Friday, May 29, 2009

Online economy and perceived value

Last week was my last week with my students. As you might imagine, I've worked very hard to grade as much work as possible before they go. I am also responsible for our school schedule and have been working VERY hard for the past two weeks trying to make next year's schedule work. (Although we're keeping substantially the same schedule, we have some staffing changes that necessitate some deft maneuvering.)

With all this stress, I've found myself needing to blow off steam. Fortunately, @mml suggested the game Plants vs. Zombies, so I downloaded it and ran through the trial hour in a couple of days. It costs $20 to buy. This presented a dilemma. $20 felt like a lot to spend on a game; I always think carefully before I do, though I've spent that much on downloaded games before.

Then I went to the grocery store and spent $25 on odds and ends without thinking twice about it. And wondered, why is it that $25 at the grocery or a restaurant is no big deal, when $20 on a computer game or movie at the theatre seems like a lot? Now, this is the place where the psychologists would start talking about perceived value, and of course they'd be right. But instead, I'm going to marvel at the synchronicity that Ian Bogost was thinking about the exact same thing.

His article is really good, so you should go read it.

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