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Saturday, October 18, 2008

cost of games per hour

Lately I've been thinking about the cost of games..... specifically, how much they cost versus how many hours of gameplay they give. I was thinking about breaking down how much the games cost me per hour... how much gameplay should one reasonably expect to get from a videogame?

Games in arcades used to cost 25¢. Which would probably last a few minutes. But they are different from home console games.... the structure of arcade "quarter eaters" is meant to seduce you & take your money quickly. There aren't very long cut scenes & the gameplay is immediate. I never played arcade games that much, but I had friends who'd shell out about $20.00 per 2 hours spent in an arcade. How does that compare to videogames nowadays, that you pay $50.00+ for & take home & play?

I've been thinking a lot about my videogame spending, and I've tried to keep it to a pattern of buying mostly games that are sale-priced, heavily discounted, and a few that are full price. Most of my purchases over 2008 have been heavy-discount sales; thanks to that one EB Games sale this last spring that had a bunch of Wii/PSP games for about $10.00. I bought a lot of stuff that I was interested in, but not necessarily something I just *had* to have (a few were though) So this formula has been a bit skewed because of the low prices of these lucky sales grabs.

But there are a few games I paid full or almost full price for recently, notably The Force Unleashed for Wii. $50.00 for that, plus tax, making it about $57.00.... and how many hours did I get out of that? I'd say about 6-8 hours for the first run-through of the campaign. That does seem short, but you need to go through the game 2x to get the second ending (well, you don't really HAVE to, I saved just before the final level so I could actually just load & play that one level & choose the 2nd ending if I wanted) so there is some replay value in the game, though I have to admit, it's a fairly repetitive brawler so playing it again is not as exciting as the first run.

Based on one play-through of campaign - I paid $ 7.13 per hour of game. It's going down, because I am replaying it again in short bursts.

Compared to one of the sale games I got, Star Trek: Conquest for Wii, I paid $10.00 for that, and played at least 10 hours of it. So I paid about $1.00 per hour of game, probably less, maybe even 50¢ per hour. Pretty good value.

There are a few games I've put LOTS of hours into (not proud of that...) like Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron for PSP. I got it bundled with my PSP, but it was priced seperately at the time for $40.00. I would have paid it, no question. I don't know exactly how many hours I've played it, but easily 40 hours. $1.00 per hour, and dropping.... Star Wars Battlefront I, II & now Renegade Squadron are my all-time fave games. I just love to pick up & play them.

I would say in general, my target value is something like $5.00 per hour. I think that if a game reaches that, it's probably worth it.


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