and my little robot friend

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Rampant Consumerism

So despite the numerous issues with security and hacking that Diablo 3 has experienced, the Real Money Auction House has finally launched, and with it the expected flood of outrage, protestations, and gloating.

The problems I have with it are predictable - I have major objections to any game that lets you buy your way to the top, because that completely defeats the spirit of the game and negates any player skill. I suppose you could make the argument that people are free to trade their real world skills for in game skills, but that’s the point, isn’t it? I’m not playing Diablo 3 to compete against your stockbroking skills, I’m playing to compete against your fireball throwing skills. Not that there’s a whole lot of competition going on at the moment with the lack of PVP, still, the fundamental objection I have is to the whole idea of paying to succeed.

But I always knew that this was going to be the case, so that source of discontent is not new, today’s source of indignation comes from the fact that items are being priced at 100, 150, 200, 250 USD - and they’re being bought.

Who on earth are these insane people who a) have a lot of money and b) are so socially inept that they care this hard about a video game? So maybe that’s a slightly silly stereotype, thinking that the two tend to be mutually exclusive — video game addicts are anti-social shut-ins for whom the game is their world, while the prosperous 1 percent are all off on their high faluting adventures. But really — who ARE these people who think it’s worth it to spend 250 dollars on an imaginary in-game item? Even people who have money to burn don’t really tend to… you know, burn it. 

I started working for a non profit organisation lately and my head has just been full of numbers to make me feel guilty. Did you know, for example, that the world collectively spends more money on video games than it does on charity? Which is not to say we should spend all our money on feeding the starving children of Africa rather than play video games, because it’s certainly not an either-or situation. But when I see this kind of rampant, wasteful, feckless consumerism it really eats at me inside. Don’t get me wrong - people who earned their money of course have the right to do whatever they want with it. Maybe these people who blow 250 bucks on an imaginary bow give 1000s of dollars to charity regularly (as rare as that might be). But when the justification is “my parents are rich, I can afford it”…ugh.