Gaming Accessibility

Hockey is expensive.  How’s that for a byline?

No, seriously.  I put both my kids in last week, and that’s $800 a head.  Then there’s the actual equipment which for little squirts is about $200 each.  Then there’s the year’s additional team expenses (tourneys, activities, etc…) that runs close to $2000 each – every year.  All for a season that lasts from October until Feb.  I won’t get into how much it costs for me to play hockey (or the beer following).

The return is worth it.  Hockey is a team-based sport, and everyone needs to work together for success.  My eldest was quite shy prior to her lacing up.  That went out the door pretty quick in the rink.  But yeah, expensive.

Gaming is another expensive endeavor, but significantly less so today.

First, you need a piece of tech to play (phone, tablet, PC/laptop, console/tv).  Prices here have gone down over time.

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Console prices are relatively stable.

I can buy a large flat screen TV for $100 today.  That sure as hell wasn’t an option when I was a kid.  And nearly everyone over 16 has a cell phone that can double as a gaming appliance.  Even PC prices today are rock-bottom compared to the 80s/90s.

Game prices themselves are crazy cheap.  The $60 price point is still the most common one… and one that’s been around for nearly 30 years.  That’s around $190 today.  And that’s for games with actual upfront fees and no Steam Summer Sales.  The F2P genre has made gaming even more accessible, since you can get ~75% of a game for $0.  Some are so generous with their models (Warframe, Path of Exile) that they float almost entirely on good will.

Connectivity to other people is built-in for a large swath of the population too.  Internet access is still growing – in Canada it’s 92% of the population that has access.  Cell reception is increasing (I could talk about 5G for a week), meaning people are gaming on the go with other people.  Cripes… I still remember LAN parties and paying for dial-up.

Now, this isn’t without some risk.  Gaming addiction is a real thing, and there’s always a risk of everyone becoming like those in Wall-E.  But as more people game, you get more types of people.  The ol’ neckbeard stereotype for gaming is becoming the exception.

And that’s not even taking into account the ability to watch people game, rather than game yourself, which has a near $0 cost itself.  I could watch amateur hockey for free, but I’d need to go to the rink to do it.

When the gateway has been smoothed out, it’s easy to see why gaming is so prolific. Curious to see where this path leads.

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