The question running around is, is 6-10 hours too short for a singleplayer only game? As news came out that Order 1886, a PS4 exclusive game, had a game length of only 6-10 hours a bunch of people questioned whether or not it was worth the full $60. Hell we have single player indie games that are 6-10 hours and they only charged $10-20 so why should a AAA developer get away with charging $60 for the same thing. Well AAA is pretty much just indicative to how much a game’s budget is not really who makes it however if they don’t charge that they might not get their money back but that is a discussion for another day.
We are here to discuss, how short is too short. In most instances it is completely relative to the player. Some feel like if they can’t get 50 hours out of a game it isn’t worth a $60 price tag. Others feel like if they enjoyed their experience much like a 2 hour movie then it was worth the price. I myself have a certain rule, if I can pay for a game in terms of minimum wage then it is worth it to me HOWEVER those hours played must be enjoyable. If I’m not enjoying 8 hours or so of a Call of Duty game that doesn’t really count as being “worth it” in my opinion. I however don’t apply this to other forms of media why?
I spend $10-15 on a movie in which move movies have been getting shorter within the last few decades at only an hour and half to two hours. I’m more than willing to spend $100+ on hockey tickets to see my favorite team, the Dallas Stars (the rest of the NHL sucks, especially the Ducks), yet I don’t blink an eye at that. Why is it that game length is so important to us when we spend more money on far shorter forms of entertainment. You can probably honestly thank the 90’s for that. Since sports and movies have been a long part of our history at this point (about 100 years), we have gotten used to the price point of each of those. Movies for the most part have been the same price with inflation and so has sports, so when prices went up for each of those they reflected inflation not necessarily greed though I would argue the movie industry is very very greedy. We’ve also already associated that when you pay the price you pay for a movie you get those 2 hours and that is it unless you buy the physical media of said movie but for the most part you get those 2 hours and that is it. Same with sports, you pay that money and you get those 3-4 hours of entertainment and that is it.
But since the medium of games is so new and so varied we haven’t really associated how to value a game well spent is. A lot of games in the 90’s and early 00’s tended to be 40+ hours and it hasn’t been until recently when budgets went up and it cost more to produce a game that we’ve seen game lengths shorten. Take for example the Call of Duty games. With each yearly iteration we’ve seen the campaign get shorter and shorter to that of being a quick movie. No the CoD games have a hidden value in the MP but if some gamers are only in it for the Michael Bay like story or just want to stare at that beautiful face of Kevin Spacey…. you so dreamy Mr Spacey, I mean… uhhhh… then some people may find the CoD games not being worth the price as they only are getting 6 hours out of it. That also being said, games are so vastly different within their own medium that there is no honest way to compare some games to others. The gameplay styles of RTS, turn based, sports, FPS and many others are so different that you can’t really compare price and time sink values amongst them.
Now the Order 1886 I feel might be a bit too short however if many gamers feel that it isn’t worth their money then don’t pre-order or buy it initially. The only way devs and publishers can learn that you need to produce a bit more gameplay for that price point is that people don’t buy it initially. The game might be fantastic but asking $60 for a SP experience is even pushing it for moviegoers. Speak with your wallets.