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Coming Soon, Shorter Video Games 637

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-play-bored-now dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Blake Snow writes that according to one expert, 90% of players who start a game will never see the end of it and it's not just dull games that go unfinished. Only 10% of avid gamers completed last year's critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, according to Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions. 'What I've been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube,' says Keith Fuller, a longtime production contractor for Activision. The bottom line is people have less time to play games than they did before, they have more options than ever, and they're more inclined to play quick-hit multiplayer modes, even at the expense of 100-hour epics. 'They're lucky to find the time to beat a 10-hour game once or twice a month,' says Fuller of the average-age gamer. 'They don't feel cheated about shorter games and will just play a longer game for as many hours as their schedule allows before moving on to another title.' Even avid gamers are already warming to the idea of shorter games. 'Make a game worth my time and money, and I'll be happy,' says Casey Willis. 'After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring.'"
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Coming Soon, Shorter Video Games

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  • WHAT!?!?!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by d.the.duck (2100600) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:48AM (#37128892)
    So I can spend 50 -60$ on a 20 hour game? Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I'm after. Sounds like a good way to keep development costs low and reap in more profit. I call bullsh*t on this.
    • by Scutter (18425)

      So I can spend 50 -60$ on a 20 hour game? Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I'm after. Sounds like a good way to keep development costs low and reap in more profit. I call bullsh*t on this.

      +1

      I don't mind a shorter game, but I better see a lower price tag as well.

      • +1

        The thing is, though.. I don't mind shorter games if they don't end up being a large plot crammed into that shorter story, or have a very flat story to begin with.

        I.e. I wouldn't want Half-Life 1 to be crammed into a game that's only 1/3rd the original length.

        To stick to Half-Life.. if they took its plot and story length as it ended up being, but split it up into 3 titles in a series.. the lab area, battling the military chaps, and the alien world.. that'd work quite well.

        Unfortunately, it seems more like

        • Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Moryath (553296) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:17AM (#37129330)

          Like I said, the key is not the length of the game, the key is not doing the things that make the game fucking boring to gamers.

          If I put the game down for a weekend or a week or two due to Real Life, and then come back and there's no way to get back into the character and remember what was going on in the story, then I'm done with the game.

          If I play the game for 15 hours and hit a Celda-style "Hey Link, go waste 60 hours sailing around the goddamn ocean looking for the 8 pieces of the Crappy Macguffin before we'll let you back to the main story" setup, then fuck that, I'm done. Likewise for games like the Final Fantasy series, where I have to spend 30 hours or more running around the side-areas level grinding before taking on one of the bosses.

          I'm fine with a short game like Super Mario Bros that has almost infinite replayability and remains fun. Or the old-school arcade games that are the same way. I'm not fine with games that have inflated, worthless "X hours of gameplay" listed right there on the goddamn box, like being proud of forcing the players to go through 100 hours of level grind is something to be fucking proud of.

          If the game designers would stop giving a shit about how "long" the game was, and instead start making sure the game was fun from start to finish, then they'd be doing a hell of a lot better. It's not that multiplayer is the holy grail, it's not that people actually fucking enjoy level grinding (let's face it, most gamers don't play Call of Duty more than a month because by the time you play that long, you're SO done with the immature fucking hyperleveled kids who play all day long and shout "fag" into their headsets whenever they score a kill), it's that people want to have FUN when they play.

          • Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Twanfox (185252) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:27AM (#37129460)

            If I put the game down for a weekend or a week or two due to Real Life, and then come back and there's no way to get back into the character and remember what was going on in the story, then I'm done with the game.

            This actually brings up an interesting thought for me. I wonder how well it would go over that, if you saved and walked away from a game, when you came back, it gave you one of those TV-esque 'Previously, on [game]...' intros (skip-able, of course). That might be a way to do a quick refresh of what was going on when you saved, perhaps what quests you were on or the point in the main story where you were at. So far I haven't seen any of that in games, and I know it would have helped me in quite a few instances to get back into the groove.

            • by Moryath (553296)

              Borderlands doesn't do that, but it DOES have some pretty juicy flavor text for each mission, such that I can pick back up even on missions I've ignored in favor of other missions and get back into it with little to no trouble. I can take a month's break from Borderlands, come back into the game, and not have to wonder "now where the fuck was I and what the fuck was I doing?" With most RPG's, I can't do that. Even with games like Infamous or Prototype, doing that is difficult.

              The one thing I'd wish for with

            • by Ihmhi (1206036)

              Well, just so long as they're careful not to take too much inspiration from the television shows...

              Last Time, on Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3...

              Goku: RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

              Vegeta: RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • by Tsingi (870990)

            let's face it, most gamers don't play Call of Duty more than a month because by the time you play that long, you're SO done with the immature fucking hyperleveled kids who play all day long and shout "fag" into their headsets whenever they score a kill

            +2 Funny, and true.

      • by Applekid (993327)

        So I can spend 50 -60$ on a 20 hour game? Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I'm after. Sounds like a good way to keep development costs low and reap in more profit. I call bullsh*t on this.

        +1

        I don't mind a shorter game, but I better see a lower price tag as well.

        That describes episodic gaming. The idea is a shorter game, a shorter development cycle (thanks to less content), and a smaller price (made possible by the shorter development cycle).

        A gaming model, in short, that's almost completely dead.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      This is somewhat accurate. Reality is that game prices are just ridiculous to begin with. Whether it's 100 hours long or 20 hours long, no game is worth $60. $30 is a reasonable "premium title" price.;

      Meanwhile, what is the reason for the 100 hours thing? At first, it was quality (SNES, PS era). Since then, it has become "we've made an elaborate timesink to make this shit take 10x as long as it should". I've only seen square be one of the few developers to let people complete their games quickly if they so

      • Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:12AM (#37129236)

        Really? 100 hours of entertainment at $60 seems like a deal to me compared to say 2 hours for $10 at the movies. In fact, pretty much all other forms of entertainment typically cost something in the region of $5 an hour. By that measure, games are insanely cheap.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          Depends on if you feel like buy "entertainment" in bulk or not. My movie tickets run about $6 each rather than $10, but lets assume 10 for the sake of argument. If I go to the movies once per week (about as often as I'd choose to go - usually its more like once every 3 weeks) then my monthly cost for going to the movies is $40. If I played one game per month then my monthly gaming cost is still $60.

          It doesn't make much sense to compare strictly in "dollar for the hour" terms - it's more applicable to co

          • by jaymz666 (34050)

            I'd love to know how you can find one game a month worth buying. Seems to me only every 3 or 4 months does a game come out that I would want to play.

        • By that measure, games are insanely cheap.

          By that measure yeah. But since I can get 100+ cable channels for 30 a month, which works at about, say, 4x7x30=840 hours, or about 0.04 per hour, by THAT measure games are actually outrageously expensive.

      • While I certainly am uninspired by much of what has the temerity to bear a "$59.99" sticker, I don't understand how you can declare the category illegitimate as a whole:

        If there are games that are acceptably worth $30, surely a game that provided twice as many man-hours of enjoyment would be worth $60(being essentially equivalent to buying two $30 games that just happen to have some sort of narrative coherence)?
    • by jhoegl (638955)
      Should we be surprised?
      We have been paying more for less for a while now.
      You know that bar of soap you use in the morning? If you thought it looked smaller, it is.
      • Super Street Fighter II retailed for $70 in 1994. Adjusted for inflation that's about $101 today. Most top tier games are $60 right now. So all things considered we're making out Ok.
        • by jhoegl (638955)
          Wait, so you are saying that a game back in 1994 which was less complex, less graphically impressive, but popular in the arcades would have cost more today?
          Interesting relational point of view. pppffttttt
    • I know I've been out of the loop for a while, but video games end? I thought they just kept getting faster and faster until you have to play at superhuman speed. At that point the blocks reach the top, or the alien ship reaches the bottom or whatever, and if you're lucky you get to put in your three letter initials onto the top ten board and feed some more quarters into the machine.
    • I'm with you on this. As an avid gamer, I'm used to getting more bang for my buck. A lot of my favorite games could easily go 100+ hours in a single playthrough. Granted, RPGs tend to be longer, in general, but even some of my favorite shooters, like No One Lives Forever, were quite long.

      This just goes along with how developers are trading in single player experiences to focus solely on multiplayer. I feel like a part of a dying breed.

      And as one of the 10% that actually DID beat Red Dead Redemption, I've go

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      I'm happy if in the process of halving the game length they halve the costs.

      Otherwise - it's a bullshit cost-cutting measure to me.

    • i don't have a problem with shorter games, as long as there's replayability.

      example: metal gear solid IV.

      there's even an achievement for fonishing it in 5 hours or less. the faster that i finished it was 10 hours, but i replayed it some 10 times before selling the PS3 to a friend.

      so bring the short games, but make them so there's enough variation to ensure that i'll want to play it over and over again.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:41AM (#37129720) Journal

      It's not just the price, though. Sure, if the choices was between 10 hours of truly awesome vs 20 hours of boring, and they both cost the same, well, ok, I might actually splurge on something that's awesome for a change. I mean, honestly, out of some games maybe a quarter of the time was actually fun, and the other parts were filler that didn't really bring anything worth my money. If I paid the same, but got only the parts that were actually worth my money, in the end I'd get the same value for my money, if not better. In fact not only I'd pay extra to have that filler removed, but I _have_ occasionally actually paid extra to be able to skip it. E.g., by buying a GameShark or the like.

      But that's unfortunately just theory. Anyone want to bet that that won't happen?

      I've seen games get increasingly shorter for two decades now, but I'm just not seeing that awesome stuff emerging. I'm not seeing many people actually cut out the parts that make a game boring, and leaving the juicy meat intact.

      The metaphor that comes to mind is basically imagine buying a nice suit, except it has 20 pounds of lead sewn all over it, so the tailor can claim you're getting a whole 25 pounds of material for your money. It brings no extra enjoyment whatsoever, it serves no function that I'd actually want, and frankly it even detracts from my enjoyment of wearing it. Would I pay the same money to get just the suit without the lead padding? Hell yea. I'd even pay extra.

      But now imagine that after hearing about how the customers don't want heavy suits, and lighter is the new way and all, you go to the same tailor, and now for the same money you get a shirt and jeans, and only 10 pounds of lead sewn to the pants. You got something lighter, but you didn't get the same for your money.

      Now the next round of interviews goes by and you're reassured by everyone that THIS time they'll cut only the unwanted parts out, and you'll get only 5 pounds of suit for your money, but it will be just the awesome part. Except what you actually get this time is a T-shirt and some shorts, and 4 pounds of lead sewn to it.

      That's been what's happening to games. Each time we hear them talk about how people don't want huge padded games, and how gamers would be ok with half the game, but only the awesome parts. And some of us would indeed. I would have paid the full again for some games, if I got a version with all the good stuff and without all the boring padding.

      But then the next game does come along with only half the hours, but the percentage composition is largely the same as before. Now instead of an 80 hour game, out of which maybe 20 are interesting stuff, you get a 20 hours total game. Yippee, it will be just the 20 hours of fun, right? Wrong. Now you have maybe 5 hours of fun stuff and 15 hours of padding.

      I'm seeing the same rhetoric happening again and again, and it looks more and more like a cheap excuse for gullible morons.

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:50AM (#37128912)

    'After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring.'

    That could be said for every other form of entertainment (including sequels, threequels, etc), work, relationships ... you name it.

    Of course the real reason for this is paid DLC, but hey, we're just doing it for our customers.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Indeed. This is about wringing more money out of the customer, not about bringing them better games.

      Also, not having finished a game doesn't mean it was too long. It might mean that you want to be able to pick up the game every now and then, and continue playing, always seeing new content. I'm happy when I know I have lots left to do in a game, precisely because I am a casual gamer who doesn't want to spend the little time I have buying extra content instead of just continue playing.
      That a game is bigger

  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:52AM (#37128936)
    For some reason, I feel like Bioware should have something to say about this. If most of the people who played Mass Effect didn't finish it, I will shit a brick. The type of game and how it's presented matters a great deal more than length. Failing to finish a Rockstar game is no surprise whatsoever; they're not necessarily bad, but an open-world game almost always has that one goddamn mission that makes you really want to quit it. I think San Andreas was the only one I've ever finished myself, and I don't have anything to do with my time but play videogames.
    • Since you mentioned RockStar, I don't think I ever finished a game of theirs. Repeat, repeat, repeat, same stuff. Shorter games? In the last year I've yet to finish Angry Birds. Started on iPod, got an iPhone, couldn't stand the graphics on iPad so I got the HD version.... each time start back to the very start.

      60 minutes, 60 hours, give me a good game and I'll play it up. Just don't charge the 60 hour game price for these 60 minute games if all you are doing is lopping off fluff content. Give me a 60

    • by RenHoek (101570) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:07AM (#37129170) Homepage

      Mass Effect 2 had a lot of player statistics being collected:

      Recent statistics gathered by Mass Effect 2 snooping revealed that the Engineer is the class least played, whereas the Soldier seems to be the overall favorite. Roughly 50-percent of the people who started Mass Effect 2 actually finished the game, whereas apparently two PC gamers completed Mass Effect 2 twenty-eight times. 15-percent of the in-game dialogue was skipped as well.

      http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Mass-Effect-2-Casey-hudson-Console,11248.html [tomshardware.com]

    • I don't know about the first game, but only about half of players who started Mass Effect 2 finished it. [ign.com]
    • Yeah, same goes for KOTOR. I played through that game many times, and that was a pretty long game if you did all the side missions.

      The reason why a lot of people never finish most newer games is because they are (mostly)all garbage. It's not about game length, it's about game quality.

      Less shit is still shit, we'll just be paying more money per unit of shit.

    • by edremy (36408)
      I didn't finish Mass Effect, despite having managed longer games (Morrowind, etc) in the past.

      Why? Well, I'm the middle aged guy with kids they mention. While I have spare time, it's often rather broken up. I might get two hours one evening, but then it will be a couple of days before I can get it again. ME is a tough game to play that way- you have a dozen quests running, various people to see, multiple characters with different motivations and abilities to partner with, and to play efficiently withou

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:52AM (#37129904)

      I've played every Bioware game I've bought (which is their entire catalogue more or less) to completion. Most of them more than once. However I have other games I have not. I get tired of them and set them aside. Defense Grid is an example. Good game, not sorry I spent the money on it, however I was done with it before I finished all it had to offer. Some other games I have completed, but generally don't. Civ 4 is an example. I have played a couple games to the end, but I usually don't. I build up an empire, squash some people, get tired of that game and start a new one. More or less once I'm to the "it is a foregone conclusion" part I decide I'm done.

      I fail to see how any of this is at all a surprise. First off, for me to want to finish a game it has to stay interesting. If I get bored I'll quit. Games are for fun, not for work. Then there's the simple fact that the more engaging and important the story, the more I want to finish. If I care about what is happening, I want to see the end. If I don't, maybe I decide I"m done sooner.

      Plus Sandbox games are the ones people are least likely to finish because many don't give a shit about the missions at all. They buy the game to goof around in. I'm put a good deal of time in to Just Cause 2, and done very little of the story. I don't care about it, not only is it a lame story, but I got the game just to mess around. I run around and blow stuff up, that is what I got the game for. I may never finish the story because that isn't the reason to have it.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:54AM (#37128980)

    It's the quality of the game.

    Sure, you can "play" RDR. It has a halfway decent story. But it gets lost because of all the damn grinding, and getting lost, and generally farting around in the wilderness shooting birds and wolves. Or you take a weekend off and even with the mission hint system, you can't remember where the fuck you were in the storyline. It's even worse for all the goddamn JRPG's in the world. Or you have Celda Syndrome, where you play for a good 15 hours, and then spend 60 hours on "Hey Link, go sail a boat around the world looking for the 8 pieces of trash so you can make a goddamn macguffin and get back to the fucking story already."

    Borderlands does a lot better about it. I can put that down for a month, come back, read the mission descriptions that actually carry some fucking backstory, and get back into my character easier.

    Now, do we like shorter games if done well? Of course. Super Mario Bros. can be beaten in a few hours. The Megaman games, originals, had no save points but could be finished in a few hours. The key there is that they can be played over and over and over again, even after you've beaten them, and they are still goddamn fun to play. Just like how arcade games that generally only played for a few minutes - Joust, Galaga, Gyruss and more - were so fun and addictive that they could be played over and over and over again.

    But the key is not making the game shorter. The key is not doing the things that make people bored with the fucking game. Avoid grinding. Avoid needless "now you need to run back and forth around the map 50 times for quest X" garbage. And that means a few changes to game design, like making your enemies scale somewhat so that they remain a challenge to a high "level" character while not being unbeatable for someone who hasn't spent 50 hours grinding in the side areas of the game (looking right at you, Final Fantasy series).

    • by bhcompy (1877290)

      The key is not doing the things that make people bored with the fucking game.

      Exactly. Make a good non-boring game and people will play it. I'd prefer good long games so I get my money's worth, but if they want to make them shorter and keep the price high I'll just use GameFly. Fuck 'em. That said, I still purchased games like Rez knowning that they're short, just because they're too good to pass up.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      I almost wish I hadn't posted on this article so I could mod you up. This is exactly right. Don't include boring things. Just include the fun, and let the game be the length it wants to be.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      Grinding? In Red Dead Redemption? If you had mentioned Final Fantasy I would be right there with you, but I played Red Dead Redemption through to not just the end of the story line, but even to 100% and there was no grinding. There was acquiring different outfits, but the means of obtaining them was different plot lines, or different challenges for every single one, rather than "Kill this monster 150 times so you can get to the next level and get 2 more hit points". If there was one issue I had with Red Dea
  • And the price? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:54AM (#37128988) Homepage

    Shorter games? Fine.. but also drop the price then.

    Personally I like my games to be long. It's not uncommon for me to play a 6-8 hour single scenario of Sins of a Solar Empire or Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.

    But if they are going to change it like they did with SupCom:FA to SupCom2 where they made it shorter but also just dumbed the game down, then I'm going to be mad. I've played through SupCom2 once, but I still play SupCom:FA.

  • I don't get it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by koan (80826)

    Why do people enjoy playing against a computer? I play COD, Quake Live, Battlefield, and several others, never touched the single person mode, can't stand playing a computer, it isn't interesting.
    But playing people, much more fun (and aggravation) than any computer opponent, they learn and adapt, conversation is possible and the greatest blast of all, a pub game where your human team actually works together.

    It should all be multiplayer IMO, but apparently some people like playing machines.

    • by Kensai7 (1005287)

      Some SP scenarios are pretty elaborate, a human player wouldn't or couldn't play you any time you want, etc. There are so many reasons what you say doesn't apply to every game.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:07AM (#37129174)

      Because:

      * a computer doesn't call you a "noob fag" over XBL if you're better than them.
      * you can play at your own pace without having to hang around waiting for other people
      * the story can be the driving force and you can concentrate on it, instead of trying to read quest or backstory while your 12 yo "co op partner" is tea bagging the quest giver's dog
      * no griefing

      A good bit of multiplayer can be great - LAN play on Quake 3 Arena was a blast, as is hosting a direct-IP Civ4 game for your buddies. You'll note that neither of these things involves an online multiplayer hub owned by the game company designed to get you to play with strangers.

      • I wish I hadn't posted already so I could mod you up. This is one of the reasons why I reluctantly play online games. I've been playing Killing Floor a lot lately in an openly hosted server online and there's about a 80% chance that anyone who joins that isn't a member of the core group of people I play with just drags the overall effectiveness of the group down sharply. We typically get "forgets god mode is off" guy, "gladly accepts the money I throw at and then immediately disconnects" guy, and my pers
      • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarKnyht (671407) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:42AM (#37129734)

        Not to mention:

        * the aggravation of getting your hands on a game a month late only to find everyone else has memorized the maps and hacked their save files to break the multiplayer aspect.

        * having to constantly purchase the latest "shooter" or EA Sports title just to find someone to play multiplayer with (because everyone left or EA decided to shut the server down).

        * game requires $40 more spent to get all the DLC map packs so you can participate in said multiplayer experience.

        * multiplayer experience was bolted onto a game that should only be a single-player experience in an attempt to make money.

        Multiplayer can be fun with friends, but generally XBL has not been a fun online experience for me. Either the matches are so loopsided it is painful (and results in people dropping out making the problem worse), I am stuck listening to some teen or college student trying to relive his pre-teen pre-puberty singing career, or people think they should be free to say things that result in an ER trip if said in person.

    • by Builder (103701)

      Because anyone with a few hours to kill can play against a computer and have some fun. When you have a family and a job, you can't put the hours in and you get the crap beaten out of you by human opponents. Then the abuse comes flooding in either from your own team for dragging them down or from the opponents for not being as good as the kid who plays one or two games for hours at a time and has mastered them.

      Sensible people don't like paying large amounts of money to be verbally abused.

    • by vawwyakr (1992390)
      This argument works for only certain limited game types. I find all the games you mentioned boring...run around shoot people yay....I like the games with a story to tell and a character to build. And no MMOs don't count in that regard at all. In order for multiplayer to work most games have to dumb down everything and simplify the game to its most basic level so it can be repeated over and over and over again in short order.
    • by Spad (470073)

      Story? Character development? Not being teabagged by a 12 year old while they hurl racial slurs at me?

      There are many reasons.

    • I actually like to learn *the game* before I do any multi-player, but usually by the time I'm done with single-player, I've figured out how bad the game really is in terms of mechanics and control. After that, it's just not worth the extra effort of putting up with other people.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tompaulco (629533) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:32AM (#37129544) Homepage Journal
      To each his own, I guess. I played some multiplayer back in my college days, but I find that it is no fun to play against people who have nothing better to do with their levels but level up so they can kill you as soon as you join the game. I wouldn't play multiplayer now if you paid me.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:40AM (#37129706)

      Why do people enjoy playing against a computer? I play COD, Quake Live, Battlefield, and several others, never touched the single person mode, can't stand playing a computer, it isn't interesting.
      But playing people, much more fun (and aggravation) than any computer opponent, they learn and adapt, conversation is possible and the greatest blast of all, a pub game where your human team actually works together.

      It should all be multiplayer IMO, but apparently some people like playing machines.

      Different people have different tastes, I guess. I never touch the multiplayer mode with any game.

      Mostly what I'm looking for in a game is the story. The parts where I need to go around and do stuff is either interesting if it's well integrated with the story, or parts that I'd rather skip to get to the next cutscene if it's not. Not all of us play for the challenge, some of us approach the medium as a more interactive form of a movie.

  • Wow, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:57AM (#37129038)

    I've already pretty much given up on console gaming in lieu of MMO's because I want more than 10 hours of content in a game, and now they're pushing to make games shorter??

    Jesus. Gaming sure is starting to suck...

  • by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot&jawtheshark,com> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:58AM (#37129050) Homepage Journal

    When I was a kid, I had time to master a game because I could play hours and hours, and hours. These days, I'm lucky if I get an hour of gaming a week and on bus/plane trips when I'm on vacation. So, take my last vacation: I advanced nicely on GTA Liberty Stories on my PSP (Yes, yeah, I know... ). I come home, go back to normal life. Would I pick it up again, I'd be stuck. Most of the story has been forgotten, the level of skill required is definitely not "in me" anymore and the only option I have is to restart the game.

    Which is what I do... Ever seeing the "end" of GTA. Never gonna happen.

    Sometimes, I just hit a hard wall within the game. I have Assassins Creed "Bloodlines" on the PSP. I played and now I'm simply stuck at a boss. I played for hours and hours, trying to beat that damned witch, but I can't. Back in my youth, I'd probably just have persevered, but now, I just put it aside. Haven't touched the game in a year, probably ever won't again as I'll have to start again and probably get stuck at the same "wall".

    This, to me, is the nature of gaming at a certain age. Yes, I'd rather finish the games too, but I don't think making them shorter is going to help. A dynamic adaptation to the skill level of the player would be much better for players like me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CronoCloud (590650)

      Hey there Insightful.

      I don't mind shorter games, I actually WANT shorter games, in the 15-25 hour range Ghostbusters was short, but it was a "good short" The PS2 GTA's were long...but a bad long. I only just today got the Platinum Trophy in Fallout 3.

      In many games I hit that brick wall. I've never finished GTA3 or Vice City because of that. I hit a brick wall in Champions of Norrath Return to Arms early on, with that goddamned missle shooting mech boss...and I LOVED the first game because it wasn't too

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:00AM (#37129074) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that most of them suck, in some way. Either the control system sucks, which will make even the most engaging game unplayable for me. Or the gameplay is boring and unengaging. Or in some cases I can't get into (Or outright despise) the characters. I could have played Beyond Good and Evil for another 60 hours and hold it forward as a shining example of awesomeness that didn't last long enough. Magna Carta sticks in my head as one that might have been an awesome game but which had a cumbersome control system that I just didn't want to deal with after a couple of hours. The games with crappy gameplay or characters (or both) are too numerous to list or even remember.

    I'm betting the "good" games have a substantially higher finish rate than the "bad" ones. So perhaps instead of making games shorter, you should make them not suck instead.

  • "After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring."

    Actually, I agree. I'd rather spend more money on less game-time if it meant a more awesome experience.

    Having said that, it's possible to offer both. My all-time favorite games (Oblivion, Fallout 3, FO New Vegas) each gave me 200+ quality hours. Even considering that that's multiple play-throughs, that's an insane amount of value. I think one of my Oblivion play-throughs was 150+ hours all by itself.

    Most games seem to try to stretch thin

    • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CronoCloud (590650) <cronocloudauron&gmail,com> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:41AM (#37129714)

      The great thing about Oblivion, FO3 and FONV are that the main quest line isn't too long....and all the other stuff is optional. so You can do what you like doing and play the game how you want to play it. They also have good quest logs, maps notes and whatnot, making them easy to get in and out of.

      My Oblivion save hit 200 hours before I ever visited Kvatch, and I STILL haven't completed the main quest.

  • On the mobile front I agree wholeheartedly but for my at home recreation I completely disagree. The last couple of Modern Warfare single player campaigns frustrated the heck out of me they were so short. For me the games are an interactive novel of sorts. They need a good story to go with them or they are just run around point and shoot over and over. I really enjoyed Resistance, Fall of Man not because it was a great game but because I enjoyed the story of the game. That made it that much more disappointin
  • Take Gears of War. All together, the three games are probably 24 hours of content. It's taken about 6 years to release all three.

    If they released them as 4 hour episodes for $30-$40, each with the full multiplayer experience, they could have probably done a release every year that most gamers would buy and play through without complaints.

  • In all but the most rigidly (mal)designed games, "length" has long been fairly fuzzy. Virtually every shooter, for instance, if it even bothers to have a single player campaign, won't be too terribly long(and if it is long, most of the 'length' might well consist of backtracking for keycards through recycled art assets slapped together by the we-just-don't-give-a-fuck intern); but it will have a multiplayer/bot mode of some sort or another that will keep people busy for as long as they want.

    RPGs are ofte
  • I got bored out of my mind in this game. Ride here, shoot 5 things. Ride there, capture a rustler. Rider there, harvest 5 herbs. Over. And Over. And Over. Again!

    On the other hand, last year I finished Arkham Asylum, all 3 of the Assassin's Creed games, Dragon Age Origins, and Fallout 3.

    Red Dead might have been fun for others and given them the game play that they wanted. Those same people may have been bored by the games I _did_ finish. Different strokes for different folks.

    • by bhcompy (1877290)
      RDR was boring as fuck. MGS4 was also very long, but not boring at all, but I'd be willing to bet it has a similar completion rate because it was difficult despite how awesome it was.
  • . . . without some help. There was always someplace hard enough (or tricky/gimmicky enough) that I couldn't get past it, and eventually I just plain gave up. Then I gave up on video gaming, period, and went back to RPGs and board games with people.
  • Please, stop making the game character die over and over and over and over in the same few f*****g spots in order to make your game feels as if it LAST LONG. Wake-up! We are not in the 80's where dying over and over was a requirement in order to suck in the next quarter. Also, how difficult is it to add a few program lines like so:

    if ( num_deaths > 10 ) { transient_difficulty_level = RETARDED_NOOB_LEVEL_LOL; }

    GODAMMIT!!&*&&@

    • See, I'd hate that, and I'm a "Wow, I'm really that old?" kind of guy with almost zero time left to play games. A big sense of enjoyment comes from overcoming challenges, and having the victory handed on a silver-plated platter of consolation offers no sense of accomplishment.

  • I see the point. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wiggles (30088) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:11AM (#37129222)
    The list of games that I was forced to give the tl;dr treatment to and have never been finished:

    Final Fantasy 7
    Final Fantasy 8
    Bioshock
    Deus Ex
    Metroid: Prime
    Metroid: Prime 2

    Took me 15 years to finish Final Fantasy 1
  • The reason people aren't finishing contemporary long games is that they suck. Seriously: if a game can't hold most people's interest long enough to finish it, there is something wrong with the game.

    Part of the problem here is that game developers are focusing overly much on story at the expense of the gameplay. A good story can grab people at the beginning and end, and at climactic points in the middle, but no story can keep that up throughout the whole game. Between those points of interest, the gameplay h

  • by grimmjeeper (2301232) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:16AM (#37129310)

    It's been my experience that I'm much more likely to finish a game that has a decent story behind it. I don't mind a little senseless grinding if there's a worthwhile payoff in the end. But so many games these days have only the pretense of a story. There's just enough to loosely tie action sequences together but nothing to really compel you to continue with the game. It's like watching a modern action film. Cardboard cutout characters moving around with big explosions and lots of flashy effects gets boring fast.

    I guess this is a "get off my lawn" rant but I think that flashy graphics have ruined games. Without fancy graphics, the game developers had no choice but to make the games interesting. The first time I saw a new console game system with 3D I was impressed by the graphics but the game the guy had was nothing more than just driving around the game world grinding away at some inane monotonous task that didn't seem to have any purpose.

    I don't know how many times I spent grinding through Diablo to the end. The graphics were decent for the time but it was the game play that brought me back over and over. I wouldn't have cared if it was done in ASCII art, it was a fun game to play. I haven't broken out a copy of Larn [wikipedia.org] in over a decade but it was one of those games I wasted hours upon hours playing over and over again because it was a fun game.

    A couple years ago I was playing one of the GTA games on an XBox. I spent quite a bit of time playing it but realized that I just didn't care about the endless monotony. The story wasn't interesting. And as it turned out, it didn't matter what I actually did on the side, the game forced the story in one direction. And that just made the grind feel pointless. And after spending quite a bit of time on it, I found out I was less than half way through the story. So I stopped playing.

    I don't mind grind in a game if the grind has a real purpose. Grind for the sake of grind just isn't interesting. So I guess I'm glad game designers are taking it out and making the games shorter. But it won't compel me to buy and play the new games. They're still not interesting. And even though the cost to me is trivial, they're still not worth it.

  • "90% of players who start a game will never see the end of it" - because 90% of game content is garbage. Fortunately it's not evenly distributed, so some games are 100% garbage, and some have much less.

    Personally I prefer games like the Elder Scrolls series. There's a main plot line that, if you stick to it, you can "complete" in a fairly short time. But if you like the experience, there's a lot of side-quests you can do to extend your playtime by huge amounts. Then there's player created content for free.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      New Vegas pissed me off. It uses a similar model, but the half the world map has been reserved for DLC. Then why the fuck is the game not cheaper?

      I am not buying any of the DLC, I will get the GOTY edition for $20.

      • Yeah GotY editions are good for that, if you weren't in a hurry to play it on release.

        As for why it wasn't cheaper, I don't know, but there are a lot of theories online to read about it. I suspect it's because of the whole "premium" versus "budget" stigma. If you price a game at $30 on release, most people will assume it's crap and won't buy it. I mean, we know what top-tier titles cost, right?

        But with the success of Steam's frequent sale pricing and the advent of DLC, I'm really hoping that gamers are more

  • ...and after perhaps 100 attempts, I *finally* passed the Burn and Lap challenge, after which it didn't take me that long to finish Driving School, which unlocks the street races and Export / Import missions. This is after I've completed the storyline for the first time 4 years ago, and completed it again once after that.

    Is six years too long to be stopped by one stupid challenge from unlocking a significant portion of the game?

    YES!

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Is six years too long to be stopped by one stupid challenge from unlocking a significant portion of the game?

      YES!

      'Unlocking' is just a lame way for game developers to pretend a game has more content than it does because it forces you to repeat things you hate in order to unlock something that you actually want to do. I'm not at all surprised that very few people can be bothered to go through all the nonsense required to 'unlock' most of these games.

  • Setting aside the issue of how many games are actually entertaining all the way through...

    If a game has high replayability (which essentially means well-implemented, well-thought-out randomization), a 10-hour game would be fine for $50.

    The problem is most video games play nearly the same every time through, in which case $50 for 10 hours of entertainment isn't as much of a bargain.

  • If I look at the titles I have for my Nintendo Wii, most of them are uncompleted. Even Kirby's Epic Yarn (which I finished) has challenges that I could complete... perhaps one day. The problem is, with everything else going on in my life (family, projects, freelance work, etc), I don't have hours upon hours to grind away at games. I prefer if I can pick up a game, play it during a free hour or two and then put it down.

    My son, for his 8th birthday, got Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 for the DS. He had so mu

  • I'm a mission to finish every game I've ever purchased (and still own). I find myself often finishing games years after I purchase them. I often pick up games on the cheap on Steam and don't start seriously playing them for months but I do poke around with them a bit when I first purchase them. I've found the main reasons I don't finish games are boring games that are just bleh, technical difficulties, or just getting stuck on a part taking a break and coming back not remembering what the hell I was doin
  • 1. Too much time between save points during difficult parts, this includes hour long boss battles. If I die, I don't want to replay the same long stretch again and again... 2. Forced time wasting. I don't mind big maps or mazes, just don't send me from one end to the other on foot. Give me a quick movement option. Don't put in stupid long cut scenes or fill the game with cut scenes every 5 minutes. I want to actually play the game. 3.jumping puzzles in games that shouldn't have them. I don't want to
    • by Xaoswolf (524554)
      There would have been more, but slashdot does not like it when I comment from my phone, which is actually point 4, your controls suck.
  • Video games (RPGs in particular) were doomed exactly when strategy guides became a decent source of revenue. Instead of challenging a gamer's problem-solving skills, this forced developers to artificially lengthen games, by either requiring the player to grind for experience points, or to grind in order to raise his/her skill level. Personally, I prefer to work on my skills in a game, but each is still technically grinding.

    And sure, you could say "I don't buy strategy guides", but the damage has already bee

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:34AM (#37129580) Journal

    Not everyone is a good novelist. Some people are outstanding when they limit themselves to writing only short stories, but they'd get completely bogged down attempting a "War and Peace".

    The video game industry, by and large, has a problem because they've set expectations of how long a game "should be". Game writers should quit worrying about hitting any targets of a specific length of time to complete a game, and just concentrate on making everything in it as FUN as possible. When you run out of creative ideas, maybe it's time to end the game there and focus on cleaning up the details of what you already wrote!

    Replay value is another factor to consider. If a game can be completed quickly, that doesn't necessarily mean it lacks value for its price. If it's designed the right way, some people who finish it will still enjoy it enough to go back through it again (just like some people will re-read a really good book). It helps if the game allows completion with different classes of characters, and is flexible enough to make things play out in very different ways when it is played through with different characters. That's a potential advantage a book author doesn't have, with books being static.

  • It depends. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:37AM (#37129624)
    If you're going to stretch out a game for the sake of stretching it out, and it shows (which in most cases, it does), then no, people are never, ever going to finish.
    However, if you make a genuinely good game that JUST SO HAPPENS to stretch out 100 hours? People WILL finish it.

    The problem is the quality of gameplay, in most games, decreases the further you get.
    Either because the story lacks any real interest "KILL THE BAD GUYS BECAUSE I SAID SO GO" or the gameplay doesn't ever change in the slightest past "Kill enemy A B and C to progress to the next area."

    No one wants to play an amazing game for 10 hours, then the last 90 are utter shit that the game devs more or less recycled from the first 10.
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @11:07AM (#37130114) Journal

    Something that is skirted around in the discussion of grinding is the increasing difficulty of gameplay. This is one that bugs me - the Big Boss At The End Who Is Almost Impossible To Kill. It's a gaming tradition at least as old as Ultima, and it usually sucks. Yeah, it makes sense that you've beaten the minions, now you face the evil itself. Still, the skill requirements tend to increase linearly through the game up until that point, and then jump sky-high, making it insanely frustrating.

    Some are done well: Shodan in System Shock was tough but beatable and the story drove you to that point. On the other hand, while I absolutely loved System Shock 2, I never finished it. I gave up after several nights of trying to get 30 seconds farther in the final Body of the Many fight. It ended up just being stupid. I don't care if winning the game causes Shodan to come out of my computer as a corporeal love slave - I can't be bothered trying to master that degree of twitch reflex, especially when it's completely out of line with the rest of the game.

    Psychonauts? Finished it, despite the damned nets (and this on a PC with default key mappings!). I HAD to get the last chapter of the story!

    So game developers, please: Don't say to me, "Oh you're 98% of the way through the game. Time to start throwing anvils!"

  • Tracking us, what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @11:20AM (#37130268) Homepage Journal

    "Only 10% of avid gamers completed last year's critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, according to Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions."

    I would like to know how they were tracking us and why we weren't told about this.

  • Disagree (Score:4, Informative)

    by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @11:23AM (#37130318)
    I have to disagree as well. My favorite game of all time, Oblivion, is partially that because it basically never ends. I had 300+ hours into a character that I lost when my PS3 died. I am now starting a new one (as is the rest of my family) after seeing the Skyrim promo. I am having just as much fun this time around.

    I also liked Fallout 3, but was disappointed when I finished the main quest and it ended at about 80-100 hours of game play. I have been thinking about starting it again and not finishing the main quest till everything else is done, but it doesn't have quite the draw Oblivion does. Anyway, the answer isn't necessarily shorter, it is less dull/dragging.
  • pathetic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uniquegeek (981813) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @12:21PM (#37131088)

    In fact, the attrition (or bounce rate) of video games is pretty pathetic.

    This line is pathetic in of itself. Some games aren't that exciting; not finishing it because of that is hardly a "pathetic" situation. Other reasons for not finishing games? Family, friends, work, school, other hobbies and commitments... What would be pathetic is feeling you have to finish the game despite all that.

    Games are entertainment or a distraction. It's not a necessity to finish it in order to gain some enjoyment or benefit from it.

    If the expectation is that almost every game made should make you want to finish it to the end, then... wow... what a dumb expectation. Even in an "ideal" game world. //yes I've finish Red Dead Redemption, among a couple others...

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