Tobold's Blog
Saturday, November 07, 2020
I am selfish

I am fortunate to have enough disposable income to be able to spend money on games. And I have an interest in behavioral economics, so sometimes I reflect and use myself as a "sample of one" to see what exactly I am spending this games money on. And there are a lot of different trends to observe there.

In most cases, I am not much of a completionist collector. I can play Genshin Impact and never be bothered that I don't have all characters, or play World of Tanks and not mind that I don't have all the tanks. But there are exceptions, for example I buy all 5th edition D&D books published by WotC, both rulebooks and adventure modules. In fact I even buy them twice, once physical, and once digital, on D&D Beyond.

The large majority of my spending goes to straight up purchases. I buy D&D books, I buy PC games (mostly on Steam), I buy Switch game cartridges, I buy board games (mostly on Amazon), and those are all straight buy to own kind of deals. Well, technically you never own video games, you just own a license to use them, but its a perpetual license.

Having said that, I am less allergic to buying virtual stuff in games than some of my readers. I rarely play a Free2Play game for free, I usually spend at least some money on it. Most games have some sort of starter pack or VIP level system which makes it that early purchases give you a lot of advantages. I don't usually go overboard and become a "whale", because the more you buy, the more the returns are diminishing. But I figure that a lot of games I like wouldn't exist if nobody would spend money on them, and if I can afford to spend some, it enables other people to play for free.

However, if I spend money on something, I want to get something out of it. I'm selfish that way. I wouldn't spend money on a game when that spending would be a donation, or just buy me some cosmetic effect. And I am downright mean when it comes to content creators on the internet: I'll use my free Twitch subscription or other free means of rewarding a content creator ("click the subscribe button!"), but I rarely pull out my wallet and donate or sponsor somebody on Patreon. Maybe that is because of my own meagre efforts of monetization of my content, and the even more meagre response to it. I don't really get the whole donation economy around some of the more popular streamers and influencers. For me, putting content on the internet is a form of self-expression; if I do it for free, why should I finance somebody else for what is essentially the same thing, just more popular than me? I can understand a level of donation that for example finances a content creators game purchases, so that he isn't depending on freebies from the industry. But financing an influencer's "full time job" or even luxury in some extreme cases, I can't see an argument for.

> I have an interest in behavioral economics, so sometimes
> I reflect and use myself as a "sample of one" to see what
> exactly I am spending this games money on

Oh come on Tobold... Do you expect us to believe in this sugarcoated excuse?

Please ;-)
It's all subjective really. I wouldn't call what you describe as being selfish.

When I sub to a twitch streamer it's because I feel like they have earned it by giving me content to enjoy. Especially as I have less time to actively play games I often enjoy them through a streamer. Thats worth something to me. I see it as no different then supporting a F2P game by buying a MTX item. But it makes sense that not everyone sees it that way.
But do you also donate to Wikipedia or any other free service that you may be using in a daily basis (for years)? Nothing is free and everyone should deserve some monetary compensation, not only streamers.
Not regularly no. You have a good point.
I didn’t say that my interest in economics was the reason I spent money on games. It is just the reason I write about it.

I have a less rosy image about “free services” like Wikipedia, and would contest the idea that “everyone should deserve some monetary compensation”. If you look behind the scenes, you can often find editors driven by large egos, and cultures that are far from egalitarian. It follow’s Sayre’s Law, that “in any dispute the intensity of feelings is inversely proportional to the value of the issue at stake; that is why academic politics are so bitter.”.
My point is that if you feel it's a good thing to offer money to a streamer (or an indie company of a beloved video game) then you should feel the same for any other free service that you may be using on a regular basis. Wikipedia si just one of the many many free services that completely changed our life and that's not the only one. There are tons of free and independent blogs who get almost no money despite offering a great service.
Mine, for example. :)
Exactly. I don't get this "donation" culture that can be translated into "virtual begging". If you donate to some random Twitch/Youtube streamer to watch a weird "unboxing" or "reaction" video... Do you also donate to something a little more "useful" like charities, cancer research, etc? I really, really don't understand this "urge" to throw money at the screen to "support" these clowns or waifus (because we all know that boobs lead the market nowadays, more than ever).
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