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Perceived value and my favorite mobile game

A few weeks ago I started playing Hill Climb Racing 2. It's a fun, addictive game and, best of all, it's free to play. You actually don't have to spend any money (though you do have to watch ads) but if you're patient, you can unlock everything without paying a single penny!

Recently, I figured I'd splurge and pay $4.99 for one of their little "deals" in the game where you get a deal with a custom decal and a heaping helping of these little things called Gems aka 💎.

Now, in the game, you buy vehicle upgrades with coins. You earn coins while driving, doing tricks, going longer and longer distances in the adventure levels, and winning cup races. You also earn 2-5 💎 every 6 hours through a "free reward" treasure box and a few more every day or two as you win 10 races by completing and winning cups. Anyway, over the course of a few weeks, you could potentially save a hundred or more gems.

Now gems in the game can only be used for two things: opening treasure boxes (which you get when you win a cup) or purchasing coins. You can't actually purchase coins, but you can purchase gems, which, in turn, can be exchanged for coins.

Now, initially when I did my initial splurge, I opted to "buy" (er, maybe convert) 1000💎 into coins. I got 130,000 coin out of the deal. Not bad, I thought to myself. That's 130 coin for every 💎.

But then I got to thinking... what would I get if I spent more? Here's the available conversions in the game:

💎CoinsC/💎
10010,000100
20022,000110
50060,000120
1000130,000130
2000280,000140
5000750,000250

Now, I know what you're probably thinking right now... man.. I should really opt for that 5000💎 deal where you can get 250C/💎, right? I mean that really is the better deal!

Well, a few moments ago remember I mentioned that you can use 💎 for 2 things. One is for buying coins, and the other is for unlocking treasure chests. Well, what happens if you only spent your 💎 unlocking treasure chests? Well...

💎CoinsC/💎
127,000375
2413,000~540
48??
9670,000~730

So with a little patience, it's actually a much better deal to unlock the chests. Sure, it can feel good to get "the best deal" but is it really the best deal? Not really...