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).