Fear Of Missing Out

I’ve long since realized I have a problem when it comes to buying more games than I’ll ever get to (it’s part of what prompted my challenge to complete 10 new-to-me games by the end of August). A while back, a friend told me that fear of missing out (or, FOMO as the hip kids say) is very real and was probably an aspect of my game accumulating antics.

I think he was right.

As some of you know, I grew up poor. Not just sort of poor, but very poor. I’ve seen how that has affected each of my family members, and certainly how it has affected me. Some people in my family accumulate so many things, they have to put them in storage. Sometimes those things are useful, sometimes they are not.

I’m not immune to some of those tendencies, though I do try to keep myself in check. I very much prefer a spare environment, and I try to take a cue from my partner who rarely wants anything he doesn’t actually need.


I am the worst about buying games…and then not playing them. I want the capability to have those experiences, I’m just god awful at actually having them.

I was thinking about this yesterday as I was doing my usual Tuesday PlayStation Store perusal. Two games were released I was really excited about: 1979 Revolution Black Friday, and Anamorphine.

I bought them immediately.

In the pre-order section, I saw Guacamelee! 2. SOLD! Then I saw another game I’ve been looking forward to that looks delightfully bizarre: Donut County. ALSO SOLD.

Even though those are indie games and all well under the standard $60 retail game price point, I realized I’d just bought four games.

I’d bought four games when I’m already maddeningly behind and had created a challenge for myself just to make progress on all the amazing games I’m currently sitting on.

Fear of missing out, indeed.

I belong to a video game group of several thousand people, and every time a new game releases, I get swept up in the excitement, even if it’s a game I wasn’t initially interested in.

Case in point: Spider-Man.

Insomniac’s Spider-Man is releasing September 7th. I am not particularly into Spider-Man. I am not particularly into superheroes. I have not been excited at all for the upcoming game.

And yet, I find myself wanting to pre-order it so I can see if I like it.

This is hilarious for so many reasons, the first of which is, would I even play it this year anyway? With how behind I am, I find I wind up starting games I’m not super into because I have lower expectations and therefore feel less weird about getting only marginally invested. Sometimes when I’m really excited about a game, I put it off to prolong the experience.

Oh, brain.

As silly as it sounds (since we are talking about playing games here), I’m trying to make an effort to be more productive with my gaming. I want to have those experiences instead of saving them up for some imaginary day. “Worse” case scenario, I play all the games I’ve ever had and have to look for more games to play.

The tragedy.

Do you also experience fear of missing out? How does it play out for you? I’m genuinely curious and would love to hear your thoughts.

9 replies »

  1. I try and pace myself these days – with a family, my days of paying full price for new games are over. Plus, games drop so much in price these days, I find a bit of patience can save a lot of money!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t really experience fear of missing out these days, mostly because my tastes are so “niche” compared to the big releases of the day… but also because I see stuff that I buy that I don’t intend to play immediately as an investment. They’re an addition to my ever-growing collection, and they’re things I can potentially write about in the future when I find some time to get to them.

    These days, I only buy stuff that I know I am going to want to actually play *at some point*. It doesn’t matter if that “at some point” is right now or in three years’ time; with the stuff I tend to enjoy the most, it’s often best to pick things up right away, because they might not be readily available in a few years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting. I’d never really thought of games as investments before, but I do see what you’re saying. And yes, having them to write about is valuable in and of itself!

      I hear you on that one. I remember for so many years, Atlus games were sometimes hard to come by, so I snapped them up when I could.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think there is a legitimate FOMO for a lot of people, myself included. I’ve been a lot better about preordering games over the last few years but for certain publishers or games, mainly Atlus like you mentioned they might only have one run of a game depending on the title so they do become hard to find past the initial release.

    I definitely buy more games than I can reasonably play but I don’t feel it’s a waste if at least one of me or my 2 brothers plays it close to purchase. I also buy early for smaller studios/publishers so they get the financial benefit. I wait for AAA published games for Black Friday because even games that release in November can see significant discounts.

    I’m heavily susceptible to digital discounts as well. I just held myself back from buying the Killer Instinct expansion for $10 after debating with myself that I’ve already bought the initial game and first expansion and have yet to start playing it. Until I play it I can wait as I’m sure it will be on sale again at some point and since it’s digital it won’t be going anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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