The Scarcity Mindset in Gaming and Collectables

For most of my life, I was considered the average, casual gamer. I loved The Legend of Zelda franchise, and I dabbled in a few Nintendo and PlayStation games here are there. I never suffered from FOMO or felt the urge to pre-order a game to play on day one. It was a simple life.

It was during the dawn of the COVID era when I started listening to video game podcasts and eventually joining Another Zelda Podcast as a writer and the Boss Rush Network. Developing friendships in these wonderful communities helped me unleash my closeted geekhood, and I soon was following the video game industry more closely. Oddly enough, I started spending more money purchasing the latest and greatest–even if they were things I’d typically buy. For example, I would typically own an older generation Nintendo and PlayStation console. Currently, I own the Switch OLED, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and the Steam Deck. Yikes.

What does this have to do with the scarcity mindset?

A scarcity mindset is the idea or worldview that opportunities, resources, and successes are uncommon and as such must be guarded.

ClydeBank Media

Those that are familiar with this psychology term commonly associate this mindset with time or money. Examples include people who jump at any opportunity–even ones that are not appropriate–because they feel another one will not come. Others are tempted to withhold giving others credit because rewards are finite.

The scarcity mindset also drives people to act impulsively–grasping for things because there is a limited resource. Does that sound familiar? The video game and collectible industry does this well, especially Nintendo. Every time an amiibo is released, they are sold out instantly and then discontinued. Remember when Nintendo released the wireless N64 controller? Many fans joked that the large conglomerate made only fifty because they sold out insanely fast, and people were breaking the internet as soon as there was a restock (which would literally last a minute or two before it sold out again).

How about Pokemon cards? Although they have remained popular over the twenty-five plus years, the pandemic created a seismic shift in demand. Large retail stores were wiped clean after every shipment. Parents were fighting each other over booster packs. People clambered to catch ’em all despite the fact that there was enough to go around (excluding the issue of scalpers…).

Video games and collectables are not a necessity; however, gamers and fans can behave like they are. In part, much has to do with the businesses drumming up hype and urgency that if you don’t pre-order, you will miss out. The other half falls onto us. We developed this mentality that if we do not purchase the latest Switch OLED, Xbox Series X, first-party collector’s edition of the latest game, Pokemon Booster Pack, or N64 wireless controller, we will never get the chance to purchase or own them again. Sure, some things truly are sold with a limited time, but many of us fall for the fear of missing out and therefore cling to the scarcity mindset.

Me holding up my new Steam Deck next to my Day One Nintendo Switch. I already have an Switch OLED, PS5, and Xbox Series X with Game Pass. Did I really need the Steam Deck? Or did I want to ensure I had one because they would be sold out?

I personally have fallen for that hard in the last year. Nowadays, I jump as soon as pre-orders drop and purchase things because they are a “special” edition because…although I may not need it, I may want it later, and it fear it would be too late by then. I’ve thrown lots of cash out the window, and now my wallet is hurting. Tonight I reflect on why I feel compelled to own everything that is announced by Sony, Nintendo, and many of my other favorite publishers. Instead sinking into the scarcity quicksand, I should adopt the abundance mindset. As you can imagine, this is the opposite way of thinking and pretty self explanatory.

The abundance mindset flips your self-centered desires to a more outward sense of appreciation for what you have and what you experience as a community. Sure, you may miss out on a collectable or two–but instead of sulking over the fact you’ll never own this item, perhaps engage in the community who share the same passion as you, and eventually, you will find that collectable/game/console, or a suitable replacement. That sure sounds healthier, doesn’t it?


The Boss Rush Podcast – Fridays at 7AM ET

The Boss Rush Podcast

The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and The Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, LeRon, Stephanie, Edward, and their friends from around the internet come together to talk their week in games, entertainment, and more while also bringing topics for conversation, answer listener and community questions, and cover major news and events happening in the video game industry. Watch The Boss Rush Podcast live on Wednesday Nights on Twitch at 8:30PM ET / 5:30PM PT or on Friday mornings at 7AM ET on YouTube and podcast services everywhere. Thanks for listening! You can also get this episode one week early on Patreon.

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Source: ClydeBank Media

Image Source: PSD Stamps

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