Many video game players are concerned with more than winning the game. They care about what their characters wear.
Video Game Shopping
In a video game of elimination, Fortnite participants try to be the last person standing. But there is much more.
Although it does nothing to help them win, players care about how they look and move. At the Items Shop they spend the V-Bucks virtual currency that can be bought with dollars. A thousand V-BUCKS will cost you $9.99; 2800 V-BUCKS are $24.99.
Once you’ve bought those V-BUCKS and deposited them in your account, you can purchase the dances that are called Emotes for one hundred or several hundred V-BUCKS. You can acquire the skins that determine what your character looks like.
A “Striped Stalker Back Bling” skin is bundled with the Copper Wasp outfit:
These skins and moves let players become different from everyone else. Offering no extra protection, weapons, or superhuman power, they are somewhat useless. Instead, the $500 outfit in our featured image (from Microsoft’s PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds), displays your wealth and style.
Our Bottom Line: Conspicuous Consumption
In his Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) explained that the affluent pursue useless activities like excessive shopping to convey their power and wealth. Servants and employees help the affluent do less while their money lets them signal their status by buying more.
Now, in a virtual version of conspicuous consumption, video game players have an opportunity to display their power through their purchases. Although their skins and dance moves do little to help them win the game, they do send a message.
My sources and more: I especially thank Mason Schwartz for alerting me to all I needed to know about Fortnite. After suggesting today’s post, he showed me the game and its shop. From there, for some background, I checked this Medium article and then marketplace.org.
A section of today’s Bottom Line was in a past econlife post. Our featured image of Microsoft’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is from Medium.