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The Almighty Buck Games

How Do You Measure a Game's Worth? 188

RamblingJosh writes "Video games can be very expensive these days, especially with so many great games on the horizon. So I wonder: how exactly do you get the most gaming entertainment for your dollar? '... the first thing I personally thought about when approaching this was money spent versus time played. Using Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions as an example: I bought the game for about $30 Canadian, and played it for roughly 85 hours. That comes out to 2.83 hours per dollar spent, a pretty good number. In this case, the game was a lot of fun and it was cheap, and so the system works fairly well. There are so many other things to think about, though. What if the game wasn't so good? What about the fact that it's portable? ... What about the new content? Multiplayer?'"
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How Do You Measure a Game's Worth?

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  • by TheThiefMaster ( 992038 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @07:31AM (#30868582)

    Time spent playing (per dollar) seems like a good measurement. If a game has other advantages beyond being good, such as being a mobile phone game you can play while sitting bored on a train, then that will cause you to play it more. Everything naturally factors in.

    Of course, values between different people aren't comparable due to different tastes and amounts of time available to play games, and it's virtually impossible to work out in advance how many hours you will play the game for, but it's a good way to quantify a game's value.

  • by yanguang ( 1471209 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @07:46AM (#30868640) Homepage

    I bought Torchlight at $4.99 for the Steam deal back then. Best. Value. Ever. I give it 50 units of Awesome. Dragon Age: Origins gets 75 Awesome, but costs obviously more. In terms of a purchase decision, I actually hesitated for DAO. Steam's got it right with their deal system, sapping mah wallet dry.

  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:08AM (#30868726)
    But that seems so different than the standards we apply to other media. I might pay $30 for a ticket to a concert for a set of songs I'll only hear ONCE... but I might think no cd is worth $15, even though the experience could be replicated hundreds of times. A 60 minute movie doesn't start off with a 100% advantage over a 120 minute movie, simply because of enjoyment per hour.

    Some types of games... some types of experiences... can really only be experienced once. The ephemeral quality of the experience certainly doesn't detract from it's value. Dollars per hour seems like a crass measurement. We don't judge books by dollars per page. Well, at least that's only a minor factor.
  • Re:Impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:18AM (#30868786)
    Not too long ago a read a terrible review of a game that was described as a "unimaginative knockoff of Fire Emblem". I rushed right out to buy it, and enjoyed it.

    I think review scores are nearly meaningless; aggregate review scores even more useless. But accurate descriptions of the game, including mechanics, and comparisons to similar games... that is really valuable.
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:38AM (#30868876) Journal
    This means that a generally amusing game that takes 30 hours to complete is better value than the best game ever that takes 29 hours to complete.

    It's like judging the quality of a book by the number of pages.
  • A big flaw (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xeno man ( 1614779 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:58AM (#30868980)
    I think the question it self is flawed. Your trying to assign a quantitative number to a game as if it represents some level of value that you can extract at a later date. A game isn't a used car. A car can be worth $100 or it can be worth $20,000. A game has only 2 choices. It's worth it, or it's not. The problem is that it is an individual test of worth so your standards of worth it or not worth it, or even any number system you can come up with, are going to be completely irrelevant to me. People can spend hours on end playing Bejeweled or any other time waster type game and it can be completely worth the time spend playing it because they enjoyed it the entire time. Personally I don't thing it's worth it because I don't enjoy those types of games for very long. So all ready there is inconsistency in the "worth" of a game and I'm just referring to free flash games. I haven't even brought in money yet.

    Once you start talking about money, in the end your only going to spend what you can afford. Everyone earns different amounts of money and has different responsibilities. A teen living at home may not have a problem dropping an entire pay cheque on rock band where an older adult with a mortgage and kids will be more particular about spending money. Of course the more money you have the less value money has. If your a millionaire you will be more willing to throw away money on crappy games than someone making minimum wage so again this value of worth is meaningless to anyone else but yourself.

    Personally a game is worth it if I really enjoyed playing it but the experience is enhanced by friends that play the same game. We can talk about the game afterwords and share experiences and even play multiplayer games together which is more enjoyable than random strangers online. If your looking to get value out of a game, buy games that your friends have that you can play together. If you want to stretch you money, buy single player games your friends don't have and you can trade and borrow games with each other so you can experience more.

    If your looking for advice on games to buy, look to your friends. If your trying to evaluate what you already have, your over thinking it.
  • DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:59AM (#30868984) Homepage

    DRM makes the game worth less. Online activation makes the game 50% less worthy, limited online activation makes the game another 50% less worthy.

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:09AM (#30869042) Journal
    Depends on the game. Some games don't lend themselves to replays.
  • by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:24AM (#30869114)

    Actually, Internet play for me in most games (apart from those I can choose to solo in, such as Guild Wars) is a null factor. I honestly don't care for it, and if the game is 'multiplayer internet only', then no.. Not for me..
    Yes, I'm sociable, but the amount of griefers, and people who consider that just because they're behind some anonymous screen makes them able to shout whatever kind of abuse they want, and play people around however they want (after all, it's just 'make a new character, use a new name') put me off this ages ago. Plus the cheating that usually ends up rampant.
    I enjoy a good story, so DLC, plus the ability to mod, and choose the mods you apply to suit your tastes and the story.. Definitely..
    For scriptable, you just can't beat tabletop RPG.. Not in the near or medium term (perhaps in the long future it'll catch up),`so for story and script, I'll stick with tabletop..
    Open ended.. DLC and mods help there.. DLC for extra chapters, as they usually have the same voice actors and a real feeling of continuity and extended story..
    Player ranking, I never really got on with. There are too many issues with that. One being the aforementioned cheating (find a cheat, shoot up the rankings). Either that, or it's all grind (spend your life behind the keyboard and you'll wend your way up this chart). Neither appeal to me (and actually, I find them detrimental to my experience).
    I don't think an enduring game has any reliance on internet play at all. An enduring game is one which the developers built properly in the first place, one with engaging gameplay, a good engine, probably a good story that has the 'episodic' content that can reuse the engine, and support modding, along with being damn good fun to play. Most of the games I still go back to are things like Diablo, Final Fantasy, Ratchet and Clank, Baldur's Gate, Descent, Starcraft and so on. All pretty much non-internet.. They were just good fun to play!
    One truly enduring one is NetHack (and Angband).. Been playing those for a little over 20 years now, which I think counts as an enduring game..

  • Replay Value (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ScotlynHatt ( 764928 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:33AM (#30869158) Homepage
    So there are some games that I continue to play years after they come out due to the mod community. Half Life 2 and Battlefield 2 are two that have to be into the pennies per hour by now; I don't even have an estimate. That said, if you look at the direction COD-MW2 decided to take, from a single player perspective, you see the cost per hour go way up. Multiplayer certainly improves the value but the plan is to control development of maps/mods and charge for them, so the long-term value does not improve for the gamer, only the company.
  • Re:Impossible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @02:47PM (#30871270)
    probably because he just made up that example to have something to post. it's a common thing that happens here.

    Not as common as being an asshole, evidently.

    The game was called "Eternal Poison". Published by Atlus for the Playstation 2. It wasn't as good as Fire Emblem, but it was still good, and worth playing.
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @04:36PM (#30872296) Homepage

    There is a web version of Bastet here [res0l.net].

    And of course, the obligatory college humor video [collegehumor.com].

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken