The Elite: Dangerous Expansion And Value

560 wc

Elite: Dangerous has an expansion coming out and you’ll never guess what happened after the announcement: People on Reddit got mad.

In a related story, the sun rose and set today.

I admit I’m just an average guy who doesn’t grasp all this new-fangled math the kids use, but I have never understood the “it’s not fair that if someone buys it today they’ll get a better price than someone who bought it before” logic when it comes to games. Of course now that I’m writing it out, I can’t think of the right words to explain why that doesn’t make sense to me. But here goes.

Time is money

I’m a firm believer in the concept that time has a monetary value. That if you spend X amount of time doing something, it’s equivalent to spending Y amount of dollars on that something. Or vice versa.

Let’s say you pay $50 for a game. You’re now out $50. But then let’s say you play that game for 100 hours. Now you’ve received 100 hours of entertainment in return for that $50 you spent. You’ve received “time” in exchange for your money. Time that, presumably, is valuable to you. How much is that time worth to you? I like to use movies as a basis to determine how much entertainment time is worth, so if a 1.5 hour movie costs $5 to rent on Amazon, that means you’ve received … oh god … I can’t do math in my head, so hold on …  $333 of entertainment value for 100 hours of game play. So you paid $50 of money and received $333 worth of entertainment time. I’d call that a solid investment.

Now let’s say an expansion comes along with a price of $50, and that expansion also includes the original content. Reddit blows up because they think the original buyers are getting screwed over while the new buyers are getting a crazy good deal. But are they really?

The original buyers are already ahead by … ugh not again … $283 in value. While the new buyer will be out $50. The original buyers already know that they are going to get a game they’ll want to play, and they only have to play it for … click click click … around 15 hours to break even again. Since they’ve already played for 100 hours it seems like a pretty safe bet that no value will be lost. (Especially since they’re still ahead by $233 if they don’t play a single moment of the expansion.)

The new buyer on the other hand has no idea if they’ll play more than 20 minutes of this game. They’re taking a huge risk spending their $50. (The same risk that the original buyer took, yes, but that risk already paid off for the original buyer.)

Besides, it’s not like you lose anything if someone else pays less for something. It’s not like some invisible hand is going to reach into your bank account and scoop out your money to give to that other person.

I’m not sure if any of that made sense. In any other month, I might stuff this into my Drafts until I was completely sure of my logic-or forever, in other words. But the show must go on.

Posted on Blaugust Day 9. Read all of my Blaugust posts here.

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