Health and wellness awareness in the gaming and esports worlds is at an all-time peak. It’s what we’re all about here at Ritual Motion. How can we, the gamers, find a physical and mental balance between our favorite hobby and the life outside of it? As a united subculture, I feel like all of us have done a pretty outstanding job of recognizing and highlighting the needs of our bodies and minds in a world that continues to become increasingly digital. Still, I feel we need to address one particular area within our community: financial health. There are SO many financial pitfalls in gaming. 

We’re legitimately in a day and age with the video games industry where, more often than not, companies employ predatory and psychologically “ambiguous” methods to get us to spend money on their games. I’m not just talking about Day 1, full-purchases. No, I’m talking about the entire catalog of ways gaming companies seek to separate us from the money we work our tails off to acquire. 

Over the past few years, the games industry has free fallen into a trend of releasing unpolished, incomplete works of pseudo-art into our palms. They tell us, “Dear gamers, don’t worry… our game is finished. Rest assured knowing that the $60-$70 you intend to spend on this game is well worth the time and effort it took you to make it.” 

Enter Cyberpunk 2077.

John Garvin, the creative director and writer for Days Gone, tried to shame us into thinking it was OUR fault for Sony’s decision not to make a sequel to their not-so-smash PlayStation hit. He had the audacity to scold us by saying we should “buy the f****** game at full price,” knowing full well we have been burned by false promises, broken pacts, and schadenfreude time and time again. 

How many times have we paid full-price for an “Anthem-Esque” experience but found more joy in the freedom and FREE cost of games like Apex Legends or Call of Duty: Warzone

But fear not, even those F2P games are rife with loot crate systems, cosmetic money pits, and costly vehicles to take money out of your pockets. At least it makes sense to spend money on those games, however. Every time I buy cosmetics or a battle pass in Valorant or Smite, I think to myself, “I enjoy supporting this game that I would be playing for free otherwise.” 

But these companies who expect us to pay full-price for their games, AND THEN have the unmitigated gall to create systems that deprive us of content that should just be in the game and DLC’s we paid for have me a little more than hot under the collar lately. I’m looking at you, Bungie. 

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How can they sit and hype up a transmogrification system they’ve promised their community for years, only to make it a convoluted grind fest that’s capped each season, unless you pay them money, of course. The Eververse never fails to trick unwitting Guardians into dropping a paycheck or two on some silver. My favorite part about all of these companies, with their tricks and tactics, is how they’ll then turn it back on the community when there’s backlash and say things like, “Well, our DLCs and Expansions are far cheaper than they should be, so you should be HAPPY we don’t make them more expensive. We’re doing you a favor.” Right, these are the same gaslighting tactics abusive people utilize on friends and family members, and it’s disgusting.

It is OUR job as gamers, the consumers, to make sure we’re responsible with how we spend our money. We HAVE to be more mindful of our financial health and not let these companies trick us into thinking we HAVE to spend money on these things. If you have the funds and want to support a game you love playing while snagging some cool stuff, that’s awesome, and I’m going to do the same. I mean, you’re reading the words of a person who has over 600 skins in Smite. Look up the average cost of a Smite skin and do the math yourself, but NEVER, EVER let these companies make you feel like you HAVE to give them any more than they deserve.

If a game isn’t good, or a company has a track record of inadequacy, it’s completely fine to wait until their newest installment is on sale to buy the game. If you feel like a company is showing predatory and greedy behavior in a game you’ve ALREADY paid for, then don’t let them shame you into thinking you don’t have the right to call them out. 

Be careful where your money goes. This world is full of ways to blow a lot of money, and the better we get at recognizing their tricks and the ways they “rig the game,” the happier we’ll be about our financial health within the gaming industry and in our lives in general. 

Now, for the real question, do I buy more Smite skins or Riot Points?