November 10, 2004

Video Game Economics

First the macroeconomic story. Halo 2 cleared $125 million in its first 24 hours of sales. For comparison's sake, the all-time record for a movie's opening weekend was set by Spider Man in 2002, with a gross of $115 million.

Now for the microeconomics. I remember when we first bought the Xbox that I thought the $50-a-game price for the newest titles was outrageous. (And it usually is -- we typically wait for sales or special bundles, and almost always rent a game before purchasing it, to make sure it's worth owning).

While standing in line Monday night, pondering the opportunity costs of the $60 I was about to drop on a new game, I got to thinking about other forms of family entertainment. One that immediatlely leapt to mind was the few Texas Rangers baseball games I've taken my sons to see. In each case we easily dropped close to $100 on tickets, food, and parking per game in exchange for 3 hours of -- frankly -- lousy entertainment.

On the other hand, we have spent innumerable (10s, 100s?) of hours in the past 14 months playing Xbox cooperatively, and having a great time doing it. (Please note that we are not a couch-potato family, as each of my three kids is involved in sports and Scouts, we camp and bike together, and I coach two of the three soccer teams).

I've already had some fun playing the first few levels with my sons as spectators and have let them replay some of the ground I've already covered in Halo 2. I know we'll definitely be getting our money's worth out of this.

Posted by JohnL at November 10, 2004 09:22 PM

Some notes: (1)There's a reason I haven't gone to any professional sports games in the last few years. However, part of what you're getting is the chance at some cool memories - yeah, I was there when ... (2) You can't rent computer games, which is why I usually check out various sites' reviews. I ignored them for MOO3 - big mistake. (3)So, what would you have to get to be willing to subscribe to a game, or a group of games? I would like to play City of Heroes and/or World of Warcraft, but I don't know if it's worth a monthly fee.

Posted by: owlish at November 10, 2004 10:46 PM
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