The Price We Pay for Gaming
Gaming is an expensive hobby, but most of us are willing to pay the price
The other day, I finally bought a PS4. I have wanted one for a while, but the financial constraints of my situation prevented me from doing so. And yet I cringed when I got to the checkout.
I bought a PS4, another controller, and three games, which included Final Fantasy VII: Remake, Kingdom Hearts III, and Overcooked 2. Altogether, the total was about $500.
I am not someone who has spent $500 on anything before, with the exception of rent. The transaction was yet another example that gaming is a very expensive hobby, which is probably no secret to anyone. But it still hurt as I reached the Amazon checkout and actually had to see $500 drain from my checking account.
I thought of all the better ways I could use that money — like donate to charity, invest it, or save it to pay my bills. But I am a pretty frugal guy to begin with, so I had a lot of money saved up because I have a general rule to put a third of my money from every paycheck into my savings to stop myself from mindless purchases.
I have many vices which include running, writing, and going out to eat with my girlfriend. None of these vices are too expensive or require a $500 purchase, and yet gaming did. What I will say is that a video game console and games are a long term investment. It’s not like a meal that’s going to go away in an hour — it’s an almost permanent outlet and hobby.
Gaming is expensive, but it’s not expensive in a way that adds up. Well, it definitely could be, but gaming is very expensive upfront, and then not as expensive down the line once you’re satisfied with your gaming situation. As a teacher, almost all of my kids who might not be of the best means, living in inner-city Baltimore, have some sort of gaming console between an Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch — especially my boys.
When I was younger, my parents thought gaming was the bane of my existence. Maybe they were — but every birthday or Christmas, all I wanted was games. We weren’t very well off and we struggled financially all the time having to move all the time depending on my dad’s job.
I will always remember the time we went to Toys ‘R’ Us (rest in peace) and my mom’s credit card reached the limit — and I was trying to buy a Tony Hawk game. I was about seven years old, and yet I sulked and wouldn’t speak to anyone for hours, almost to send the message of how important games were to me.
Older generations will always lament about how gaming is ruining the younger generation. They have a point that moderation is key — but despite my gaming addictions, especially to MMORPGs, no matter how many homework assignments I missed or books I didn’t read, I turned out fine. I learned the key of worldbuilding, hand-eye coordination, and developed good instincts with my reflexes.
I’m not saying there isn’t a dark side to gaming, but that they have become such a universal outlet for kids, as well as adults, that even poorer families without a lot of means like my own, like my kids, would invest in video games and current generation consoles.
For many people, for many kids, the pros of gaming outweigh the cons.
You put down one big payment and it satisfies you or your kids for years. It’s not like it’s an easy payment, and I can only speak for console gaming and not PC gaming, but people are willing to make an investment, like I was the $500 between a PS4, two controllers, and three games, because it’s a worthy investment as a consumer.
You can say that if I pay that much for games, I’m going to get the bang out of my buck — which I definitely will. Gaming is a very expensive hobby, and it’s here to stay, but people still game because they’re willing to pay the price.