Google defines cheap as: Low in price; worth more than its cost. This is spot on when it comes to gaming. In yesterday’s entry I very briefly mentioned how over these past few months I have discovered that gaming is so cheap compared to other hobbies it’s almost incomprehensible. Let me share just a very brief insight into my own discovery process.
The average game runs about $64 including tax. I can get a bare minimum of 10 hours out of almost any game, and most actually exceed 30 hours. Some even breach the 200 hour mark like Battlefield or Call of Duty.
The average dinner for me and my fiancé runs about $35. I’m not talking a trip to Taco Bell. That’s more like $12 or less. I’m also not factoring in those $100 dinner nights or the even semi-nice $40-50 range. Straight up average costs about $35. One night of dinner costs half the price of a video game. One meal. To make things a little more fair, I should probably calculate this on an individual basis.
Let’s itemize a few more expenses I’ve been able to experience over the past few months.
- Movie Tickets: $12 each
- Admission into Disneyland: $150’ish? (We have passes) / Halloween Party: $63 (or $56 with our passes)
- Going anywhere: $3.45 / Gallon of gas (I get my gas at Sam’s Club and that’s what it was to fill up yesterday)
Those are just travel and event type hobbies or recreational activities. If you buy comic books, Magic the Gathering cards, modeling clay, or anything else you’ll also start to see how the prices quickly surpass gaming. Granted, there are single moments of greater expense that can be absolutely worth the higher price tag. A trip to Disneyland can be a magical experience and worth that price of admission (especially for young children) but on the balance these activities are premium for the entertainment value.
A monthly subscription to a MMO costs me $15. That’s like the gas to the theater and a ticket for one stinkin’ night. I can potentially get 30 days of play time. Let’s be uber conservative and say I’m one of those guys who can only play on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s still 8 nights or 8+ hours of entertainment for $15 vs. ANYTHING else.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to complain about the cost of the games or their upkeep when I can’t do anything else without paying substantially more. I’ve always been a value driven person. I’ll stop paying for a subscription to a MMO when I feel the MMO isn’t good enough to justify it — I’ve NEVER stopped because $15 is too much money. Looking ahead, I can’t imagine ever reaching a point where I’m having to tighten my belt and say, “Gee, I have to cancel that subscription to my MMO so that I can go to the movies once this month.”
Think about what you pay for in the world then think about gaming in terms of value. Everyone won’t agree, but I think most of you — if you’re being honest — will have no choice but to see the same thing.
Free to Play is a manipulation of the way our minds think. We don’t really need our games to be free. I’m happy paying such a relatively low price for a quality product that will give me 2-200x the value. I don’t need an even cheaper product for an even cheaper price. Just keep providing me with great value.