Up For Debate - What is the minimum length a game needs to be for you buy it?

Written by Neil Soutter on Mon, Dec 9, 2019 11:17 AM

Length. Always a thorny issue. It’s not the length it’s what you can do with it, yadda yadda. With video games though, we’re obsessed with. Do we sit around desperately asking how many pages a new book is? Would we honestly be pleased if we had to sit through a five-hour Marvel movie? Are all great albums over two hours long? The answer to all of these questions is probably, and I suspect quite emphatically, no. 

Yet the relationship between length and value in videogames has become so intertwined that it’s almost impossible to separate the two. Part of it is probably because some games, by their very design, offer insane ‘value’ in terms of money paid and time spent. It makes every other game look terrible value when I can buy Rocket League for £12 and play it for 1500 hours. That doesn’t mean they are terrible value, far from it, it’s just outliers can very quickly warp our perspective.

The bottom line is that games aren’t cheap to make and they need to be priced accordingly. On the development and publishing end, the length of the game is almost inconsequential to the price they charge. Games aren’t usually more expensive for us because they’re longer, nor are they typically cheaper because they’re shorter. They’re priced according to how much they cost to make and market rather than any particular value to us, so we’ve got two competing ideals rubbing up against one another. 

This friction between cost and value is why we often see so many people arguing over the value of a game, or perhaps just inquiring how long the game is before they hand over their cash. Most of us have limited funds and want to be sure we’re getting the most out of money. That said, time spent isn’t necessarily time well spent. Spending little on a long, terrible game is a waste of time rather than money. Say hello, Mad Max. It’s the opposite extreme to spending £60 on a two-hour experience.

Taking all of that into account then, do you tend to have a minimum length a game needs to be before you’ll even consider spending full price on it? Do you wait for deep discounts on short games or are you happy to pay up for a short, quality experience? 

Be sure to cast your votes in the poll and then let us know why below!

Do you pay full price for short games?

What is the minimum length a game needs to be for you buy it?

Our favourite comments:

We have limited cash.. but we also have limited time.. so length is typically a non issue for me. The only time I consider it is for expansions/dlc, especially when they are selling for as much as (or more than) the base game even with discounts.

penoys

I have no minimum length standard, the only thing the game has to have is to be fun and replayable.

NeoPGX

minimum length: rest of my empty life pls

ed3gamer

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01:48 Dec-13-2019

minimum length: rest of my empty life pls

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10:55 Dec-11-2019

We have limited cash.. but we also have limited time.. so length is typically a non issue for me.
The only time I consider it is for expansions/dlc, especially when they are selling for as much as (or more than) the base game even with discounts.

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18:47 Dec-10-2019

I'd say something like the campaign of GTA 5 or The Witcher 3. Even Tomb Raider 2013 was good, but I would never spend more than 30 euro's for a game though.

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14:28 Dec-10-2019

I have no minimum length standard, the only thing the game has to have is to be fun and replayable.

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16:56 Dec-10-2019

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23:36 Dec-10-2019

what he said 100%

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10:35 Dec-10-2019

I believe that's a wrong metric to judge a video game by. Single Player Titles sure its justified but for some games its totally the mechanics and features does it have co-op ? easy to run on my friends potato PC so we can co op together?

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10:37 Dec-10-2019

can i play it for hours and lose hours and hours in it great!!! NFS HOT PURSUIT 2010 has consumed more then 1800 hours alone due to being the most fun and simple racer of all time. Rivals 927 hours due to co-op. F1 2013-15-17 2000 hours in

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10:42 Dec-10-2019

solo play as ive made my own custom seasons there (not career) Battlefield 2142 was a whole-lotta years of fun. Deep Rock Galactic runs on my friends PC. I expect to spend many hours in Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assetto Corsa+ACCompetizione

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10:43 Dec-10-2019

games shouldn't be judged according to the amount of hours of content they have in it but the amount of fun you can make for yourself from it.

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10:27 Dec-10-2019

Depends on the game. If the game is good I could play it for hours. If not: I will lunch the game play a couple of hours and never look back for weeks.
If a multiplayer: I prefer a game where I could spend thousands of hours in it and to be interesting and challenging.
The only think that caught my eye is dota 2 and im playing it for years.

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10:29 Dec-10-2019

also as for now I prefer games that have less walking around in circles to get to your destination (cough) open world games (cough) and more action to have in it.. Also for nowadays games im not playing them that much. I don't know.. is it growing up having affect of this? As a kid I was playing games and was having fun.. but now I still have fun, but im not spending HOURS in it.

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10:19 Dec-10-2019

If the game is too good to play. I could go for days doing stupid stuff and what not.

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08:53 Dec-10-2019

Length doesn't matter as long as you know how to use it.

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08:45 Dec-10-2019

Has to be minimum 20+ of actual, amazing, fun,worthy, playing - hours before i shell out a full AAA price (which is still an overprice for even 30+ hours games).
God bless discounts & ***cks ;)

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05:54 Dec-10-2019

For me its 35+ hrs eg The Witcher series / Mass Effect triology replayable value, long, good story. AC Odssy long repeatative bad, Halo Collection good story 100+ days 1 achievement trash; more DLC's to come. Mutant yr Zero good.

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01:53 Dec-10-2019

I'd like to be able to get 20-30 hours out of a game minimum. Whether thats through pure content alone or the game being designed to be very replayable.

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21:24 Dec-09-2019

Length really depends on what kind of game it is. I rather have short, but amazing story experience that is worth replaying many times, than having huge game which consists of oversized world, repeated objectives,... Also replayability is factor here too. 8h game is not much, but on the other hand if you can reply it for many different outcomes, it can multiply that time.

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21:31 Dec-09-2019

I think we got bit preoccupied by wanting bigger and bigger games, to the point where we forgot to ask ourselves whether big size is even worth it. Content in big and long games is only worth it if it is interesting, because I feel that in quite some of longer games developers just added stuff in for sake of length and that in my opinion is not good direction.

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21:33 Dec-09-2019

So I personally don't have minimum length, I rather have fun game that has 5h of content, but it is some of best and most fun content I saw, than game that has 100+ hours of content that is repetitive, grindy, doesn't contribute to story,... Like I would take Outer Worlds over many bigger Ubisoft games any day. People were complaining about it being short and sure I would want more,..

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21:34 Dec-09-2019

... but it was a lot of fun. Fun I did not have with may AAA titles. And I would happily take that fun.

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21:57 Dec-09-2019

I think you're in good company here.


A lot of ppl share your opinion.
Read all the comments so I can say that with a strait face.


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20:48 Dec-09-2019

The Minimum length I want from a full 60$ game is around 8 hours. My favorite/ideal length is 20 hours, but i'm perfeclty fine with up to 50 hours. Quality matters a lot too. I'd buy a 9-10/10 game that is 8 hours long or even slightly less than a 6-8/10 game that is 50 hours long.

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18:20 Dec-09-2019

I have no requirement of lenght for a game, I much rather have a great buy short game (like firewatch) than a long but repetitive one (The way AC is going if the next one is anything like Odyssey)

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18:01 Dec-09-2019

usually 20 hours or longer except in special circumstances. I HAVE played shorter games that were fantastic for $60, either from a narrative standpoint or replayability.


I don't do full price for anything below 10 hours though.

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16:49 Dec-09-2019

With all the work, social, and study life going on right now, i need a game that i can beat around 10-15 hours tops. No longer i can play game that took >50 hours to play. Which is why i'm switching to multiplayer right now.

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16:33 Dec-09-2019

I think around 20 hours is the right balance for me now since I don't have that much time to play as I did before when I wasn't as busy.

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16:10 Dec-09-2019

I like my games like I like a fantasy novel, incessantly long and with a metric ton of text.

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16:01 Dec-09-2019

It's easy for me, I will gladly pay the full price for 20+ hours of gameplay. For 5 hours campaign in COD I don't want spend more than 10-15 Euros.


Best euro/hour ratio is 1:1 and more.


The best launch buy I made was few days ago, I bought Darksiders Genesis for 20 Euros at launch and it looks like 20+ hours of gameplay. It's really great game by the way.

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15:43 Dec-09-2019

For me it's all about replayability and if the games narrative is worth sticking around. Dead Cells for that example is worth it's full price because of it - you get replay value worth 200+ hours and you get free DLC (I am at 5 boss stem cells if you have played this game you'll know what I mean). As for narrative basically any Sony exclusives - The Last of Us, God Of War, Days Gone, Uncharted etc. Same goes for any Rockstar, CDPR and FromSoftware you can expect quality.

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