If you are a mobile gamer who spends money the chances are that you have encountered someone in your personal life that you have shared information about your money with. Many times they cannot believe it. A majority of the population’s tolerance for micro purchases in mobile gaming sits around the $4.99 mark but for some well-known spenders that amount, can in some cases reach a staggering $2,000,000 over the course of a few years.
It goes without saying that if you have ever played a mobile game and spent some money, you would be surprised to see how quickly the totals add up. For me personally, I believe I have spent around $70,000 over the course of 4 games but mostly in the game Pirates of the Caribbean Tides of War. Some will look at that number and assume I have gone mad and some will look at it and snicker because that’s what they spend in a six month period. Either way, you look at the dollar cost as only part of the story.
See money like most things can be gained and lost but there are other costs that you can never recover. For me some of those costs were to my marriage, time spent with my children or not spent for that matter, a few jobs, friends I have lost touch within the real world and digital world, and even a very special real-world relationship that I gave up because I didn’t care enough to put them first like I should have.
Funnily enough, the girl I was dating and lost mentioned above (C.M.), correctly identified the true root of the problem which was that I was not only addicted to the game but I wasn’t living a real life. I was stuck somewhere between the real world and the virtual world and I was constantly losing track of who I was and what I was supposed to be doing in the real world. At the time I remember being upset with her because to me, of course, I knew who I was. Of course, I knew what I was doing. She was the one who was wrong but in fact, she hit the nail on the head. I was so lost that I didn’t even realize it.
For me, it wasn’t until I quit mobile gaming altogether that I could see the full impact of my actions and the path of destruction I had left in my wake. Luckily for me though, it wasn’t too late. I was able to recover my financial standing, become a great father like I used to be, and have even started working on regaining my physical fitness and health.
However, most importantly, I have re-engaged in living a real life in the real world.
I think I felt the need to write this article because looking back I see so many of my friends from the games stuck in the same types of situations that I was stuck in and I have no way to help them. Some of them buy gift cards at the supermarket (hidden in their supermarket bills), some hide credit card statements from their spouses, some even pay with adult forms of currency to feed their gaming addictions. Mind you I don’t at all judge these people I was one of them especially when it came to hiding the ever-growing debts from my spouse.
What I hope is that even one person who may read this might decided to try a few weeks without playing any games and realize the contrast between the life they are living and the life they could be living. Although it may never change their love of mobile gaming it may save them from making some of the mistakes I made.
It might keep them from having to live a life with the regrets like I do. It’s a staggering realization to see all that have occurred happened in only one years’ time of playing mobile games. For now, I will stick to console games that I can play or not play without fear of falling behind or having to strive to be the best. It will allow me to focus my energies on all the good things I could be doing for myself and for my family.
For me, my life will be forever changed and not necessarily for the better. I have to work my tail off to make it better for every person that I have hurt along the way but maybe just maybe one or two of my gaming colleagues can pull themselves from the abyss before it is too late. At least that is my hope.