Great essay. As a lover of video games myself, I keep watch for signs of possible addiction. Spending too much money on them hasn’t been an issue for me, as I haven’t gotten into “freemium” games at all; my favorite games are either completely free (Nethack) or inexpensive (Stardew Valley and Starbound), and have no (official) paid add-ons. But I’ve spent many hundreds of hours immersed in these virtual worlds, which provide a pleasant escape from the painful realities I face daily in the news and in my own life.
When I get bored with one game, I generally switch to another, rather than switching to a more productive or life-enriching hobby. I tell myself, like you have, that there are much worse, or at least less socially-acceptable, addictions, and that I’m not hurting anyone as I might be if I had a problem with cigarettes, alcohol, or hard drugs (none of which I partake in). But I am mindful that being too sedentary is also harmful to my health, so I’m trying to get out of my chair and away from the screen more often. It really isn’t easy.