Spending Real Money On Fake Money

There are a few things in this world I just don’t get: NASCAR, FarmVille, the popularity of Angry Birds, and spending real money on fake money. Why do people like to watch cars go in circles hundreds of times? Or plant, water, and harvest imaginary crops?

I understand why people spend money on video games. Some people like to solve visually-arresting puzzles or play the role of a sword-and-shield hero. Maybe they want to live vicariously through their MVP-winning baseball or football player, or thunder down a racetrack traveling 200 miles per hour. It can be an escape, a distraction, a way to connect with distant friends or family, or just a time-killer.

This is what happens when you Google, "rift platinum."

But why…why do gamers spend their money on money? Think about it—you are already playing the game. You may have even had to purchase the game and pay a monthly subscription fee. Do you think that spending more of your hard-earned money on imaginary, virtual currency will enhance your playing experience?

The concept of exchanging real dollars for virtual ones has already spun out of control. There are countless iPhone and Android games that give you the ability to in-app purchase gold, diamonds, or whatever is being used in the game. Are we really so impatient that we can’t just play the game and earn the currency normally?

Googling "wow gold" yields almost 42 million results!

There are tons of websites that sell virtual currency in many popular games: WoW, Rift, City of Heroes, etc. I began browsing one out of curiosity and was floored by what I saw. I could buy 180,000 WoW gold for $277 or 2000 Rift platinum for $435.04. Who actually buys this stuff? I’m playing a little Rift right now and I can tell you 2000 platinum would buy everything on the server; the most expensive mount is still only 125 platinum.

I could get started on Farm Cash, Farm Coins, Cooking Cash, Pet Society Cash, Country Cash, Hotel Cash, Football Cash, Empire Cash, Superstars Cash, or Facebook Credits, but social gaming currency is a whole new ballgame.

Obviously all this fake money bothers me. Have you ever bought virtual currency? Please explain to me why you did so!

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