Up For Debate - How Long Should a Game Be?

Written by Sam Welch on Thu, Dec 25, 2014 10:00 AM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

This is perhaps a topic with a lot of perspectives but almost no hidden nuances - can you ever have too much game? What's too little?

Not that many games are hailed as ‘just right’ in any criteria and duration is surely in the minority of that minority - but it does happen sometimes. Thatgamecompany's blisteringly beautiful mute adventure Journey lasted just a couple of hours but still managed to be epic. But then again that's about the length of a movie; is there something to be said for being able to finish a game comfortably in one sitting?

Books, movies and LPs come in whatever length they come in and we don't get upset with them as often as games, even if a few people did get deep-vein thrombosis watching the Lord of The Rings. We’re just about willing to let art be itself. We do of course pay quite a bit more for the average game than the average book or film and naturally want to get our money's worth, but we also recognise how much work goes into each game and by how many people, all of whom need a paycheck. 

But who are we to talk? Recent surveys show that on average nine tenths of us don’t finish our games anyway, so how do we know if we’re satisfied with their length? Other major digital retailers combined sold 45,000 copies of The Witcher 2, while Steam sold 200,000 copies, making it a good sample. Of those 200,000 Witcher 2 players, 14.5% have unlocked the achievement that requires a player to “Finish the game at any difficulty”. Steam’s statistics also show that only 30% of people have finished the last story mission on Skyrim, and even last year’s acclaimed (and relatively short) Tomb Raider has only been finished by 45% of the people who've bought it.

So - does quantity have anything to do with quality in games? Is it right for us to track the lengths of games and have expectations? How do you decide what length is right? The list goes on and on. What games stood out for you because of their duration and why was it the right length or the wrong length?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
94
Offline
15:58 Dec-27-2014

1) A game should be as long as the designer wants it to be to accomplish his goals for the gamers. No matter how long or short that is.
Of course, length of time should be combined with the final result/quality of the experience to balance the cost of a game too. Maybe a 2-hour long game is worth 40$ and a 150-hour one is not worth even 10$.

3
Rep
94
Offline
15:59 Dec-27-2014

2) People don't finish their games, not even the ones they really like, USUALLY (NOT ALWAYS) because they are spoilled... SIMPLE as that. If their money had more value to them, and if they wanted to try a bit more if they can take something extra from a game, they would actually play them till the end, or a bit more than half-way at least...

2
Rep
2
Offline
05:52 Dec-27-2014

I think that a game should last enough before being boring.

2
Rep
1
Offline
22:33 Dec-26-2014

Quality over quantity. Shovel Knight, Binding or Issac, Stick of Truth and Super Meat Boy. Short games with awesome game play.

2
Rep
6
Offline
19:21 Dec-26-2014

no matter is someone's point of view a good game is a good game whether it was short or long and that what matters, i don't want to play a bad game for too long and neither i want to play a good game for a short time, as long as am enjoying the game the longer the better

0
Rep
194
Offline
admin approved badge
16:50 Dec-26-2014

A combined score of quality/graphics and a long gameplay experience for me to have the most valuable product.No compromise should be allowed.And then if my requirements are met would give for such a game any prize they throw at me :) p.s last but not least OPTIMIZATION.

0
Rep
4
Offline
16:19 Dec-26-2014

I'd rather have a game be too long than too short, but I also don't necessarily like collecto-thons. I'll probably hit 60 hrs 100%ing Far Cry 4, but 10 hrs will be just looking for loot, which isn't that fun.


I'd rather it be 60 hours of legit missions and content than just loot collection.

1
Rep
19
Offline
15:45 Dec-26-2014

In my opinion, something by the lines of Skyrim or AC:4 where the main quest is marvelous to play but you keep getting dragged by other things. At the end of both games I had around 24 hours on it. But Dishonored managed to give me 24 hours too on Low Chaos with a level based game and not an open world. 1 day of quests

1
Rep
54
Offline
09:48 Dec-26-2014

I, for one, have only left 1 game, mid way, and that is Dead Space 1. I just found it, really boring. Apart from that, i always finish current game, before choosing a new one. In fact, at any given time, i only play a single game.
Also, its my principle that, i only post my FPS and settings, once complete the game. Recently, i completed Shadow of Mordor, and currently, i am playing FC4.

0
Rep
8
Offline
01:11 Dec-26-2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition has great quantity..Hmmm Medal of Honor 2010 was for me one of the games with the best story and i wish it has much longer story.

1
Rep
0
Offline
00:23 Dec-26-2014

Long enough to enjoy.....but short enough so's not to be boring.

0
Rep
58
Offline
23:08 Dec-25-2014

a few inches at least -what she said

0
Rep
20
Offline
21:42 Dec-25-2014

Skyrim Legendary Edition - 29,99€ , 25h - endless

0
Rep
10
Offline
18:25 Dec-25-2014

As far as I'm concerned length doesn't matter. What matters is quality.

2
Rep
31
Offline
admin approved badge
18:17 Dec-25-2014

At least 20 seconds.

0
Rep
10
Offline
16:31 Dec-25-2014

I remember playing for months at Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2, finishing them, feeling really good.


Also playing Singularity, a short game, but was great too.


Take note that one is a fps, other is a rpg, both good games.

0
Rep
13
Offline
15:23 Dec-25-2014

200 hours on skyrim and still haven't finished it lol.

0
Rep
1,991
Offline
admin approved badge
16:01 Dec-25-2014

I think we're talking about campaign length here. After you finish the main quest line and all the hidden quests + faction storylines (all of this could take up to 50 hours, maybe more), you're left with just generic side quests that tell you to go to location X, kill enemy Y, turn in, repeat.
Not saying it's not super fun, just that I don't think it counts :P

0
Rep
219
Offline
admin approved badge
14:11 Dec-25-2014

If developers demanding such price then they should listen to players too, i agree that if someone paying 60$ for 20-25 hours game, it literally don't worth at all.
Developers should think on it.

0
Rep
307
Offline
admin approved badge
14:33 Dec-25-2014

hmm, but what about programmer, 3d modeler, sound designer? not worth?

0
Rep
307
Offline
admin approved badge
13:38 Dec-25-2014

mafia 2 have less mission...but awesome... so, it depend on the game. :)

0
Rep
3
Offline
12:51 Dec-25-2014

Somehow i Do prefer very Long Games like those Nippon Ishi "Disgaea" Games, because it's always Fun to get much out of those Games!
Maybe it's more on the Replayability side because the Story is not the "Time consuming" part of those Games it's the Post Game that Takes long to "Conquer".
This does not mean i dislike Games that are "Short but Great" but it's like i don't want to complete
those!.

0
Rep
15
Offline
12:35 Dec-25-2014

30 hrs minimum, exclude the character developing like exp skills and stuffs.. i very much loved witcher 2, but i'm surprised of how short it is, and was expecting to see more towns

0

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super Gigabyte Aorus 8GB 32GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super Gigabyte Aorus 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-480M 2.66GHz HD i5 M480 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
APU A6-5400K Dual-Core Radeon HD 7450 4GB
| Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 3 3300X 4-Core 3.8GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Radeon R7 250X Sapphire 1GB Edition 4GB
0% No [2 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10870H 8-Core 2.20GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
APU A10-9700E 4-Core 3.0GHz Radeon R5 M320 2GB 12GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Asus TUF Gaming 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-6500 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1060 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Asus Phoenix OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Gigabyte Windforce 2X OC 3GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-12700K 16-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X Radeon RX 550X 4GB 24GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-10600KF 6-Core 4.10GHz Radeon RX 580 Asus Dual 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400F 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Radeon HD 7970 OC Sapphire Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-8086K 6-Core 4.0GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB