How Skyrim Could Damage The U.S. Economy (Sorta)

First we have Wired magazine's Geek Dad mock-fretting that the wonderful time-sink of Skyrim may be hurting the productivity of the American worker and therefore may drag the nation's economy down.

Today, we have Matthew Yglesias, smart writer at Slate providing slightly more serious analysis about what Skyrim's impact on the economy might be.

Good news! He's not serious. Slightly less good news: there are actually two ways Skyrim could mess with America's oh-so-fragile economy.

Yglesias writes:

I see two possibilities:

  • One is of Skryim as a kind of severe demand shock. "This weekend alone," [Wired's Geek Dad] writes "I forgot about two obligations, blew off a dinner and a concert, and purchased no goods or services." Normally people do a lot of different stuff to keep themselves amused. But if a single $US56 purchase can keep you fully entertained for a long time, that might result in dramastically reduced demand for goods and services.
  • The other is of Skryim as a supply shock. Maybe the possibility of spending your time playing Skryim has massively increased the value of leisure time, and people will start retiring early, downshifting to part-time jobs, declining freelance assignments, and otherwise avoiding active participation in the labour market in order to play Skryim.

Slate's Yglesias has some ideas about how the government and the free market could respond. To remedy the first issue, America could pivot to an economy that makes the kind of things Skyrim players want (e.g. the manufacturing of comfier gaming chairs!). To remedy the second, well, no, wages would go up, inflation would increase and there's no happy ending.

OK, people. Stop playing Skyrim. America can't afford it if you continue. (Well, it can, but this kind of tongue-in-cheek analysis is fun. Video games matter, you know.)

Modeling a Skryim Shock to the US Economy [Slate]

Why Skyrim Is Horrible for the Economy [Wired]

(Top photo is not of America circa Skyrim; it's a still from the game's live-action commercial.)


    Couldn't be this said of any game? : / I guess most people see skyrim as having more playtime than a typical game, but still it's got nothing on mmos. I clocked in at 46 hours and I think I'm done, no drive to continue playing.

      Took the words right out of my mouth. This just in: World of Warcraft caused the economy crisis.

        But the makers of Mountain Dew reaped a rich harvest.

        Note the key words here: single $56 purchase. Last time I checked WoW charged subscriptions so thats money flowing into the economy.

        Of course, this is all moot because its kind of a joke.

    I guess the findings were funded by blizzard per chance. Better not look at WOW then.

    And what about television? Radio? Books? This could be said of any kind of entertainment.

      And...the internet, in general.


          Goodbye afternoon plans....

          Just kidding... I had no plans...

    What a load of garbage. Yes a lot of people play Skyrim, but if he actually believes the number is high enough to cause damage to the US economy, then he really needs to go back to school and study macroeconomics.

      And you need to go to the school of satire!

    As a Labour Market Analyst that looks at economic indicators, this has made my day. :D

    Well, so far no one gets the joke...

    Inflamatory title? Check
    Include exteremly popular game? Check.
    Article is mostly rubbish? Double check.

    But he was just kidding... so its funny, right?

    Its like I really am browsing IGN. Can we go back to the sexism thing, at least that had some meat to it.

    News just in PORN is affecting the U.S. Economy

    every worker is to busy fapping to go to work anymore.

    Guys relax. The guy wasnt even serious

    I was going to work today but then I took an arrow in the knee.

      Circle takes the square, goodnight everybody!

      *Cue wheel of fortune outro*

        I waa going to be original, but then I took an aarow.

        IN THE KNEE.

          I was going to be even more original, then *I* took an arrow...

          IN THE PATELLA!

    It's official: A high proportion of KotakuAu's readership are morons. This could have been nice little parody debate, given the guy was being admittedly absurd, and you all ruined it for everyone who likes talking bullshit for fun way to go.

      So sorry to have ruined your day by offering out honest opinions.

      +1 - seems to be a massive anti anything Kotaku US posts, it's almost becoming the national e-sport!

      Thought it was a rather good tongue-in-cheek article, meh :)

    I've spent over way over 1000 hours on this MMO I'm playing.

    And it was free...

    Take that Australian Economy.

    This is a recycled argument from 'insert any highly anticipated game'.

      It should also be noted that satire and parody are always misunderstood. Family guy for instance, colbert report is a great example of parody also inspiring its target. Parody is the modern from of public masturbation.

    well, if you fork out peanuts, your going to get monkeys...or skyrim players for that matter

    hahahahahahahaha, shouldn't it be (*snip)

    Good news everyone! We've solved the World of Warcraft addiction causing economic drain by creating an even stronger addiction. Now, please, won't someone think of the tiny adolescent humans?

    I can't believe I took this seriously. My parents are going to be very disappointed in me :(

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