How to deal with FOMO?

The other day The Witcher 3 went on sale and it pains me and my wallet because I’m incredibly broke right now due to bills and tuition (yay, it’s paid!) and all of that. The Steam Deck? Might not become an option any time soon especially with the move coming up in 2022… So, money is an issue and 6€ for The Witcher 3 sounds incredibly good. Do I grab this great offer? Y- NO!

Today, I wanted to share some thoughts on FOMO and how it is utilized during “Midweek Madness” and a lot of modern mobile games… and how I stop myself from thinking too much about it or falling for it…

Now, first up, FOMO is the “fear of missing out”. As the name can tell, you don’t want to miss out, so you try to participate in a lot of opportunities and events just because you could regret it if you didn’t. Missing out on something great that happened that you can’t get back or that you can’t experience is incredibly annoying, at times frustrating, and maybe even devastating for some people – especially younger teens. I remember this one time in high school where friends of mine went to a party that I wasn’t invited to. The following few days they talked a lot about that party. They had their own insiders and because I wasn’t there, I didn’t understand anything. I felt left out even though it’s not such a big deal. For me, at the time, it felt worse though but I got over it.

Nowadays, you see FOMO being utilized really often in games, stores, advertisements and the internet in general. It’s an issue since an actual fear, FOMO, is being abused by marketing people to make huge profits. “Pre-Purchase Elden Ring now to get a Digital Adventure Guide with useful information for the player’s adventure in the Lands Between!” You also get a Bonus Gesture (“The Ring”) that can be used in-game (and that is also obtainable later in the game). People may pre-order this already at this point anyway but other people that might have wanted to wait, could get baited into pre-ordering it now for that guide… but said guide will most likely get uploaded online anyway on release. I mentioned Elden Ring here because it’s one of the most anticipated games of 2022… but Elden Ring doesn’t abuse FOMO really too much. The publisher/PR people know that they don’t have to do that. It’s not the best example for a problematic case but it is a good example to display how it is being used.

In a lot of mobile games and especially in Gacha games, you have to pay real money to get a premium currency that can then be used on premium-currency-only summons. These are weighted differently or have exclusive loot to them that isn’t obtainable via the F2P model. This one could potentially be a lot stronger, too, (see Pay-2-Win models) or it has better properties than other units. Now, that currency is super expensive to get, so naturally a lot of people hesitate on grabbing it… but what’s this? There is a limited offer to get the full amount for 80% less real money? But only for the next 4 hours? Oh, wow, I really don’t want to but I kind of have to when they have an amazing deal like this. One purchase later, I get swamped with other limited offers that give me even better deals… and now I’m presented with a problem: Do I keep this up or do I stop right here? But what if I don’t ever see a good offer like that? Also, I really want that summon as it looks adorable! Oh, and it’s great in PvP as well!

It can get really easy for a free-to-play player to get sucked into this vortex of spending money and regretting the purchase. Yes, it’s your own decision in the end but more often than not, you’re getting manipulated into that behaviour, so that you can spend a long time playing it. FOMO isn’t necessarily the devil in the industry but it certainly is a huge problem of why the industry sucks. My trick to dealing with FOMO is to simply ask myself what my backlog would think about this new addition. Or to put it into more general terms: “Do I have this at home?” or “Do I need this?”

My backlog is huge and I have a lot of Open World games to play. Do I need another one from a universe that I barely know? The answer is y- NO! I don’t know when I’d get to play it and I don’t know if I could run it in the first place. I have plenty of other games to play and while The Witcher 3 has a lot to offer, I’m sure, it probably isn’t the right game for me right now due to my lack of free time. My backlog is way too big with only about 300 played games and more than 1000 unplayed ones. If I add more, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. And I don’t want to regret things. How about you? I feel like putting new additions into comparison with the existing backlog is really helpful. When it comes to parties, I ask myself if it’s worth it to go out when I’m exhausted and I try to think about how it makes me feel when I’m drained socially. When I had too much, it often isn’t worth it after all, so staying at home feels less of a “I missed out” situation and more of a “I made the choice to do skip out” situation. I take pride in that and in knowing where my limits are mentally and socially and I try to not regret things. When I end up getting into the loop of thinking “I should’ve done this” or “What if…?”, I slap myself in the face – metaphorically of course – and try to remember that hindsight is always 20/20.

Life’s too short to second-guess every move we make, so let’s not dwell on it too much and keep moving forward, shall we?

FOMO is hard and while it can be abused by folks, I find it increasingly getting easier to resist the urge of making purchases, making bad decisions or regretting things. The blog amd my friends have helped me realise that from time to time again and I’m grateful for that.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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