I remember when I first got into gaming. Get ready for this, it was nearly 25 years ago, back in 1991, and computers such as the Commodore 64, Spectrum 128k and Amstrad were on every child’s Christmas list. The value of escapism was at the time fairly cheap.
Back then the financial element of games was simple. The consumer bought the game and played it; that was it. There was no downloadable content, no add-on packs (or at least very few of them), no downloads, as the Internet was not even the wet-dream of a programmer back then. Games were about £4 to buy and they arrived on cassette tapes or floppy disks.
The gaming industry was closer to a bedroom industry for enthusiastic programmers than the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. The purpose of this post is not to demonstrate how much the gaming industry has changed, nor harp on about how much better and simpler the games were back then, because like today there were good and bad games, just to raise what I think is an interesting point.
Today, people think nothing of spending £50 on a new game, knowing that they’ll be spending even more when the next add-on pack or downloadable content is released, and that’s not to mention the possibility of additional monthly fees if it is an MMO. What could be considered to be large amounts of money are spent on something in that you only physically own the DVD(s) that the game came on, and that’s assuming you don’t download the game.
But then what happens once you’ve completed the game or you’ve got bored of it? Well, you can try trading it for another game if you can, but you never get the full cost back. If you can’t trade it, the game will just sit there on your shelf and gather dust until the next time you decide to play it, and get bored half way through.
If you looked at it from a logical and financial perspective, it would be better to simply spend your video game money on Online Casino’s and Gambling sites.
After all, both cost money, both provide entertainment and escapism and that burst of adrenaline, both could be said to have the same possible negative side effects, yet with online casino’s there is a chance that you could win actual real, bona fide money, money that can be spent anywhere in the world. With video games, you pay through the roof for mere entertainment
Online Casino’s also don’t have the same associations that video gamers do. When you think of Casinos you imagine a James Bond scenario of very rich and beautiful people, laughing over dry martinis. When you think of gamers, you get that image of some lonely, overweight guy slouching over his computer. Someone who has forsaken his social life long ago to the great god of gaming. Of course, this image is far from the truth yet the stereotype remains.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love Video Games. They’re awesome. They allow me to escape into infinite worlds, and become infinite characters. Yet, I find it odd, that we as a population are willing to spend so much on something that we get nothing physical back for our money.
Then again, maybe, just maybe I am just underestimating the amount of value we hold in true escapism.