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Published on February 28th, 2015 | by gareth


Should Game Publishers List Game Length On The Package

Recently there has been a growing amount of attention and focus placed upon the playtime of a video game. Forbes recently had an article where they said that any game with a $60.00 price point should have at least 10 hours of gameplay included. They based this on the reports of the at the time unreleased The Order:1886 having a short play time and with the author having frustrations with Far Cry 4 extending the play time through numerous side quests and mini games.

As I was studying film in college as one of my minors, it was said to me that no bad film is too short and that no good film is too long. The concept in many ways can be applied to gaming in that most players would much rather plan a good game that lasts 6 hours than play 15-20 hours of a bad game that drags on and on.
I have been able to complete the solo play modes of the recent Call of Duty games in about 6-7 hours but spend a fair amount of time in the games multiplayer mode.

With the recent release of The Order: 1886 getting some attention for a perceived short play time for the price when factoring in a lack of multiplayer, many think that shorter games at full price may be the wave of the future. This would cut down on development costs for the studios but would allow them to maintain the price points that they currently use for new releases.

There are some interesting points and arguments made on both sides of this debate but I think that I have a solution that would help this issue.

Since developers list such things as rating, multiplayer numbers, graphical resolutions, and hard drive space requirements on their games, to say nothing of required and suggested specs for PC gamers, why not list the average play time for the campaign?

Yes this will open the door for developers to say a game has 10 hours of playtime as they factor in side quests, completing all challenges, and playing on a harder setting. I think playtime for an average gamer playing the core game only on normal difficulty is a good benchmark and it would allow consumers to make better informed decisions about which games to purchase first.

A full priced game with 6 hours of play and no multiplay may not seem like such a good investment once the game is completed when the other options was 10 hours of play accented by a multiplay option.

Some may say that this is an added burden for developers but in an era when consumers are becoming very savvy and connected with one another via the net, why not be as transparent as possible and not try to hide play length in an effort to boost sales? I know that publishers need to sell as many titles as they can, but I think the risk of damaging consumers confidence is far more damaging in the long run.

In the end sales are what ultimately drive companies and the industry and unless the industry sees a decline in sales they are not likely to make changes, but if they truly value their consumers, perhaps this is a move they may want to consider making.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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