Adding it Up; The Cost of Being a Geek

Jan 22, 2016

On Jan 12, EA announced that the once XBOX One exclusive subscription servive of EA Access is coming to the PC in the form of Origin Access.  For $4.99/month, get access to “a collection of 15 great PC games,” play EA games before release, and save 10% on all Origin purchases.  Now, in and of itself, this is a pretty awesome service if you’re a fan of the game EA publishes, purchase from Origin often, or would like access to their back catalogue of games being offered and haven’t already purchased them.  That being said, it got me thinking about another subscription service that was announced not too long ago, the Humble Monthly Bundle.  For $12/month, get a handful of games delivered, one of which being a AAA title, and several other indie games, and help charity.  Cool.

Then it struck me.  That’s almost $20/month for games that I might play if I have the time.  That doesn’t include other things I spend money on monthly such as my comics, and then what about Hulu, Netflix, and so on?  Just how much does it all really add up to?

Go do a quick search on Google for “Geek Subscriptions.”  It’s okay, I’ll wait.  Here, since you’re efficient and waiting on the link to make it easy, here you go.  Googling Geek Subscriptions (for the lazy folk out there, here ).  Did the first thing to pop up, that wasn’t an add, happen to be “20 Geeky Subscription Boxes You Need Right Now” from Buzzfeed? ( (It’s honestly not a bad list).  Notice, though, that none of those were digital, but rather all physical goods.  So what’s my point of this?  Well the point is this, we geeks have lots of things that cater to us, lots of that’s that are cool to us, and lots of things that take our money from us.  Take into consideration that most of those items listed on the Buzzfeed site have variant boxes, that list of 20 easily could be 30-50 once you start digging into the offerings of each individual company.  And it doesn’t include many of the great digital subscriptions we have available to us as well.  Just take a look at a couple of scenarios.

Check out our review of the Star Wars Smugglers' Bounty Box!

Check out our review of the Star Wars Smugglers’ Bounty Box!

Comic reader?  Marvel fan?  There’s a great combo for you.  Get the Marvel Collector Corps box bi-monthly and then the Marvel Unlimited app.  $21.99/month and you have yourself a solid Marvel foundation to fulfill your fandom.  Go annual and get it all for $250/year.  Oh, but if you’re a die-hard Marvel comic book ready, you’ll still be going to your local comic shop on a monthly/weekly basis since Marvel Unlimited is about 6 months behind.

What about gaming?  You an MMO player?  World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Replublic, or something else?  That’ll be $15/month.  Play more than one?  Double up.  Let’s not forget that expansions are full retail box price most of the time too.  And let’s not forget about that awesome new mount, that amazing looking pet, or the great color scheme of the die pack that’s purchasable as a micro-transaction.

Just like cool trinkets and stuffs that come in the monthly boxes?  At about $20/month per crate, anything more than 2 seems a bit excessive from the budgetary standpoint.

How about  Have any streamers you enjoy watching enough to subscribe to their channels for $5/month?  How many do you subscribe to?  Personally, at one point I was up to 5.  I’m down to one now, that being Geek and Sundry (insert link for twitch channel here) (Critical Role is hands down my favorite show of the week).

What if you’re such a fan that you’re engrossed in all of them?  That adds up fast.

Hopefully by now you can start to see where this is going.  There’s a lot to subscribe to and there’s a lot of nickel and diming.  I ran a poll on my twitter that got a mere 67 people responded to (insert tweet that has results here).  As you can see, most people were modest, with 3 subscriptions at the most.  Assuming a twitch channel ($5), an MMO ($15) and a box of some sort ($20), that rounds out to be $40/month which is not bad.  But what about those who are in the 4-7 or 8+ range?  That could easily be $100/month or more.

So, with the addition of services like Origin Access, Humble Monthly bundle, and the new DC bi-monthly box that’s bound to come out and their version of Marvel Unlimited, there are plenty for us Geeks to choose from.

But, with so many choices, so many shiny things, we have to be careful.  As a husband and father (expecting our second child in June), being responsible with money is kind of a big deal.  It’s the difference between putting food on the table and having games to play that I probably won’t touch for a few years.  It’s having water to shower with or a cool shirt and mug.  Okay sure, those are a little extreme, but you get my point.  Having such a plethora of choice requires an ever growing need to display responsibility and discipline over our desires as geeks and our finances.

At the end of the day, we are in a Golden Age of Geekdom.  Superheroes aren’t being made fun of anymore, reading comics is something to be shared with friends without fear of judgement, and being a gamer can earn you an honest living.  But I dare you, add it all up.  How much are all of your monthly subscriptions?  Include it all:  Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, MMO’s, and anything else nerdy/geeky.  Add it all up.  Is it too much?  Is it reasonable?  Only you can be the judge of that, as only you know what your finances can afford.  Let me know down in the comments below, just how much do you spend on subscriptions on a monthly basis?  I’ll leave my numbers down there as well.  While you’re at it, take this as an opportunity to get rid of one or two you don’t really need or use, or share with others one you love and feel you get your money’s worth every time.  We can discuss in the comments, or we can carry the conversation on over to Twitter, where you can find me @geekindad.