Escapism In The Time Of Layoffs

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The Wall Street Journal has a nice little article up about laid off employees getting into games and social media networks as a way to escape the grim reality that they're out of a job.

Internet games, gambling and other forms of online entertainment have seen significant surges in use in the several months since the economic downturn deepened. Social-networking services like Facebook, blogs and discussion forums — all well-known time sinks even during good times — are also seeing strong growth. Some purveyors of online entertainment say business has never been so good for them.

I'm kind of sad that the example they use is someone who's resorted to Big Fish Games. I don't mind so much that they're only pointing to an increase in casual game consumption, but I think it'd be more of a statement for someone to turn to World of Warcraft in their jobless state.

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DISCUSSION

One would think that $15 WoW budget would be the first to go, but having been through those lean times before and now finding myself unemployed once more, I can assure you that WoW fans will cut costs elsewhere.

That $15 will be justified as a poor-man's "entertainment budget". Won't be buying new videogames, going out as much to the bar or sporting events, perhaps a pleasant "diversion" when the computer comes to represent a real ball-and-chain that you're shackled to while searching for your next steady paycheck.

I completely accept the argument that WoW or another MMO is a cheap way to stay entertained for a month. Trouble is, overreliance on the game in lieu of a genuine social life isn't healthy either.

I've commented on this before, but I just hope that people who find themselves taking a beating professionally don't let raid progress become a substitute for getting back on the horse and becoming attuned to a new job.