Length. Always a thorny issue. It’s not the length it’s what you can do with it, yadda yadda. With video games though, we’re obsessed with. Do we sit around desperately asking how many pages a new book is? Would we honestly be pleased if we had to sit through a five-hour Marvel movie? Are all great albums over two hours long? The answer to all of these questions is probably, and I suspect quite emphatically, no.
Yet the relationship between length and value in videogames has become so intertwined that it’s almost impossible to separate the two. Part of it is probably because some games, by their very design, offer insane ‘value’ in terms of money paid and time spent. It makes every other game look terrible value when I can buy Rocket League for £12 and play it for 1500 hours. That doesn’t mean they are terrible value, far from it, it’s just outliers can very quickly warp our perspective.
The bottom line is that games aren’t cheap to make and they need to be priced accordingly. On the development and publishing end, the length of the game is almost inconsequential to the price they charge. Games aren’t usually more expensive for us because they’re longer, nor are they typically cheaper because they’re shorter. They’re priced according to how much they cost to make and market rather than any particular value to us, so we’ve got two competing ideals rubbing up against one another.
This friction between cost and value is why we often see so many people arguing over the value of a game, or perhaps just inquiring how long the game is before they hand over their cash. Most of us have limited funds and want to be sure we’re getting the most out of money. That said, time spent isn’t necessarily time well spent. Spending little on a long, terrible game is a waste of time rather than money. Say hello, Mad Max. It’s the opposite extreme to spending £60 on a two-hour experience.
Taking all of that into account then, do you tend to have a minimum length a game needs to be before you’ll even consider spending full price on it? Do you wait for deep discounts on short games or are you happy to pay up for a short, quality experience?
Be sure to cast your votes in the poll and then let us know why below!