Average cost per hour of gaming


Which is a valid argument unless you only have 20 dollars that needs to last you 3 months. There are reasons people want a game to last. When you only have a 20 dollar budget for entertainment it kind of sucks not knowing what you’re getting. I think reviews are better for that than graphs about price per hour though.


But cost per hour spent is a meaningless metric. Do you only read long books? Watch only long movies? No, because that makes no sense. Why does a game’s value need to be tied to how long you spent playing it?


I’m guessing you’re not talking to me because I said reviews are a better indicator than what is being presented here… right up there.


I’m talking to anyone and everyone, but especially to anyone who thinks cost per hour of gaming will tell them anything useful.


Oh, I know I can’t speak for anyone other than myself here. I’ve reached the point where my time is more limited than my money. In fact, all else being equal, I’d actually prefer a short, 3-12 hour game over something 30+ hours long. The former I’ll likely finish and experience in full, but I’d probably get distracted and peter out on the latter. Persona 5 and Yakuza 0 were recent casualties in this regard.


There are lots of good reasons to play games, and wanting to kill time or get some respite from the real world is as good as any. I’m happy for anybody who’s was born into wealth and always had lots of important stuff to do, but most people who play games have at least had some period in their life where wanting to get the most time for your buck was entirely reasonable.


I still don’t get why some people try to tell other people what is and isn’t useful to them. While I’ve never directly used cost per hour to decide if a game is worthwhile, I probably wouldn’t buy a 2 hour game for $60 even if it was great. There are plenty of other games I can get for that price that I’d enjoy. Like @Nesrie said, if someone only has $20 to spend on a game and they can get one that they’d enjoy and play for 100 hours vs 5 hours, the 100 hour one is a better choice / value.


I am in the same position. I feel hugely fortunate that these days I am looking for a good experience, for a good price still, but I am not limited to a 20 dollar game lasting me a whole quarter and then being bitterly disappointed when it didn’t work or didn’t deliver… which was my experience in my twenties. But those were the days when i hunted through Software Etc. and Department store bins for leftover games that dropped in price to twenty dollars and a GPU might not play a triple A game 6 months after you bought it.

Today, in the PC world at least, you can find games that are two dollars, good ones. If someone paid 2 dollars for it now but someone else paid 60 dollars last year… that just doesn’t tell you much.

So I am not opposed to data, but I question what it’s really telling anyone. I suspect a quality review is likely to tell someone where to put their limited dollars better than an average cost per hour, but there isn’t anything inherently dangerous about this information.


I’m not interested in telling anyone what is or isn’t useful to them. If you think a longer game is “better” than a shorter game, or a cheaper game is “better” than a more expensive one, have at it. It’s your dime. What I do object to is somebody turning two completely unrelated variables into a metric and thinking it tells them anything whatsoever about whether that game is worth buying/playing.

Or as Douglas Adams put it, “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”


All else equal, a cheaper game is better than a more expensive game. That’s why we get excited by Steam sales, isn’t it? It’s the exact same games, but suddenly cheaper! And that means we are suddenly more likely to buy them.

And game length is also good to know, especially since variance is much higher than it has been. I just finished Kamiko, a cute little action game. The whole thing only took 90 minutes start to finish. Most people finished it faster than I did. Of course, I knew it was a short game when I bought it, and it only cost $3.

But if I hadn’t known the length, and if it had cost $60… well, I’d probably be kind of annoyed. At the very least, if a game costs $40 per expected hour of gameplay, then I’m going to spend a lot more time poring over the reviews.


“It is an accurate statistic that is calculated using two non-extrapolated data points: the total number of actual gameplay time by our community and the current sale price as shown on the store,” he said.


Well that’s kind of the catch, isn’t it? All else is never equal. And, again, I don’t argue that a game’s length isn’t good to know. I’m just saying it has absolutely nothing to do with whether a game is good or not, or whether you’ll enjoy it or not. Games aren’t steak, they aren’t priced by quality, or by size. Any assignment of “value” is going to be arbitrary and subjective. I wouldn’t want to play Madden for a hundred hours, even if I could get it for $2. But what does knowing that tell you?


It may not tell you if a game is “good”, but it helps you to decide what you are willing to spend on it.

For instance, I enjoyed my time with Kamiko almost as much as my time with Skyrim. So potentially, I would rate both nearly the same. But I wouldn’t pay as much for Kamiko as I would for Skyrim, because I deleted Kamiko on the same day I started it.

And GMG offers other stats that are potential indicators of quality, like percent completion. So if Madden advertises 100 hours to complete, but only 1% of users complete it, then that’s good evidence that I, too, wouldn’t want to play it for 100 hours.


Does not compute.


If you’re buying a game because you want to spend a lot of time playing it, then yes, a game’s length and replayability has a hell of lot to do with whether it’s “good” for your purpose.


This is another good point. A lot of games promise infinite replayability due to procedural generation. But of course we know it’s not really infinite, and eventually we will get tired of it. For some games, this happens sooner than others. So I think it’s helpful to know how soon other players started burning out on the game, and of course this should be a factor when deciding to buy it.


It’s not that complex. Value is an internalized computation. I used Madden as an example, I wouldn’t care if I got hundreds of hours out of the latest version and someone were willing to sell to me at one dollar, I wouldn’t buy and wouldn’t play. That game has zero value to me. But it’s a massive seller for EA, so clearly there are a lot of people out there who would, and do. They assign much greater value to the game than I do, and given how long the lines can get for these kind of games on release day, I’m betting they aren’t blinking at coughing up $60 for the privilege.


Then you already know this not true for some people, so why say it?


Really? Do your tastes usually line up with the other 99% of the population, so that if they don’t find a game worth completing you figure you probably won’t either?


The piece you quoted me was in reference to a game’s length. I just said, several times, that a game’s length can be useful info in making a decision. As can a game’s length. I’ll repeat again: a derived value with a game’s average length of play by some percentage of players on the x axis vs dollars spent on the y axis tells you nothing worth knowing.