I remember mastering my negotiation skills with my dad to convince him to get us PlayStation 1 ages ago, and I remember also my evil plan of using my little sister as our love messenger with just holding a piece of paper that said, “can we buy the PlayStation 1 today” and one day, he agreed.
Video games were and still are one of the fun go-to places to relax and spend some quality time with ourselves or with others. But when you get older, your perspective around money changes because now you’re in charge of making it and this begs the question of, is spending money on games worth it or not and what to do next?
In my opinion, spending money on games is worth it when it’s empowering your wellbeing as in depressurizing, meeting new people, bonding with family and friends, having fun, making money, learning stuff, and passing time. It’s unwise to spend money on games if it’s endangering your wellbeing and life by being too much, addictive, altering reality, wrong type of games, and possible security breach.
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Why you’re spending time and money on games?
To some people, playing games is one of their hobbies that they enjoy doing on their free time and there are a lot of other reasons why we spend our time and money on games and in my opinion are all valid reasons:
- Meeting new people
- Bonding with our family and friends
- Passing time
- Depressurize from stressors
Where is your money spent on in the gaming world?
This includes buying the console like the PlayStation 5 console. It could also include phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.
This includes the games themselves, either buying it from the beginning or updating to the paid version after trying the free version of it first.
Internet fees for the online gaming
Online gaming will require specific internet speed and bandwidth and the more sophisticated the game, the more internet bandwidth and speed utilization used, and the more money paid for it.
Some games do have updates that you’ll need to buy, some of them can’t be completed without those upgrades, and some games can continue without those upgrades, but it’ll feel less entertaining for some people.
Same idea as the gym membership, it’s the annual fees required to play certain game.
Those are things you buy within the game itself like a costume for the player, or a specific weapon, or a specific car.
Game room setup
This includes any equipment or furniture that goes into the game room in the house. Average cost of this is around $3000 but some gamers take this room setup too seriously and can spend around $30,000.
When spending money on games worth it
The basic principle here is that, spending money on games becomes totally worth it and okay when it adds value to your other wellbeing dimensions in the following 7 situations:
1- Depressurizing yourself (Mental)
Games can serve as a relaxation tool to reduce our stress. I’m not saying it should be the only get away place to have because I don’t believe it is, but it’s a way to restore our balance after a hard day at work
2- Meeting new people (Social)
I remember before buying PlayStation 1, I was asking my friends if they know someone who has it to kind of know pros and cons of it, so I ended up meeting new people providing me with data and one of them even invited me to his home to try it out myself
3- Having fun and being happy (Emotional)
I think that’s an obvious one and it’s amazing to see grownups still having fun and laughing their selves out when playing football in teams for example.
4- Making money out of it (Financial)
“PewDiePie”. I think most of us knew or heard about this Youtuber being the first one to reaches 100M subscribers on Youtube and he did it by playing games and sharing those videos.
After 3-4 years on Youtube, he reached 15M subscribers and Wall Street Journal estimated his 2013 earnings to be $4 million. If he can do it, so can you.
Another stream of income through gaming is by creating and selling them. So, if you’re spending money to learn about game creation or to produce it, then that’s a wise way of spending money.
5- Learning new stuff (Mental)
This happens when the games you’re playing are educational in nature like those used in schools to teach math or science in an entertaining way.
Some people also share that they’ve learned something or the basics of something through playing games, like learning the basics of driving of flying from the driving or flying simulation games. (Still not enough to consider yourself competent. Official ways of learning are still a must)
6- Bonding with your family and friends (Social)
Before video games, when the family got together in holidays, they used to play cards, or snake and ladder, or chess among other more games. Now video games are considered an option too. Now we have family games that the whole family can play and have fun in doing so.
Friends now can be physically in the same room playing and having fun, or they can be digitally connected in an online game and still have good time.
7- Passing time (Emotional)
If you’re 30+ like me, then I’d bet you remember solitaire and how it was a very peaceful way of passing time. I remember landmines but that one was irritating sometimes.
Games can be used to pass time till your wife finishes her 2-day shopping tour, or till your son finishes his swimming training, etc. Yes, there are “better” ways of passing time, but let’s agree that we don’t have to be productive all the time. We as “humans” need a brake and some time to simply kill.
When spending money on games is unwise
The basic principle here is that, spending money on games should be discontinued when it interferes and endangers your other wellbeing dimensions and prevents you from having a better lifestyle. That becomes apparent in the following 5 situations:
1- Too much
If gaming is consuming too much of your time, affecting your productivity and life, then cutting funds from it is a must to maintain a good quality of life.
If you found out that you’re spending too much money on games, compromising your saving and investing opportunities, then you should stop spending money on games as this is now has become unnecessary item, and I’ve created a quick guidance that can help you stop spending on unnecessary things including games.
It means one can’t function normally without it and becomes totally dependent on its existence. I’m sure you know that gaming can be addictive and nowadays it can be in so many ways now.
Now one can be addictive to the gaming behavior itself. One can get addictive to spending money on the in-game content. There’s an addiction of gambling now that some games have gambling as part of its content so some players might find this attractive and shift to the real gambling world
3- Altered reality
Some people get totally absorbed with some games that it becomes their new reality or provides wrong standards for how life should be lived or how things should be done
4- Wrong type of games
Gaming is fun and most of the time it’ll teach us something even if it’s not intended to do that as the case for the fun and educational games. Yet you find some games are designed to teach you how to give your neighbor a hell of time? and the more you subject him to consequent traps or ticks, the higher score you get.
How come we have such game and then complain about not being nice to one another?
How come there are very intense action games with intense blood scenes and then be surprised to hear that a child dressed like that character and stabbed someone?
I can go on and on and I think you get the idea here. Games aren’t safe anymore. In the past, games were simple, we had Pacman, super Mario, and similar fun, entertaining and safe games.
Now there are a lot of variety of games and a huge number of them won’t be suitable for certain ages nor for certain purposes of why you’re playing in the first place.
We all remember the blue whale game and how it caused teenagers to kill themselves intentionally or accidentally. Other games, specially the online ones, can be a huge breach to your security, causing your phone or tablet data to be stolen or lost.
Related: If you’re a book reader and wondering if spending money on books is worth it, then you can check this article here where I talk about when it’s wise to do so and when it’s not and how much is enough for each type of books
How to spend money wisely on games? (4 Tips)
It’s worth mentioning that if your kind of serious about gaming then you can be spending a good amount of money into this. Different studies I found are talk about gamers spend between $71 – $230 a month on the in-game content alone. That’s around $840 – $2800 a year without including the other spending areas for the games themselves or the room setup, etc.
That’s a huge amount of money that deserves to be thought about carefully before wasting it, and if I were to coach you, I’ll be wanting to know about your real reasons for doing this first before changing anything.
But because this is a one-way street so far, I’ll be guiding you with some of my personal recommendations and questions for you to consider.
1- Identify your real reason for gaming
What is your reason for spending money on games? Is it just for fun or are you expecting to learn things, or are you planning to use it for creating and empowering connections
2- Be a minimalist when it comes to spending
Once you identify your reason for spending money on games, you can think of how much money is needed as a minimum to achieve that goal of having fun or passing time.
The only exception to this point is if your goal with spending money on games is to make money from it as from having a Youtube channel about gaming or any other gaming related business ideas.
3- Get back money from it if you can
The obvious way to do so is as mentioned above, when you create a Youtube channel for example about gaming or a specific one and you reap benefits from ads, affiliates, or sponsors.
The other way of getting money back is if you can resell the game you bought or sell some of the microtransactions you bought within a game
4- Know when to stop spending money on games
Games can be addictive at worst, be counterproductive at most, and productive at best which isn’t the common case as observed. If you’re in the first two situations, then money spent here is unwise and it should be directed to other areas.