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Feature: 'Question Of The Week: Does Size Matter?'

Gamasutra's latest Question of the Week asked our esteemed audience of game industry professionals, educators and students for feedback on the importance of a game's play length, parti
Gamasutra's latest Question of the Week asked our esteemed audience of game industry professionals, educators and students for feedback on the importance of a game's play length, particularly in terms of monetary value. Specifically, inspired by a letter to Game Developer magazine by Zoe Nichols, we asked: "How important is the length of a video game for you, as someone involved in the industry? Is there a particular 'hours per $ purchase price' that makes sense, or are there other sensible measures of replayability beyond simple linear mission modes? How should the game industry address this problem in the future?" A large amount of replies from notable industry professionals are the result, and here's just one comment: "As a husband and father, homeowner, employee (lead game programmer), and game fan, as well as a person with additional non-videogame hobbies, I have to say that I prefer shorter games. Real life takes precedence over playing games, and I just don't have enough time to play games that last forever. I rarely can finish a game before the next hot game comes out. When a review talks about a game being "short", I personally add an extra point to the review score, as I know it'll be more likely that I can finish it. I would prefer games to be shorter but have "expansions" much sooner, say six months after the initial release. This way, I can feel like I finished the game, and if I liked it, I can get more. "Expansions" don't need to be fully re-developed engines, and technology: just tweak the exsiting tech, add some of the features that didn't make it in time for the original, and add more content. Cost is not an issue: Rather than pay $60 for a 100 hour game, I'd gladly pay $40 for 10 hour game, and then another $30 for another 10 hours six months later. (And another $30/10 hours six months later again.) Thats $100 for 30 hours of content, or more than 50% increase in price, for about 30% of the content. But I'd be more satisfied with the experience." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including many more fascinating replies (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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