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$5 Lattes and 50 Hour Games

Tonight’s topic is pretty simple. I want to just muse and ponder quickly on a sad/strange observation related to our spending habits on games.

I was listening to the Touch Arcade Show on my way to work this morning and one of the hosts made a statement about a certain game costing $5 on mobile and therefore would never see more than 10,000 copies sold. It was was so matter-of-fact. It wasn’t even a point of discussion. It was said then he moved on to continue on with his point.  I was a little taken aback by this.

Then this evening I saw a tweet — this one a little more direct — calling out the issue.

Dang… how sad, and how true.

$5 won’t (always) stop me from buying a game on mobile devices, but it will give me pause.  Why? I’ll drop $10 on lunch without blinking an eye. There’s zero pause spending $5 on a burger. I just do it.

Sometimes I’m even hesitant to spend $1 or $2 on a game, but I get my morning Diet Coke and pay $1.85 — every single day.

I technically understand why. It’s the same academic principles they taught in Marketing 101 back in college. Yet despite knowing, I still fall into the psychological trappings.

Part of this is exactly why F2P games exist. They want to be my Diet Coke. I won’t let them, but they’re someone else’s latte

I was talking to my wife about this the other day. Before we got married she thought video games were a waste of money. She couldn’t fathom how anyone could spend $60 on a game. Then she learned they can last for 10, 20, 100+ hours and suddenly she’s saying, “Wow this is an awesome value! I had no idea games lasted this long.” It’s the same argument I used in 1997 when I was trying to tell my friends why I would spend money each month of Active Worlds, or why it was fine to pay a subscription to The Realm or EverQuest:”You spend more going to the movie one time for less than two hours, and I can get hundreds of hours out of this $15.”

The subject is certainly a thinker. I’m going to spend more time evaluating my spending habits.

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