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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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  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @08:52AM (#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.
  • I don't get it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by koan (80826) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @08:57AM (#37129036)

    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.

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

    by wiggles (30088) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:11AM (#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
  • Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Twanfox (185252) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:27AM (#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.

  • It depends. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:37AM (#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 CronoCloud (590650) <cronocloudauron@gmail . c om> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:37AM (#37129630)

    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 long, and I could replay it, Diablo style. I also never hit CLvl 50 in the PSone port of Diablo...the XP costs are INSANE and logarithmic!

    Or if I take a break, I come back and there's too much detail in the game to keep track of and I flounder, Final Fantaxy XII I'm lookin at you...next time get a quest log, same goes for the original Kingdom Hearts.

    The only people who complain about shorter games are "professional" gamers like game website staff and game magazine staff, and young people with tons of free time. I'm an adult, I don't have time for making my own maps on graph paper, or taking my own notes, I want quest logs and quest trackers, and all the things those people who game to exclusion of other things that complain about "short dumbed down games" hate

  • Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:43AM (#37129770) Journal

    hours of enjoyment and actual cost of the video game are not equal, and that has been a problem. By that logic, a game with 4x as many "man-hours of enjoyment" should be $120. Or a game with "half the enjoyment" (a made up figure that makes no sense) should be worth half as much.Yet that would be obviously ridiculous. Plenty of people try to charge as much as possible for as little as possible.
    Do you realize what kind of fuzzy logic (nice username for that) you are suggesting?

    What about those "you can only play once through"? [thesixthaxis.com] When you focus on merely number of hours, you're focusing on allowing yourself to be pigeonholed into an argument that doesn't focus on the reality of that the higher you price a video game the more likely people are not going to be willing to buy it. $40 games lead to 45 lead to etc etc. Now we're up to 60. What if those get to 70? Are you going to just say "well, that's inflation. Oh, and it's a good game!" Only if you are completely oblivious to essentially paying a grand in a single year just for a decent gaming collection.

    Or you can buy a PC, download all the games you want via torrent, and spend $0 plus be able to play the game the way it should be able to, assuming that the developers deliberately restricted some kind of feature that should have been available.

    Greed is the problem. $60 for a game isn't a value, it's an explotation of a consumer.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:52AM (#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 swordgeek (112599) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @10:07AM (#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!"

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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