Hands up if you used to get annoyed that you’d buy a round number of Xbox Live points and buy a game with an uneven cost, meaning you couldn’t use that last 170 points or whatever. I certainly did. To get the 400GP game or add-on, you had to buy another round number of points, because that’s all they were sold in. It was a pain in the ass. Just last week I reconnected to Xbox Live to find that I can now pay in real cash and I was excited! My points to £ conversion meant I had around £2.70 to spend. I put that towards Terraria and played it for a few hours. I think I bought some other games but I can’t remember. Have you ever felt like that?
Look at your Steam game list - how many of those games have you played? If you’re anything like my friend John, you’ll have played a number of them for around 10 minutes, maybe as much as an hour or two but after that… not so much. This is a very old affliction, but has been rearing it’s head the past few Steam sales. We think we’re rational, we construct reasons to pick up a game, but if Daniel Kahneman has taught me anything, it’s that we are not nearly as rational as we think we are and are susceptible to a number of cognitive biases.
For example, we misrepresent a buy one get one free deal as being good value, even if we only ever wanted or could use one of the products, and we buy products with money off that we wouldn’t have bought normally because the price is n, while paying no heed to the fact that we’ve just spent n more than we should have considering we didn’t want the product originally, also known as the “OH CRAP THE STEAM SALE” bias.
Are you a sucker for sale items? Is your Steam account bulging with unplayed games? Have you spent real money on xbox live just because you could? You are not alone! Ethan Levy has written a great piece on this topic over at Kotaku, or you could let this infographic tell the story
Alternatively, take to the MiddleEasy boards and tell us how many games you have played and unplayed in your Steam/GOG/XBLA/PSN library.
Kieran is a freelance writer and psychology graduate from Scotland who wishes BoDog Fights still put on outdoor MMA events in Costa Rica.
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