The long term investment/payoffs of video games

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Misskitty, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Misskitty, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014

    Misskitty macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    Maybe there are others in my shoes.

    Reason I ask? Well because over the past 7-8 years in the 360/PS3 gen of console gaming, I've spent easily 10-15K on console gaming. Games whether its renting or buying, accesories, online memberships, buying newer updated console models etc. Yes, one could look at that money and immediately notice that, that would buy you a nicer car! Or how about a very nice 12 months living elsewhere and exploring a new culture. Or better yet, in the bank. If I could go back in time today and have the choice to have all that extra money back and sacrafice giving up the last gen consoles experience, sadly I would. Do I regret it? As many great memories and games Ive had over the past 8 years and as many great people Ive met online, most definitely yes. I know many who used to be diehards like me, and have moved onto bigger and better things in life.

    I was a diehard gamer for about 5 years where I would often buy a new game once a week, sometimes two games a week. It may not seem like a lot at first, but over time it adds up trust me. I will admit, I went through a phase where I was heavily addicted to video games. Speaking from my experience, it is one of the most rotten most depressing indescribable feelings in the world. There were many MANY dark weekends and days that I would spend hours on end, full days playing video games.

    Thankfully, I was able to get myself out of it, but thinking back, I felt it took a lot longer than it should have taken. I can gaurentee that I would never let myself get into this state ever again. Not even in any state even remotely close.

    Well I am in my mid 30s now and have noticed over the past 3 years that my priorities in life have changed and my interest in console gaming has significantly dropped. My game time, my interest, motivation, curiousity has slowly been on a decline over the years. Not saying that Im not into video games anymore, but some times people hit a certain part in their life when they have to evaluate their life and what to invest time into short and long term, what their goals are etc. Its natural and common for a persons interests to change in life. Its just the part of life. The big question is, the long term benefits and pay offs.

    The funny thing is, I was a gamer in high school back in the N64/PS1 days, but I completely ditched gaming once I graduated and did not buy a single console or game on the PS2/Xbox generation. I left it because I was primarily focused on my college schooling and I had a huge circle of close friends. My social life was rocking.

    Well I got back into it, next gen and I think a larger part had to due with the fact that I was done my school by now and most of my good friends have moved away, so my social life in the past 8 years as pretty much been non-existent. So I looked for a hobby to fill in my lonely days at home and that was gaming.

    For example, over the past two years, Ive been much more physically active and spend a lot of time in the gym now. Im at the gym 5-6 days a week, approx 2-3hrs each its quickly became one of my most invested hobbies. The biggest reason for this? Simply put, the long term payoff. You feel better mentally and physically, and also look better mentally and physically. I cant say that video games has anything even remotely close to this kind of payoff long term.

    Thats why I truely believe now that console gaming is best as a side hobby, not a main one. But I question myself, if its even a beneficial hobby.

    I will admit, when people ask my what my hobbies are, console gaming is one of them but over the years I would never tell anyone that (especially employers) cause I do still believe that a lot of people look down on people in their mid 30s (like me), who still plays games. As judgemental as that may be, its true.

    There was a point last year where i sat down and thought long and hard over the past 8 years and said .... I didnt realize how much money i spent on gaming over the past 8 years. And what was the payoff or benefit that I had today? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It didnt make me a better person, or a person with more skills and personal assets that can play a positive role in my life.

    It didnt give me skills that I could branch off in other areas of life, like work, or self confidence. It didnt make me a better person. Had I spent the past 8 years in the gym and keeping as active as I have been over the past 2 years. YES most definitely would be huge rewards and benefits.

    Is anyone else in my shoes? Left console gaming because either your interests dropped and you have new ones? Or maybe you dont like the direction the industry has been headed. Lets face it, console gaming is an expensive hobby to enjoy. Ive learned the hard way. I know friends who I havent talked to in forever because yes, they moved on to other hobbies in life.
  2. skottichan macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    My gaming interest has really ebbed and flowed over the years. I've lost track of how much I've spent on games and consoles. Tho, I'll admit, I generally buy the big collector's edition stuff, as it will converge with one of my other passions, figure/statue collecting.

    I've never felt "either/or" when it comes to my gaming hobby and going to the gym/running. I've maintained both over my life, I think a big part of it comes from the fact that due to a birth defect, I get sick easily, so I've always exercised in hopes to buff up my immunities.

    With that out of the way, it's normal to move from one interest into another. I mean, I used to be a massive comic book fangirl, but recently, I've been buying less American comics from the Big Two, and focussing on independent comics as well as European and Asian books.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with gaming, but like all things from food to the gym or gaming, do it in moderation.
  3. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    I can relate...

    Used to be huge into console (and PC) gaming in my teens and through most of my 20's... even went so far as to crack open my original XBox and mod it (Xecutor3 chip, I think?). Pretty much at least once a month I would be in Best Buy, EB Games or Game Stop looking at games, and more often than not taking 1 or more home with me.

    Then I started graduate school at age 30. Between being married, owning a home, and going to graduate school... time started disappearing from my day. Where once I would come home from work (before grad school), eat dinner, hang out with the wife, and then play video games until midnight... Now, we have a newborn, I'm doing full-time research for my PhD and am grateful to be in bed and sleeping by 10 or 11... only to start everything anew by 6AM the next day.

    I still play video games, but they're usually of the PC variety... and they are usually games that can be picked up and put down easily, or are among a select few that I deem "worthy" enough to play (eg. DayZ Standalone). I also find that as I've grown older, I'm more drawn to games that involve interaction with other players... whether that's in a cooperative mode (Star Wars: The Old Republic), or heavily-based on PVP (again, DayZ). Most of my play time is now confined to the weekends, and usually after the baby is soundly sleeping... I will get the occasional marathon gaming session in (stumbling to bed around 4AM)... but those are coming fewer and farther between as I've learned that the baby doesn't care if I stayed up late playing video games or not.

    I don't know what it is about console gaming that has lost its attraction to me... for a long time I was annoyed by the controllers and how they compared to a mouse/keyboard when it came to first-person or even third-person shooting games like HALO. PCs also held the attraction that I could do more than one thing at a time... I could be waiting for a raid to begin while at the same time chatting with friends and shopping on Amazon. Then when consoles added texting services, it still didn't feel as intuitive as messaging on my phone or through Google Chat, etc. Ultimately, I think it might come down to player interaction as I explained before... if I'm going to play a single player adventure or RPG like Final Fantasy, I'd rather be doing it on my computer where I can still do other things at the same time.

    The one thing that I think consoles had over PC gaming were cooperative-play games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero and more recently some of the dancing games. My wife, who normally couldn't be bothered with video games, could really rock it out on the pseudo-guitar.

    I had a PS3 last generation, but I think the last time I played a game on it might have been 4 years ago (Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I think... which I again, got annoyed by the controller and soon bought and finished on the PC version). I ended up buying a PS4 when Best Buy had some in stock online about a month ago... but to demonstrate how far console gaming has fallen in priority for me, I haven't even set it up yet. None of the game titles out have captured my interest, and those that I might have a remote interest in, like my experience with Deus Ex, I know that I'll just buy the PC version. In all likelihood, I'll probably end up gifting it to my brother who had his PS3 break and was waiting for prices on the PS4 to come down.

    TL;DR: First world problems.
  4. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    same with me as well, but more on a broader scale. I didn't game much to little at all. The most intense I got with it was back in the 90s with Doom, Doom2, and Duke Nukem 3D, with a little of Midway Classic, Capcom Classic, Intellivision Lives!, and Ratchet & Clank splashed in. Other than that, I was more into flightsimming than anything.

    Like you, life changes.. Enter a wife, and two children, and the fact that it would be healthier to go outside more. Playing with them quickly took up any time I would have had to sit down in front of a TV and PS2/PS3/PC to game/sim.

    Damn well worth it, too.

    I don't want to use a drug reference, but it's the truth: Games are like drugs, where they provide entertainment, but is short lived until you get your next fix.

    Wife and family? that is long term, and nets you enjoyment the rest of your life.

  5. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Well said. Hobbies are an important part of life, and they have a tendency to change over time. There is nothing wrong with having them, however, like bradl said a family is more important than hobby.
  6. Misskitty, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014

    Misskitty thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2010
    For me, theres a few things. I feel the quality of games has really dropped over the past few years. I also am not a fan of the direction the industry has been headed (and will only get worse as time progresses trust me). The whole industry is nothing but a cash cow now. Developers nickel and diming us for every penny we got.

    Like I said, I have a handful of good friends who I met online this past gen and have moved onto bigger and better things in life. They all used to be hardcore gamers (even more than I was), as they spent even more time than me playing. I havent talked to them in years, and I dont know what they have moved onto or why, but im curious.

    Many years ago, I could and easily would spend hours on end playing and finishing SP games. I would buy a game, take it home and finish it in a couple days. Now? I find it difficult, primarily because I find I either get bored or lose interest. Trust me, I finish a boat load of games this past gen, and to think how many hours Ive sunk into it would be depressing.

    I think it also could be a mental thing as well, because I noticed over the past few years that I dont allow myself to finish games anymore. I get a crummy feeling inside me, because theres not a worse feeling in the world knowing you just spent your entire day playing a game and have been completely unproductive. I think the fact Im so active at the gym now plays a large part of this. My days are all about being productive and staying active is a huge part of that.

    I know my oldest sis always looked down on me because of this. She knew things werent right mentally with someone, when they would spend their vacation days in the summer playing video games, rather than being outside and doing something active and productive.

    Thats exactly it. Once one gets married, has turns over a new leaf in their lives and your priorities all change.

    Spending time with your kids and watching them grow up, the wife, cherishing moments in life that may not come twice or often is something some people tend to overlook or take for granted.

    For instance, before my grandma passed away this past summer. I wish I had spent more time with her over the years. Shes one of the most influencial and strongest people ive ever met and I took it for granted. All because instead I was busy buying and playing games on my time off. Not exactly a feeling that sits well inside me. You only live life once, and you have to make the most out of your time.

    Could you imagine the long term rewards I would be seeing right now, today had I spent the past 8 years at the gym and not console gaming? Just thinking about it sadens me.

    Like a friend told me, gaming is like alcohol, so easily to get heavily invested, but at the end of the day its nothing but a quick fix with no reward.
  7. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Playing video games is fun, and you SHOULD play them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Pretty normal to get fed up with them at this point, the majority of us here have gone through six generations of consoles or more.

    It's not really a payoff, it's just something you do to get enjoyment from.

    I think we all need to stop thinking of everything as an investment.
  8. leomac08 macrumors 68020


    Jul 12, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    My first gaming console was the super nintendo which I loved plain super mario, followed by my nintendo 64, play station 2 then 3 and also a PSP along the way.

    Overall my PS3 was a good investment in terms of how I would use it. The PS3 can play more than just games (i.e netflix, hulu plus, youtube). Ever since I started college back in 2008 I have only bought like 5 games since then. I used renting game organizations like gamefly cause I realized you can get bored of a game in 3 months or so.

    Again, when we age our hobbies seem to diminish (family, kids, work) but we should never feel guilty about the time we spent with them and the enormous happy memories they gave us :)
  9. carjakester macrumors 68020


    Oct 21, 2013
    Through high school it played lots of video games, especially call of duty, lately my xbox just collects dust, and isn't even plugged in to my tv. I only turn it on and play probably once a week max.
  10. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I don't really have the time now that I used to for video games. And that works out well for me because I have a Wii U, which has no games anyway.

    I debated even buying a console this generation because the little gaming I did was all iOS anyway, so why not just get an Apple TV or Roku for Netflix? But Nintendo still has its charm and has still made many of my favorites of all time.
  11. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Interesting post OP.

    Well, I don't have many free time besides work, but I do like to play games (I have a Wii and a PC, nothing to powerfull).

    I mostly play older games (before-2010 era) and indie games, and that is the most important thing for me: I don't play any online multiplayer games, just single player ones. Why? Because these game have and end.

    The only multiplayer games, I played in the past were Command & Conquer series, Warcraft 1-2, Dark Colony and some other, that could be played with colleagues through a LAN network.

    The games I buy, are mostly from, Humble Bundle, Indie Royale/Desura. I also have some games on Steam (about 15 titles). I have a collection of about 80 "real" retail PC games (some of these, about 7 are for the Wii) in DVD or CD/DVD jewel case on my shelves, but these are mostly older titles and I did buy them at a bargain price new or mostly used.

    But there can be a month or more, that I simply can't play a single minut of a game, because there is no time for it, I have other programs or work to do (for living, doing something around the home outside or inside etc.)
  12. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    How much time actually passed in that period between PS1 and PS2? I'm thinking it was pretty close to zero, was it not? :confused:

    I have to disagree with this - I think I remember reading somewhere that the average gamer is like 34 years old. So if you're in your mid 30's and play games, you're perfectly normal; nothing to look down on, there.

    Did it bring you joy? Because that's reason enough to spend money on a hobby, you know.

    I game a lot less than I used to, but like you said, in my case it has to do with other interests, not because I'm older, or anything with the industry, etc.

    I can't speak for you or anyone else, but the amount of money I've spent on my other hobbies (including gaming) is completely dwarfed by the amount I spend on my main hobby (music). So your claim that console gaming is expensive really can apply to a lot of different hobbies. But that's okay, as long as those hobbies bring us joy. :cool:
  13. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    Firstly, I wouldn't call buying games/consoles an investment. As for benefits, I'm sure you had fun. Not everything is supposed to make you a better person, gaming is a break from life.

    I used to be consumed by games in highschool but I grew out of it. Now that I've graduated from university, I don't really have time to commit to games as I'm more focused on my career. Do I regret being a gamer? My social life took a hit for a few years but I had fun and turned out fine so I don't look at it negatively. If anything, it made me a more competitive person and more resilient to "grinding" through longer hours of work.

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