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About the sunken cost fallacy


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For context, I’ve just had a relapse which I allowed to happen on the basis that cutting gaming (the symptoms) wasn’t going to fix my procrastination (the core issue). Answering someone else’s post has allowed me to debunk that argument in a sort of cathartic moment where I realises that the detox isn’t so much about cutting this or that but setting yourself up to have a clear mind to work on the rest.


So I’m looking for this community’s help to assist me in debunking another major argument: the sunken cost argument.


I view it in a bit of an extended manner. It’s not only about the sums of money invested into everything related to gaming for me (I’m fortunate enough that this isn’t a life threatening issue for now), but also about the emotional investment into gaming.


1. How can I ditch gaming when I have friends (no fallacy there, we get along online even outside of games) associated with it? I feel it might be a mind trick since I had no problem cutting ties during previous detoxes, maybe it’s the fear of a permanent end to that friendship?

2. I have an oculus rift gathering dust since I asked my parents to come over to my place and take my desktop with them. I’d like to be able to use it since the gf admits it was fun and she misses it, but then I’d have an even easier time getting back on to hardcore gaming with it. Should I sell it/have it hauled away along with the PC as proof of commitment to my detox?

3. Is anyone else holding on to tech because of the hope that one day they’ll be able to moderate? I’m at a point where I don’t know if I even enjoy gaming at its core anymore except a select few indie and PS4 games (I have no issues with gaming on PS4 somehow). There again I feel emotional investment may be a challenge to true commitment to a detox.

4. One of my alternative activities as part of my detox is game development. I’m naturally drawn by my peers and interested in indie/experimental games which I often managed to consume somewhat responsibly. I feel like a writer who doesn’t read if I cut them off too, but then where do I draw the line? How do I enforce it? Too risky I think.


As I’m writing this I seem to realise how this is all a pathetic trick of my mind and I find myself desperately trying to explain arguments in favour of gaming that were solid in my mind but now feel grotesque on (virtual) paper.


As you can see I understand the sunken cost fallacy (also called escalation of commitment) under an emotional standpoint as finances aren’t thankfully too much of an issue, but feel free to discuss that angle too.



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1. The friends also sound like a 'time investment'. Its like if you dated someone althrough HS and they break it off end of HS, they wasted your time and the potential opportunities you couldve had with others. If you cut off your friends, they might not stick around because you wont be gaming anymore (But they might stay. In my experience, they were quick to cut me off). Youll feel like they wasted your time and opportunities you couldve had w others. This advice only makes sense for IRL friends tho.


2. I always say don't worry about selling or not selling. I recommend leaving it around until you find something you really want (eg. A telescope). Something you want so much that youd sell the oculus in a heartbeat to have it. It also sounds like youve kept it because your gf enjoyed it and you want to make her happy. If you havent already talked to her about this stopgaming commitment, I recommend you do so.


3. If you have Netflix I recommend you watch this person called 'Marie Kondo'. Otherwise, search the KonMari technique. It teaches about decluttering your life and only keeping things that 'Spark joy'/ make you happy. The main 2 questions are 'Does this thing make me happy to hold?' and 'Is this something I want in my future'. Thisll be my last visit to the gamestore ($60 worth thanks to this method) and itll be my 6th haul or so. I have kept 4 games or so. I dont know what my future is about gaming, but I want to get over 90 days first.


4. There are plenty of ppl here interested in game development. Coding is very popular here too. Gaming is not evil. There are christians that argue gaming in general is not a sin. I think it goes back to having a heakthy relationship with gaming. Youre 100% correct that stopgaming wont help your procrastination. Its something you need to change yourself. I like to say tho that stopgaming gives you temporary space from a big distraction and helps clear your head. Stopgaming doesnt make you a better person. It gives you the chance to put the effort in to be better person. Ive seen ppl get to 90 days that didnt even try to improve themselves in the process. Self improvement is important during it. If game development is your thing, who cares. Its what makes you, you. Youre also interested in Indie/Experimental. Maybe youll contribute to allowing gamers to have a healthy relation w gaming. Maybe youll change games for the better in some way.


Your potential is endless!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Three of my closest friends and family are big gamers.  I can't participate in the same activities with them that I used to, so sometimes it feels like I can't hang out with them as much.  But, none the less, I will stick to my personal goals of quitting gaming for good and hope that maybe, eventually, they will grow out of gaming as well.  I think that's all you can do, just be an example.

As far as tech goes, I'm keeping my PC rig.  I use it for lots of other things as well as general Internet use.  I am not keeping it for the intention of gaming in the future though.

I'm a designer as well and have thought about game design a bit.  This is a bit of a gray area that I think should be looked at cautiously.  I'm personally choosing not to go into game development because I guarantee, most of the people in that field will be gamers, I don't want to feel responsible for creating a game that's massively addictive for someone like myself, and I would probably be tempted to play if I was always around a game.

Don't be hard on yourself though man, a lot of the men in our generation have been the test subjects in an experiment of how constant Internet and gaming effect a person.  And it can be difficult to navigate out.  Best of luck.

Edited by Average_Guy
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