Category Archives: Economics

Economics and Gaming

A short aside.

Every so often I just want to grab a whole bunch of tech writers and game makers, shake them by the lapel, and yell “YOU LIVE WITHIN A LARGER ECONOMY”.

I know. It sounds obvious! But whenever I read a discussion of “AAA” gaming and consoles and resale and all of that, nobody ever really seems to think about it. There’s never anybody who steps up and says “maybe people aren’t buying these games because they can’t.”

Maybe they’re trying to find the cheapest entertainment options, ones that leverage devices that they’re already able to afford thanks to instalment payment plans (hello, mobile!), because they don’t really have any other choice.

Maybe they live in places that don’t have the sort of Internet connections you want them to have because those places are cheaper to live in.

Maybe they buy and lend and trade and sell because it’s the only way they can experience anything like the console games that they grew up with.

Maybe they aren’t buying new PCs because they can’t justify the price tag for something they already have, even if they’d like to upgrade, and are only buying tablets because they’re technically new devices and (people forget this!) are actually really damned good ways to teach your kids things. People will go deep into hock for their kids’ sake.

Maybe they only shell out for Call of Duty and Madden because they know their friends have those, know what they’re getting, and can’t damned well afford to take a chance on non-refundable entertainment products.

Maybe not. But the point is, you have to think about these things. You have to remember what the hell is going on in America and around the world. You have to remember that Silicon Valley and the lucky techies there and elsewhere with the good-paying jobs are the EXCEPTION rather than the RULE. Maybe you have to pay a bit more attention to what the rise of Apple as America’s most profitable company is saying about the possible permanence of the shift of the economy to extreme polarization.

You aren’t in a bubble. You’re part of a larger system, and that system is really, really not doing well right now.

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