The irritating thing about Sea of Thieves living just on the Windows Store—aside from the process of using the store itself—is that you're bound by the game's price on there. You can't buy Rare's co-op pirate game through Steam or other third-party retailers. In the UK, that means the PC version is a relatively steep £50, more than most major publisher games are priced on Steam. This led to a recent conversation among the PC Gamer staff: how much are you willing to spend on a game? How much have you spent on games in the past? We had wildly different answers, based on our gaming preferences and, er, unhealthy addictions.
In this week's PCG Q&A, it's confession time: what's the most you've ever spent on a game? Let us know your answers in the comments.
Philippa Warr: £522+
I have spent £522 on Dota 2. Well, sort of. That's the amount the game client has recorded, but it doesn't take into account money spent attending events or on things outside the client. Further complicating the matter is the fact that it doesn't take into account stuff like rare item drops which I sold on the Steam Marketplace and thus which added credit to my account. I'm not sure where gifts to and from friends would factor in either.
Dota was also significant to my work in that the industry had a lack of regular staff writers who understood Dota when I was playing it a lot and thus this total doesn't factor in payment for writing about a game I had deep knowledge of, or an esports scene I was immersed in. This isn't about justification, it's about how odd it feels seeing a figure next to my account and realising I have no idea what it actually means in terms of what I spent and what I got out of that game. Besides, as a millennial, I guess if I hadn't bought digital hats I'd have only frittered it away on avocados and flat whites.
Tim Clark: £965. You know which game.
I'm afraid my answer is Hearthstone, again, and it's not even close. I really didn't want to do this, but I just trawled my Blizzard order history and in the years since I've been playing (it looks like I began in February 2014) I've spent [deep breath] £965. Before checking, I assumed the amount was close to a thousand, but seeing all the transactions written down, I still feel slightly shocked. That's £241 per year on a supposedly free to play game. Why, you absolute idiot, you no doubt wonder. Well, I guess the uncomfortable answer is because I can just about afford it—I have a steady job and don't have kids—and because ultimately I want to.
For the most part Hearthstone has been something I've enjoyed spending time with on a daily basis. Of course off the back of a big losing streak I hate myself and want to die, but that's card games baby. I also fully concede (I also do that often) that if I were coming to the game now I would find the idea of trying to build a competitive collection incredibly intimidating. But I guess I'm okay with keeping my existing one up to speed so that I can play whatever meta deck I fancy. Ultimately I view it as less buying a single game and more investing in my hobby, like I might with fly fishing, or drone flying, or other outdoor things I'm absolutely not going to do.
It's... it's a sickness, isn't it?
Samuel Roberts: about £80
I don't play MMOs or free-to-play games, but I'm generally down for buying DLC packs for singleplayer games I like. This usually means I can end up spending double the amount of the game on these expansions—BioWare and Bethesda RPGs are good examples of this. Hot damn, those DLC packs are crapshoots, though. You never know if you're going to score a Lair of the Shadow Broker or something that expands on a part of the game you don't like (I can't bring myself to play Inquisition's Deep Roads-themed DLC, for example, as I have no intention of ever returning to the Dragon Age universe's underground caves).
This is a level of financial commitment I can live with. The most I've ever spent on microtransactions is £24 worth of Shark Cards for GTA Online, but since I've played that for over 130 hours, I can justify it to myself. I really wanted to fit missiles to my Batmobile. Sometimes joy has a real-world cost.
Steven Messner: Around $1260
I'm going to split this into a couple of smaller answers because when it comes to spending money on a game, the reason matters. If we're just looking at gross totals, the answer is undoubtedly World of Warcraft, which I have been playing off-and-on since I was about 14. If we do some rough math and say that, in the 14 years since I've been playing I've only maintained a subscription for half of that time (which is super generous), I'd have sunk about $1,260 USD into it. But that means that WoW has also given me seven years of fun and enjoyment, so in hindsight that seems like a pretty good investment. In fact, I don't regret any of the money I've spent on MMOs—and I used to pay two subscriptions to EVE Online so I could play multiple accounts simultaneously.
But when it comes to spending money on microtransactions, you'll find I have a bit of an illness. I can remember multiple 2AM nights where I sat staring bleary-eyed at Hearthstone's storefront doing mental gymnastics to justify why $70 for 60 packs seems like a good idea. I've done similar with Rocket League, CS:GO—the list goes on. Right now, my current obsession is Path of Exile. I've dumped at least a few hundred into cosmetics because what's the point of being a god-slaying badass if you don't look the part? The one thing I'll say in defense of my bad purchasing habits is that these are all games that have returned my initial investment hundreds of times over. I've played Rocket League for 500+ hours, I think I can spend a little extra on some dumb cosmetics and still count my investment as in the black.
Evan Lahti: $512.94
If you would've asked me how many CS:GO keys I've purchased over the modest 1000 hours I've put into the game, I probably would've said 40 or 50—plenty, but from what I remember from my 2014 heyday, most of the stuff I picked up was in trades, skin gambling, or off the Community Market.
Checking my Steam Account History for the first time, it seems that between August 2013 and February 2017 I bought 206 CS:GO weapon case keys at $2.49 per. That's $512.94. Ho-ly shit. Yow. And out of that, I can't even say that I have anything especially valuable. csgobackpack.net seems to think that my CS:GO inventory's worth $545, but that's including a $106 dollar Huntsman Knife that was gifted to me. The best critique I can offer of CS:GO's loot boxes at this stage—if I can be trusted at all at this point—is that I own maybe three or four skins that I truly love.
Joe Donnelly: £99.94, just this year
Besides a nasty obsession with Habbo Hotel furnishings towards the end of 2001—a perfect if costly distraction from studying for high school prelim exams—I've never really invested real money in a videogame. Well, rather, I hadn't really invested real money in a videogame until my recent foray into GTA Online. At the end of January this year, I splashed for the game's Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack for 40 quid. Then I played for a few weeks without spending a penny. And then I bought a couple of Shark Cards for £11.99 a piece. And then I bought one or two more. And having just checked my Steam account transaction history, I now realise I've actually purchased five of the same premium tokens all told. Which means I've spent £99.94 on GTA Online in the last eight or so weeks. Jeeso.
That's a lot of money, but, in all honesty, I don't regret it. Please spend your own money wisely, folks, but I found the starter pack to be helpful while raising my character's level, and I've had some great fun over the past several weeks revelling in my spread of frivolous office upgrades, cars and cosmetics.
James Davenport: Got drunk last night and spent $60 on Fortnite
I’ll keep this brief because I’m tired and hungover, but I woke up to an email stating I dropped $60 in Fortnite for a pile of goddamn V-Bucks. I don’t know how it happened. Saw that pot-of-gold pickaxe and must’ve blacked out. I’m OK, I just might need some time away to think.