I Spent $1250 On Video Games?!
Updated: May 7
"Kevin! You spent $967 on room service!" - Peter McCallister, Home Alone 2
Yikes! One thing comes to mind when reading that headline- You know that scene at the end of Home Alone 2 when Kevin's dad yells at him for spending $967 on room service? That's pretty much what it felt like when my wife laid that bombshell news on me as we prepare for the upcoming tax season. Thankfully, she wasn't angry. To preface, this is essentially my only hobby and besides a few essentials, I don't really spend money elsewhere. Even so, in the age of games as a service, it makes me wonder if this will become the norm moving forward in gaming.
Gaming Is Expensive
Gaming has always been an expensive hobby. Looking back at my own gaming journey from a small child to where I am today, games have essentially remained the same price (or gone down if you consider inflation) for roughly 30 years. We're talking $40-60 per game, $40-60 for controllers, and even though consoles have steadily increased in price, they've always been a few hundred dollars. Not to mention, all of the glorious gaming accessories and swag to fangirl over.
As we move into this service age where everything requires a monthly subscription, the prices can certainly sneak up on you. With Game Pass Ultimate running about $15/month and Fortnite Crew at $12/month, you'll be spending $324/year just playing Fortnite on Xbox. I know what you're thinking, you don't HAVE to purchase Fortnite Crew; you can individually buy each Battle Pass you want. But that also begs the question- What about the other games that utilize the Battle Pass structure. Apex Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, and Halo Infinite all use the Battle Pass system as a means of revenue for their free-to-play games. This is an approach that will ultimately be adopted by more and more game developers in the future. Why? Because these studios need a steady stream of revenue coming in to support their endeavors. A one-and-done price point of $60 won't cut it, but the ongoing revenue of something like a subscription-based Battle Pass can generate twice that much.
Quit Whining and Get Over It
Old school gamers might not like this approach of a subscription-based game service and would instead rather pay a flat fee for a game that delivers everything upfront. Unfortunately, it's not likely that sentiment will be shared by the publishers of these games trying to turn a profit. In 2020, gaming was the #2 entertainment service behind television bringing in roughly $160 billion dollars over the year. With more developers adopting the Battle Pass model, it's best to come to terms with its inevitable takeover now. Of course, no one is forcing you to purchase the Battle Pass or fancy cosmetics for these free-to-play games. That's completely up to you.
Gaming was the #2 entertainment service in 2020...
And that's another thing! I haven't even touched on cosmetics and how much I get suckered into shelling out $20 here and there for silly cosmetics. My wife laughingly pointed out that men spend more money on their digital wardrobe than their physical wardrobe. She's not wrong (That's another way of saying, "She's right!"). At $20 a pop for most cosmetics, at least the ones that are worth it, something will eventually catch your eye and you'll be tempted to look your best on the battlefield with some animated gun skin or funny emote. That's probably the single thing that triggers the "conservative" gamer to no end. Gamers aren't arguing about vaccine mandates and are rather choosing a side on the adoption of silly cosmetics in games like Halo Infinite. Honestly, if I read one more comment that says, "They're ruining Halo Infinite by turning it into Fortnite", I might boogie bomb the comment section in retaliation. I don't have time to get into why that is such a stupid argument, but to each their own, I suppose.
"They're ruining Halo Infinite by turning it into Fortnite" - Idiots Who Know Nothing About Gaming
So, what did my hard-earned $1250 get me in gaming during 2021? Let's break it down:
Xbox Series X - $500
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - $180
Fortnite Crew - $144
Halo Infinite (in-game currency) - $130
F1 2021 - $80
Hot Wheels Unleashed - $60
GTA Trilogy: The Definitive Edition - $60
Fortnite V-Bucks - $50
Jackbox Party 8 - $30
Miscellaneous Indie Games - $16
This is a rough estimation from my recollection of what I spent in 2021. Aside from the console purchase, which doesn't happen every year, I still shelled out $750 to support the Xbox Series X purchase. As you can see, a good portion of my money went to cosmetics for Halo Infinite and Fortnite. There were plenty of games I opted to skip in 2021 in lieu of cosmetics though. I chose not to get Battlefield 2042, Call of Duty Vanguard, Far Cry 6, and several other new releases. 2022 will undoubtedly carry more games and must-haves, but the value-added from the Game Pass Ultimate remains strong. The above breakdown might represent my money spent but doesn't paint a good picture of the games I played in 2021 because of the Game Pass. From Forza Horizon 5 to Gears 5, with a steadily growing list of games being added to the Xbox library, there's no shortage of content for gamers.
...the value added from Game Pass Ultimate remains strong.
All Things Considered...
I'm sure there are plenty of other gamers who can tout bigger numbers to show off their gaming prowess. My experience lies solely with Xbox in this new generation. I don't have a PlayStation 5 nor a Nintendo Switch, but could you imagine if I did? Both Sony and Nintendo have their own proprietary subscription services and are adding more to their offerings each month.
One thing is for sure, while gaming might not seem like an expensive hobby compared to others, it does have a price tag attached to it and these sneaky $20 charges here and there add up over time. So, keep a mindful watch on your kids, your spouse, and your own bank account because gaming can be expensive.
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