Spending money on virtual items, such as better items or even buying an account. I find this somewhat borderline on rational and irrational. Cos although the act of playing a game has no real consequence in the real life, the player gets happiness from accomplishing something, maybe he can fight something stronger than previously, even though it's a shortcut, he has a direct relationship with the success of his character or account. So he feels that he is better than the opponent through his account.
I thought it was worth talking more about, cos it's quite rampant and I think many people from my generation and older somehow can't get used to the idea of paying money for something that doesn't exist.
Sometime back, I played some games, I spent many hours on that game and burned my weekends and ignored my girlfriend (wife) during those weekends, she was pretty fine with it. So I spent hours training my character or trying to sell items in the game for more in-game currency so that I could get better equipment. That's a pretty usual RPG.
One day it dawned upon me that it was really messing up my life. Not the game but rather the time spent on the game. Same like the concept of money vs the prioritization of money. The game is just a game, I could choose to play or not, and I could choose to play less, but yet I wanted to become better in the game. Then I thought, "hey", you know what, just $5 spent would let me double my efficiency on weekdays and I could spend weekends with my girlfriend. I was working at that time, and 5 bucks for more free time and I could still get ahead in the game.
So I started looking at gaming as a hobby, similar to walking around. You wouldn't think anything of buying swimming trunks or goggles to swim right? You wouldn't mind spending money on a bicycle right? If you think about it, if I don't swim, I don't buy goggles. So a non-swimmer won't need goggles. Meaning you spent money on a hobby. Same as a bicycle. So if we look at gaming, putting a couple of bucks into the game to improve your gaming experience is absolutely rational. It even becomes a good idea if it helps you get more time with your family. (Let's not talk about not even playing the game, else we'll end up talking about NO entertainment or hobbies at all.)
So let's agree that everyone has some hobbies, and we all respect that, you can like to swim, cycle, bowl, play pool, and play video/computer games. All of these require equipment. It's something like a hobby cost.
So let's look at swimming, you can buy cheapo goggles which may fog up in the water, so you might buy more expensive goggles to enjoy the swimming experience.
You can rent a mountain bike at the bike rental company, or you could buy a cheapo mountain bike, but you can instead buy a racer bike to fly by other cyclist.
And you can bowl with a house ball or you can buy a customized ball with fingertip grip holes with insets.
Same as pool or billiards where you can have your own custom cue and you won't need to use the crappy cues that the parlours have which are usually bent.
So you see, there's always a FREE way to have a hobby, then there's a slightly more expensive way to enjoy any hobby.
If you look at gaming, it's the same, you need to buy a handphone or computer, then you can play for free and slowly train up and burn your time and affect your family time. Or you could spend a couple of bucks to enhance your game, get ahead of others and still have time for the family. Previously when you had to buy CDs or cartridges no one complained. But now, when the game is free and you can choose pay money to improve the game experience, people find it baffling.
This is especially common in other counties like China, Taiwan, USA, Japan, Korea. Many of them, do not have as much entertainment outlets as Singaporeans. Singaporeans live very close to entertainment venues as compared to many other countries. For them to go somewhere, it might take hours. So to them, spending a couple of bucks on a game is the same as spending on any other hobby, if you think about their life, they probably stay away from their parents, they rent a place, work, and go home, if they have a partner good, they have other forms of mental stimulation and entertainment. Else, after work they can stay at home and play some games and interact with people online. Do you think you will go out after work to interact with people? No right, so staying at home and going online is a reasonable pastime. In Singapore, we typically do not have this kind of life, we usually always have someone around us, when we are young, we stay with our parents, only when we get married, do we move out. So we think, why need to spend money when there's free entertainment all around.
And yet, there's a balance in this. I've spent a couple of bucks here and there to make my life easier playing the game, so I could have more free time, but yet I know of people who spend $300 on a game buying items or even buying more turns so that they can win a guild war. Furthermore, the rewards of the guild war might not be worth the money spent, they know it, but yet they still do it cos of pride. The thrill of winning. Ok fine, $300 not my problem, your money you can spend it anyway you want.
My previous clan mates had instances where they spent $200 per week on random draws, it's like a random card pack where you can get random items when you open them. So it's $800 per month. Then there are clans which ALWAYS win clan wars. Every single week. No one really knows the cost, but a rough estimation by my previous clan mates make it out to be $6,000 per month to keep winning guild wars every week. And that's $6,000 per guild member. The rewards were definitely not worth the cost. Furthermore, the game has a growth mechanism, meaning every week, they will release new items, which is around 1% better than the previous item.
But hey, it's their hobby, again, none of my business. Maybe they are all rich kids.
Then there are stories like these...
We’ve all heard tales about people squandering their inheritance by gambling or playing the stock market, but wasting it away on mobile games?
A devastated wife in Japan sought opinions on the Yomiuri Online forum regarding her unbelievable situation. She had 8 million yen (about S$99,000) of inheritance from her mother’s insurance payout after she died three years ago.
Her husband knew this was an important keepsake her mother left her. The couple also had savings of 4 million yen, which makes a hefty sum of 12 million yen (about S$148,000) in their bank.
But to her horror when she checked the bank account, there was nothing left. Upon reviewing the account statements, she noticed an unusual monthly mobile games payment over the past two and a half years.
As it turned out, her husband has been secretly financing his addiction towards mobile games using this money, pretending like nothing was happening.
The worst part about this situation is that the man did not even apologise after he was found out.
The woman said she is considering filing for divorce.
Responses to her thread have generally told her not to forgive him, though one netizen has commented that she should bring him to a hospital, implying that he might have an addiction.
Others have noted that regardless of the insurance payout, using 12 million yen on games is an obvious indication of the vast difference in values and priorities.
A more debatable comment argues that gatcha (a system used in games where players get an item of differing rarity, based on a coded Random Number Generation or RNG) is more harmful than pachinko (pinball-like slot machine game in Japan). Such items can usually be purchased with a special form of in-game currency, or bought directly with real cash. It should therefore be regulated, the netizen said.
With the Japanese government legalising casinos last December in an attempt to boost tourism, the problem of gambling addiction proves to be an even more pressing issue. Other than banning gambling addicts from casinos, it seems like the Japanese government may have to consider ways to prevent mobile phone gamers from splurging too.
--- taken from
That's when this kind spending on games becomes unreasonable.
I think it's pretty acceptable if we look at spending on virtual items in games as though it were any other hobby. So I would think that a reasonable amount to spend would be similar to whatever other hobby one might have taken up instead. So maybe even $1,000 a month may be reasonable.
(Reasonable for others, but if you're on this blog, chances are we all think the person is out of his mind.)
But let's look at it objectively. $1,000 a month for any hobby you really like is pretty ok for some people. A bit overdoing it but still ok.
Although if we look at it from a purely logical point of view, it doesn't make sense.
The game is a program, there is no tangible item, you are spending real tangible money for intangible items which may disappear IF the game company closes the game, the game company can make an infinite number of the items which you are buying at any point in time. You gain no real benefit if you win the guild wars or even if you become the top player within the game.
But, we're all open minded people so we look at things from all perspectives and respect other people's decisions. It is a hobby and anyone has the right to any form of entertainment as long as it doesn't hurt or affect anyone else. And if someone looks at it as a hobby, like many other hobbies, people spend money on them to enjoy it in the best way they want.
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