Lunchtime Discussion: Value

How do you judge value?

Value for money comes up more and more in recent years. I don’t know what’s changed. Maybe games are a little more expensive than they used to be, but I don’t honestly think they’ve gone up enough to justify what seems to be an uproar about prices. Maybe it’s the after-market costs that have undoubtedly grown this generation, or maybe it’s just the internet amplifying disdain that was always there.

Does a longer game equate better value for money? Well no, not really. People make this argument over and over but it’s frankly ridiculous. Look at Desert Bus, that game is essentially infinite in length with each run between Tuscon and Las Vegas taking 8 hours to complete. I don’t think anyone would argue that due to its length its actually worth more than other titles. Perhaps there should be some link between length and value, but it’s shouldn’t be an exact link.

What does length actually mean anyway? Do you mean just the length of the core campaign? What about the hours that you can wring out of a game’s multiplayer or co-op play? How about replay value, or games with collectibles? Length really does seem like a very poor way to judge almost any form of entertainment. It only really makes sense when you’re looking at buying something like cloth or wood, and even then you want to consider a significantly more important variable – quality.

Surely we should judge a game’s value for money on how much we actually enjoy the experience, it’s far easier to judge than the length for a start. It does have the downside that it’s harder to judge before you play the game; although a review can give you some idea of what to expect you really have to play it for yourself to see how much you enjoy it.

So that’s my take on it – judge a game’s value on how much you enjoyed it, not how much play you got out of it. What’s yours?

19 Comments

  1. Like almost any purchase, value is judged by several factors. Length is one; A fantastic game that can be completed in 2 hours with nothing else to do would not be worth the typical £35-40 retail price just as a really long, crap game wouldn’t.
    There are factors like re-playability, multiplayer, collectibles/trophies and overall feeling of enjoyment which come into it too.
    .
    For me, three shining examples of value are:
    – Just Cause 2. Massive area to explore and twat about in. Huge longevity without it becoming boring.
    – Portal. Quite short but beautifully crafted and fun with the length being exactly right to keep it properly focussed and paced. Also, it was relatively cheap
    – Deathspank. Probably my favourite PSN purchase. Hilarious, well presented, quite deep and with a good bit of longevity and all for a bargain £10

    • Couldn’t agree more mate. I only got just cause 2 on sunday and have hammered it since, what an amazing accomplishment. Why do people go on about the game world in Gta? Just cause 2 is so much bigger and more filled with stuff to do. Compare it to any Gta and it wins hands down. I don’t get why the Gta’s always score so highly, yet this generally got at least 10% less in ever review i’ve seen. It’s an outstanding achievement for the devs and i will definitely be getting value out of it. In terms of general value for games, i’d say if it’s less than 10-12 hours to complete, and there is not a lot to do after completion, irrespective of the quality of the game, that’s poor value for money. Uncharted 2 balanced it perfectly, about the right length, very high quality, and replay value in terms of the collectibles and multiplayer. Mw 2 also got it right, yes a very short sp game, but huge value from the spec ops and mp. Assassins creed 2 also very high quality and good length. So, to summarise, a game needs to have high quality graphics, sound and gameplay, combined with an engrossing story and at least 10-12 hours gameplay,

  2. I feel that games often don’t have great value for money. If I pay a lot for a game then I want a decent length from it. I don’t buy games at full price anymore. I recently bought infamous for £11. I’m sure I will enjoy it as much as if I bought it full price when it was released. Why rush out and buy q game for full price when it will be much cheaper a month or two later?

    • Tell that to the people who’ve waited god only knows how many years for Gran turismo 5 lol.
      If you’ve been waiting for a game to be released for ages, then to not get it when it’s available in the shops is easier said than done.

  3. Personally if I enjoy a game and don’t feel I’ve been ripped off then it’s good value. For example WipEout HD was around the £10-£15 mark and I’ve played it for over a hundred hours and played it completely to death, yet there’s still more to do. Same goes for SSHD. I’ve played it for a considerable amount of time, and still find myself going back to it from time to time. On the other hand, there are games I’ve bought for around the same price (Tomb Raider Underworld for example) that although I haven’t splashed out on and spent £40-£50, and got I’ve had a ‘good deal’ on, I don’t see that I’ve had good value for money on because I’ve just never gotten into and haven’t really played it.

    • I got Super Stardust HD for about £2.49. Best PSN game I’ve bought by far. Super fun, accessible & replayable.

  4. Length, replayablilty, enjoyment and offline multiplayer are the main factors I use to work out if a game is good value for money.

    I also won’t buy any game that costs more than £30 unless I feel it’s a must have and even then I won’t even go beyond £33.

    As I use lovefilm for most of my games now I try to get through 4 a month (assuming my PS3 is actually working) which makes the £18 I pay worth while.

  5. I don’t think games becoming more expensive is the reason for questioning value but rather the quality of the top games. The real AAA titles of the last 10 years have shown how much quality gaming we can get for £40 (or less) so we perceive, even average games, to be poor value by comparison

    • I think its hard to pick between a lot of games now. There aren’t many really stand out titles each year which means all the games feel average. Bishock 2 struggled sales wise in comparrison to the first one, it’s nto a bad game but it no longer stood out as a great game so I think people were a little less fussed about it.

    • but games haven’t really become more expensive, I remember shelling out £40 for a lot of N64 cartridges, and im sure a lot of them were priced at £50 new, not just as RRP as they are today, but actually sat on the shelves in electronics boutique priced at £50!

  6. MGS Peacewalker has to be the best £25 I’ve spent in a long time. Hours of singleplayer, loads of side missions, reason to replay missions and coop/online play (with adhoc party). Red Dead is up there as well for me. 40+ hours into it and only just over half way though the single player missions, just keep getting distracted and enjoying the game world theyve put together.

  7. i hate when i finish a game quickly because i’m enjoying it and then there’s nothing left to do and it just becomes a useless overpriced disc :P

  8. To me I don’t think games have gone up in price at all. They have always been around £40 which is great.
    I perceive value from the time I have with a game, such as COD & FIFA. Will always get those at launch. Other games (mostly single player) I will wait till £9.99 – £14.99 price range.

  9. It’s more per hour and also experience with each hour. Short games which are still incredible (because of the experience itself) are titles like: Ico, Modern Warfare single player campaign, Limbo.

    On the flip-side mammoth games like Oblivion or DAO are wonderful value for money and enjoyable as a whole. They’re such vast games that you’re not really looking at the clock. Once it gets to a certain length game you’re just more worried about it being fun all the way through.

    Once in a while you get stunning titles, like Uncharted 2, which shows that games running into double figures of playtime can still be off the chart.

  10. Since the days of the Megadrive gaming has held the £35-£45 pricepoint, so if anything gaming is massively cheaper than it used to be.

    However, I personally don’t get the value from gaming that I used to, so £40 seems quite a bit to splash out on all but the very, very best games.

    The games that I’ve played the longest are FIFA (each release has provided me with a year of entertainment since ’94). GTA III & GTA vice City were also played constantly until their sequels were out. However I was bored of SA within a few hours (and every identikit R* release since then)

    I’ve clocked up 500hrs on Warhawk, and I didn’t even buy it until it was a year old, so that has provided me with a great deal of entertainment.

    I believe all these have been great value purchases for me, mainly due to their re-playability.

    However, I can also attach value in different ways like through the experience the game gives you. Uncharted 2 provided about 10-15hrs playthrough (I can’t remember exactly) and when I went on a 2nd run through for the collectibles I got bored about 4 chapters in and gave up. I’ve never really connected with the multi-player. But despite Uncharted2’s lack of longevity for me I feel I’ve had great value out of, simply because the experience was so good.

    • Agreed, back in the day I remember paying £40 for Robocop on the NES with a few weeks worth of paper round earnings. I never paid that much for Vice City, San Andreas or Uncharted 2!

    • I should really learn to read a bit further through the comments before posting a reply! As i said above, I remember many N64 carts costing £50

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