuses like the gold ammo in World Of Tanks, to "Pay to Grind Faster" mechanics like conversion of XP from one vehicle to another, to the acquisition of premium vehicles (some of which are debatably Pay To Win as well).

    Strategy games 
  • Clash of Clans has two:
    • Dark elixir, which can only be obtained by players of a high enough level and is used for its own assortment of troops and spells that regular elixir can't buy.
    • Gems, which can only be obtained through achievements or (rare) random drops or paying real money. They don't unlock any special features, but they can be used to speed up upgrades, boost collection of other forms of loot, and replace other forms of loot if not enough is available to buy something.
  • Terra Battle has Energy as the purchasable currency. Other than that, it's only obtainable as Daily Login rewards, scoring in Weekly Challenge mode, event rewards, or clearing the "Sweet Temptation" quest which only appears about once in two week. It's mainly used to obtain Adventurers or high tier Companions, but can also refill the Stamina gauge or retry stages after Game Over.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Splatoon:
    • Super Sea Snails, which can be spent to either increase the number of abilities on a piece of gear, reroll all the abilities attached to it, or increase its Star Power. Super Sea Snails are mainly earned by participating in the limited-time events known as Splatfests. There's also an alternate methods of obtaining Super Sea Snails after each game has its Grand Finale event by speaking to Judd after fulfilling certain requirements, so that those who missed out on them still have a way to upgrade their gear.
    • Splatoon 3 adds Sheldon Licenses, which are used to buy weapons. They're earned both through increasing your level, as well as each weapon's Freshness level (the latter of which is done by using a weapon regularly).

    Time Management 
  • Bakery Blitz utilizes two types of currencies, coins and crystals. Players are encouraged to make real-money purchases of both — but while coins can be earned in the course of normal gameplay (beating and replaying levels), crystals are much harder to accumulate. Without purchasing them directly, crystals can only be won in small amounts by completing special, one-time only challenges in the game stages. Coins and crystals both are needed to upgrade basic bakery equipment and ingredients, but advancing to a new stage means starting over with first-level equipment and ingredients.
  • Diner Dash Adventures requires coins and diamonds to upgrade the food and equipment at the various locations and level up customers to increase their patience, and both currencies can be purchased using real money. But diamonds are a lot harder to accumulate, as it can only be obtained from random daily quest rewards and events.

    Tower Defense 
  • The Battle Cats: In addition to XP, which you use to buy and level up your cat troops and obtain by simply beating levels, there's also Cat Food. You can only get Cat Food in very slow ways: real-time Gamatoto expeditions, a single can per ad watched, or one-time bonuses during events. Cat Food can be spent on Rare Cat Capsules, or troops from a set of specific "Special" units.
  • Plants Vs Zombies 2 has Gems. It can be purchased with real money, but also rarely dropped by zombies or rewards from Pinata Party. It's used to buy costumes, some premium plants, and open slots in the Zen Garden. In gameplay, it can also be used to boost plants.

    Web Games 
  • Fallen London has Fate, which while can be unlocked by playing, doing so is such a painfully slow process that it might as well be exclusive to people who are willing to spend real money on the game. Fate can be used to refill your actions, which let you progress in the game but take real time to refresh. There are also storylines that are Fate-locked, meaning that you must pay Fate in order to experience them, and no other currency.
  • FarmVille has two types of currency: Farm Coins and Farm Cash. Farm Coins are used to purchase most of the more mundane in-game items, animals, trees and crops, and are earned through routine farm work — harvesting crops, collecting the various animals' produce and selling items will all yield enough farm coins to afford whatever a player might wind up needing. Farm Cash, which can be used to buy the nicer decorations and very high-quality trees and animals, usually ones only available during the various in-game events, can only be earned in small amounts by leveling up or performing in-game quests — or by shelling out real-world cash.
  • Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]: Jewels were the premium currency, used to draw Medals and buy avatar boards; they could be purchased with real money or obtained in limited amounts through various in-game means. Contrast munny, the primary currency in the majority of titles in the Kingdom Hearts franchise and a non-premium currency here, which could be obtained in unlimited amounts through gameplay but was less useful as it couldn't be used to get Medals directly, only to upgrade Medals and buy ingredients.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Far Cry 5, the character can obtain Silver Bars through tasks, treasure troves or by buying them, and use them to buy cosmetic items such as clothes.
  • Used to be inverted in Roblox. In the past, while Robux, the main currency, couldn't be obtained easily without Builder's Club, there were tickets which could be earned daily and be used by "non-builder's-club" (NBCs) to buy certain objects. Now Roblox subverts this trope with the removal of tickets, leaving NBCs to mainly buy free items.

    Unsorted Video Games 
  • Ace Fishing has the unsubtly named Cash, which you can either buy using real money, or try to earn through leveling up, catching Boss fishes or completing certain quests. In-game Cash rewards offers just a pittance of the currency (not to mention, it's very rare to actually come across the Boss fishes and/or Cash-giving quests), while the items that require Cash to purchase (i.e. the best equipment in the game) can cost hundreds or even thousands of them.
  • Hungry Shark Evolution and Hungry Shark World have this in gems. They can be obtained though eating certain creatures, but only one at a time when many items cost hundreds of gems. They're easier obtained in World, as contests often reward an amount based on your performance at a certain goal.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross:
    • The primary method of currency is Gold, and is pretty readily available via questing, events, and interacting with the environment. Gems, which are required to purchase characters and extra chances at failed levels, are much more difficult to come across and are usually awarded after completing a great deal of quests and/or requirements.
    • Additionally, specialized coins (acquired when a player obtains a character they already own) can be used to buy items and other characters in the Coin Shop. Friendship Coins, Silver Coins, and Gold Coins are easy to come by as the rates for Grade R (Silver) and SR (Gold) characters is high, and Friendship Coins are obtained just by interacting with players on the Friends List. Platinum Coins, however, are only acquired from SSR character duplicates, making them much rarer and able to purchase much more sought-after characters and items.

    Non-game examples 
  • Played with on DeviantArt. The main currency is Points, which can be only obtained by either buying them with real money or being given by generous users. Points can be used to buy commissions and prints from other users, and core membership from the site itself. Another currency is fragments, which can be used to buy Badges to award to deviations and comments, but can only be earned by having a Core subscription, winning contents and challenges, or being awarded a Badge yourself.
  • Habitica: Everybody can earn Gold (coins) by crossing off tasks, and the Gold can be spent on weapons. But Subscribers (those who make a small monthly donation to the site in Real Life) have access to Jems, which can buy a lot of additional outfits and weapons; plus, these are the only way to buy most of the Quests you can go in with your group.
  • Neopets has two forms of currency. The first is Neopoints, which act as regular currency you can get by playing games and selling items, used to purchase the majority of items in the game. The second is Neocash, which requires real world money and was reserved for purchasing special items at the Neo-Cash mall. Seemingly subverted, however; many users on the site felt Neocash, and the mall by extension, were poor and unnecessary additions and never bothered to purchase any, settling just for the free Neopoints.
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