Have you ever spent money INSIDE a video game?

Just caught this survey about Fortnite spending and I’m blown away…

Didn’t even know this was a thing, did you?!

Per LendEdu:

  • 77% of respondents have spent money on Fortnite in-game purchases, which was up from 69% in 2018.
  • The average amount spent was $102.42, which was an increase of 21% from 2018’s figure of $84.67.
  • In 2020, 35% of Fortnite spenders were unaware that in-game purchases did not give them an advantage, and 34% said Fortnite was the first game that they started making in-game purchases.

Wha??? If it’s not giving you an advantage then what are you buying?! $100 has to be more than the game itself costs, right?!

[Just Googled the cost, and um…. it’s Free, lol…. Can you tell I’m not a gamer? :)

Fortnite doesn’t cost money to play, but it sure generates a lot of cash. The game sells V-Bucks, which go for $9.99 per 1,000 and can be spent on customization items. Players use V-Bucks to buy emotes, which are dance moves, and skins, which are outfits and accessories. – Money Mag

Dance moves and clothes – got it!]

  • 22% of respondents pay for a Twitch subscription account to watch others play video games, with 57% paying for the $9.99 per month model and 29% paying for the $4.99 per month model.

Paying to watch OTHERS play??

  • 21% of respondents would rather pay money to watch someone, like Ninja, play Fortnite compared to the 67% that opted to watch a major sporting event, like the Super Bowl, for free.

Who the hell is Ninja?

Richard Tyler Blevins, better known by his online alias Ninja, is an American streamer, YouTuber, professional gamer, and Internet personality. – Wikipedia

Just….. wow…. haha…

I know I sound like an old man here, but I’m genuinely blown away by all this… I could barely get my parents to pony up the $25 or whatever for a new NES game back in the day – no less spending 4x that INSIDE of one! Not that that was even a thing back in the 90s…

And I’m sure there’s a ton of older kids/adults playing this too (maybe even some of you?) so it’s def. not kid-only, but man – what a world…

Want to buy an avatar you can use here on this blog to hang out? :) $20 and I’ll even let you pick out your hair style! Lol…

But in all seriousness, no judging from here on my end…

As a guy who once spent $40 for a bottle of water or over $100 on a coin with a face value of 1/2 a cent I certainly have no room to talk ;) If you have the money and it genuinely EXCITES you, then great!! We’re allowed to spend our money on whatever we want no matter what others say….

And I’m reminded of how our tastes and priorities change over the years too. Like how in the beginning we’re all about toys and FUN and “stuff”, and then later switch to clothing and cars and maybe some partying action (guilty there!!), and then later move to more traveling and “experiences” or even asset building activities.

I honestly can’t think of a single thing I used to spend money on growing up that I do now, outside of clothing and food. We change SO MUCH as people over the years so of course our spending is going to too! But at every point in my life I distinctly remember how *important* those things were to me at the time, even if they’re ridiculous to the now current me… (like with that dang $40 bottled water! Still unopened and on my shelf to remind me of my old ways!).

So I guess the point of all this rambling is that if spending $$ inside video games is making you happy on the daily, then by all means keep doing it! Even if lame people like me don’t get it!

I’m pretty sure if you saw all the things I spend my money on you’d get a good laugh out of a few of them too ;) We all have our indulgences! And we’re constantly changing!

Thoughts from you?

UPDATE: Got a lot of great feedback from y’all on this, and I must admit I missed one pretty important element here: spending good time with friends and others while playing! Which I am 100% for spending money on, ALWAYS. It still prob won’t be enough for me to join in, but I certainly spend a fair chunk of money reconnecting with others myself (grabbing coffees/lunches/vacations/etc). So I get all this a little more now, and wanna thank y’all for all your notes and emails! I’m glad you’re having fun with everyone! (But will still make fun of the fact y’all buy digital clothes, lol…)


// Photo cred: Megan_Rexazin_Conde

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  1. Christine March 10, 2020 at 8:10 AM

    A lot of free game apps on the phone offer in-app purchases, (that’s how the getchya!) and I’ve fallen prey! Usually it’s so you can continue playing in one way or another without waiting or advance further. For some reason I just recently started playing one that I’ve become obsessed with and, gulp, I’ve spent real money. I wouldn’t say it’s important to me, but I enjoy playing so I see it as entertainment. No different than paying to see a movie or whatever. At least that’s my rationalization! That being said, I’ve become acutely aware that this is a budget line item now and I don’t really want it to be!

    And, I’m not a gamer, but I married one, and yes, watching is a thing. In my husband’s case, it’s often for tips, but also to see just the cut scenes (which do sometimes form a cool narrative) or see a game that he can’t play on his system. But there are people who earn money playing games…there is also competitive gaming, esports events (like people paying to go to an arena to watch people play!) and people will pay video game COACHES. It blows my mind. There is a video game “gym” near me…for that purpose. It’s a whole world.

    1. J. Money March 10, 2020 at 11:03 AM

      WOW WOW WOW!!!

      Coaches and gyms – that is wild!!!

      I totally need to find someone doing this full-time for a living now and interview them :)

      1. ArtyFarty March 24, 2020 at 4:11 PM

        Don’t interview Ninja! He’s a bit of a jerk and seems to hold pretend moral high ground about being a pro gamer. Dominique McLean (SonicFox) is a better option imo. He plays fighters and is generally more down to earth and easier to speak to. And he’s earned ~$650k in his career! We’re all misfits though, so please be patient with us! ;)

        Side hustle series? Here’s some stats for Dom:)

        1. J. Money March 25, 2020 at 6:14 AM

          Haha… love that there are sites that track all these stats!

          He’s only 22!! Crazy!

  2. Nate March 10, 2020 at 8:13 AM

    Paying to watch others play video games boggles my mind. Though, is it really much different than paying to watch others play football, baseball, or basketball?

    1. J. Money March 10, 2020 at 11:04 AM

      I guess not! Lol…

    2. jim March 10, 2020 at 12:54 PM


      My first reaction to watching others play video games was confusion and bewilderment.

      But yeah its more or less no different than watching professional sports on TV or a TV show about fishing or youtube videos about any random thing.

  3. Debt Free in RVA March 10, 2020 at 8:30 AM

    OK, I feel compelled to respond to this post. I got an ipad 6 years ago and quickly started playing Clash of Clans. Look it up – worldwide game.

    I probably average about $ 100 per year on it. I justify it as I budget the expense each year, and know that I am one of the top players in the U.S. and my clan is really good too. It certainly gives me an advantage.

    I have been playing video games my whole life, but I am also an avid runner and outdoors guy. I think video games get a bad rap, but honestly they are great entertainment and a very nice way to chill out and take your mind of stressful things.

    Just my 2 cents! Everyone has their form of entertainment. My wife says she sees me relax when i am playing.

    1. J. Money March 10, 2020 at 11:09 AM

      Love it :)

      And $100/year is nothing for those in the FIRE world. I already know you’re killing it in your $$$ goals where the “splurge” isn’t going to be detrimental!

  4. JenLarson March 10, 2020 at 8:37 AM

    My 13 yr old son loved Fortnite when it first came out, so none of this was new to me. But yes, we were also surprised at how much he was willing to spend on it! He did ask us for permission each time, and we’d remind him how much he’d already spent on it, but ultimately we tell our kids that if it’s their money, they can decide how it’s used. (We give them each $20/ month, so it’s not all that much.)
    I just asked my boy how he now feels about the money he spent, and he said he regrets it. So, hopefully it’s a lesson learned :)

    1. J. Money March 10, 2020 at 11:14 AM

      You’re a great mom :)

  5. Adam March 10, 2020 at 9:02 AM

    I had the good fortune to get video games out of my system back in the 90s — the beta test periods for Jumpgate and SubSpace were my drugs of choice — and haven’t felt the need since then to light serious sums of money on fire toward hardware or software or in-app purchases. I’ll play a few races of Mario Kart Wii once or twice a week now, but that’s about it… and even that is a dozen years old. :P

    I stare at a screen long enough each day for work and the one or two TV shows my wife and I enjoy together. I’d likely go full-on shut-in hermit if I kept at it for games as well.

    1. J. Money March 10, 2020 at 11:16 AM

      I know, you can get so hooked on this stuff!!

      I’m 5 years into de-hooking myself from the internet 24/7 which is hard enough on its own, haha…. But I get it’s enjoyable for millions of people!

  6. Jessy 43 March 10, 2020 at 3:12 PM

    Okay, I would never admit that I have spent money in Toon Blast if you had not admitted that you spent forty bucks for a bottle of water, but there it is. I regret ever spending money in the game, but do I still play, and do I lead an awesome winning team? Ummmm . . . maybe.

    1. J. Money March 11, 2020 at 7:23 AM


      Let it all out, baby!!!

  7. Chuck March 10, 2020 at 4:08 PM

    My highschool friends and I play Fortnite (among some other games) a few times a week. It’s a great way to unwind and chat, and the things you have to pay for might not give you any advantage but they are definitely entertaining. I’d say we all spend ~$200 each per year on Fortnite, and maybe $300-400 on other games. Hell, it would be more expensive for us to drive to see each other just one time more per month, since we all live >20 miles apart now.

    Oh yeah – we’re actually all in our 30s now, and we own homes and reasonable cars, with stressful but good jobs. In the grand scheme of things, it’s cheap fun compared to a lot of other hobbies we could be doing (cars, boats, an extra cable TV package, etc).

    1. J. Money March 11, 2020 at 7:32 AM

      I would agree with that :)

      Didn’t even take in account the sense of *community* with it all – whether with strangers or friends like you guys are doing. I forgot it was a many multi-player thing vs the old days of just one or two players! So for that alone I need to backtrack some of my initial jaw dropping, haha… I never question money being put towards connecting with others.

  8. Mitch March 10, 2020 at 4:50 PM

    Video Game economics are something I’ve taken interest in over the past few years. I currently play 3-4 nights a week after the kids and wife go to bed and while I enjoy actually playing the game I also enjoy the trading economy that has flourished in game (not Fortnite but another Epic Games owned property called Rocket League).

    All items are cosmetics only and do not affect your actual gameplay but there are actual items I’ve seen people pay up to $5,000 for ultra rare items in the game (not a lot in comparison to some cosmetics like in Counter Strike: Go -CS:GO). However, most items range from $1-10 but there are many cosmetics that go up to hundreds. I for one have put $10 into the game the first week I could and now have actually cashed out on some of my “returns.” I have a $700+ inventory I’ve built, have cashed out a few hundred dollars, and am having a lot of fun scratching my obsessive “collector” itch on things that don’t take up physical space but that I can actually make a few bucks at.

    We’re in strange times, indeed. lol

    1. J. Money March 11, 2020 at 7:36 AM

      Wait so you can FLIP stuff and make profits in the game???! That changes it a bit!! Can you literally cash out too, or do you just get more V bucks or whatever to then spend? Because if you’re taking back straight cash money I might need to delete this whole post, lol…

      (And too funny about digital stuff vs physical stuff – you’re not wrong there! :) Though it usually still takes up *brain bandwidth* though probably less since you only see the stuff when you’re logged in vs in everyday life.. Thanks for chiming in!)

  9. Michael @ Your Money Geek March 10, 2020 at 7:17 PM

    I have played Clash of Clans for over 7 years, well before learning about FIRE. In the early days of playing Clash I spent some decent money playing.

    However, looking back I don’t regret it, it was entertainment and as far as entertainment goes gaming can still be cost efficient.

    It’s all about balance of course and some people do get addicted. However, the reality is gaming isn’t any more or less silly then buying craft beer, playing golf, or other non-necessities.

    In fact, IMO watching people game is magnitudes more interesting then watching golf.

    1. J. Money March 11, 2020 at 7:37 AM

      Okay, I will agree with that lol…

  10. KL March 11, 2020 at 2:10 AM

    I definitely use money in games! Also, we do at times allow kids to spend money in them, when sufficiently good value. For instance, in Minecraft you might get extensions or special worlds. On Fortnite, we haven’t yet allowed purchases.

    I personally loathe free-to-play category games, as they often cripple the gaming experience for non-paying customers. The best ones don’t, Fortnite and Minecraft as good examples. Especially phone apps mainly suck with advertisements and game mechanism that benefits paying customers.

    I still pay for games from time to time, next one probably Cities: Skylines (older game so now quite affordable). Also in software, you get what you pay for and this extends beyond games. People are too used to things being ”free”. Also software devs need to eat ;)

    1. J. Money March 11, 2020 at 7:55 AM

      I do like those city building games…. Never played one but always amazed at what people can create :) Will you send me a snapshot of your city when you end up getting it? Can you do that easily w/ games these days?


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