Video game networks are much more up to date on their customer influencing strategies these days. As such we are blasted with games, expansions, short term sales, and intriguing new digital and indie titles.

When the digital revolution began the gamer chorus, with myself among them, was saying only physical copies would do. Yet those games on the store are just so convenient, and when they pop up in a sale I find myself dragging out every justification possible to give myself permission to spend yet more money in addition to my habit of getting AAA games on day one.

Yeah, they have pretty much got me. I know it because I’m getting games I won’t be able to play for any foreseeable time in the future. I’m getting classics that I love but don’t have time to replay.

A digital store is not like a virtual version of a brick and mortar store no matter how much they want you to think that. Everything is crafted with the aid of some Don Draper advertising specialist to get you to spend money. This is common sense, but we should note that what is on offer and how it is offered makes the level of convenience to us adjustable in a highly manipulative way. Those digital only games, old favorites, and indie games are like the checkout counter goodies at a brick and mortar store.


Actually it’s more like the checkout counter on steroids. We never touch our money or even our credit card for a purchase. In the last generation Microsoft points were created to obfuscate actual costs. Now when you want something it’s just *poof* and a download makes the game all yours. Just like that, all the “physical copies only” rhetoric goes out the window.

What we’d like to know is how well is all of this working on the gaming community? Does the convenience pull you in enough to have you spending more money than you used to or more than you planned to?

David D. Nelson
David D. Nelson is a polymath with a BA in English working as an independent writing and editing professional. He enjoys gaming, literature, and a good hat.

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  1. Yes, but the true offender is Paypal support in PSN. (Got rid of my credit cards, might have given an unconditional “yes” otherwise.)

    1. This definitely has me on the ropes because I always keep money in that account so it’s liken “meh” to spend $15 or so of it.

  2. I cannot say how going digital has affected those with incomes that allowed them to always be active in gaming, but I can say it did wonders for those of lower income and therefore enabled them to spend what they have.

    Personally, I had not bought a game in years, as living expenses did not allow me to. I wanted to and I missed gaming. When I discovered services like Humble Bundle, GOG and Steam, or rather realized they do have things even someone like me can afford, I started buying them on sales.

    A lot of these games, indie titles, smaller titles or even not as commercial or old and therefore cheaper triple A ones would have never made it to (our few) stores as physical copies (indie gaming took off because of the digital age). I’d be stuck browsing 60-euro shelves with the ability to spend less than 5-10, during a good month. And I was just never willing to spend half a year’s budget on one title, especially since I had no idea it would be worth it. So I do spend more now, since I can spend as much as is possible for me.

    As for overspending, I do think the easier it is to do it, the more people will. Even responsible adults who plan their budget well have difficulties adjusting to the ease and deceptive comfort of one-click purchases in today’s markets.

    1. Good point I missed in my article Orion, it does bring the positive of convenience to those with limited entertainment income.

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