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Calculating the Value of Games

By
Posted on March 24, 2014 AT 08:13am

Value is one of the most subjective concepts in the world and thus can be difficult to nail down. Something that might be of great value to one person can just as easily be a terrible deal for someone else. Spurned by the release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, this is a topic that has been discussed frequently in the last week. There is a system which I use to judge how much value something has in relation to the amount of time is spent enjoying it. I’d like to share that with you today, but know that you may not agree with it, and that’s perfectly okay, it’s just something that has worked for me in the past.

This method uses a trip to the movies as our control variable to determine a fair amount of time for money. Movie prices differ all across the country, but I’d say a very fair number to put on a movie ticket that someone will happily pay is about $10. Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s get an amount of time you’ll be entertained by said movie. Feature length is technically 90 minutes, but let’s round up to 2 hours since plenty of movies are longer.

Okay, from the facts stated thus far, we’ve determined that, as far as movies go, people will happily pay $10 for around 2 hours of entertainment. Since money and time do not change between these mediums, let’s start applying these principles to games. With that in mind, for a game with a typical sticker price of $60, you should be getting at least 12 hours of entertainment out of it to get the full value from it. If you look at a lot of single-player games, this number actually tends to follow through pretty well. There are plenty of games with campaigns that last 12 hours or more.

These assumptions end up meaning that games with longer campaigns or multiplayer attached to them can be amazing values for your money. There are some RPGs that have lasted me past the 60 hour mark, which is pretty outstanding. What you have to remember as well is that time additionally can have value. You might not have the 60 hours to play through that RPG, so a nice 12 hour game might actually be a better value for your combined time and money. This is where the subjective nature of value really comes into play.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes in these terms. Personally, it took me about 90 minutes to get through the main mission in the game. That works out to about $7.50 in value of I’m going to stop there. As it stands, I plan on continuing, so I could still get my value out of it, but it is certainly skirting the line even then. Thankfully, I used points on my credit card to get it, but it’s still a dangerous precedent to set.

What do you think about the value of games? Is my analogy a fair method to use for calculating it, or is there a better way you can think of? Let me know in the comments!





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