Up For Debate - What is the minimum length a game needs to be for you to buy it in 2021?

Written by Chad Norton on Sun, Apr 4, 2021 5:00 PM
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Games can come in all shapes and sizes, from 15 minute flash games to 100 hour long RPG adventures, and anything in between. But games also come in a range of costs, generally asking for more money the bigger/longer the game. So most of us will judge whether a game is worth the price depending on the length of the game, but what is the minimum length a game needs to be for you to buy it?

We asked this same question back in 2019, but it’s always great to revisit old topics and see if we’ve developed a new perspective and whether opinions have changed since then. As more and more games release with a boatload of content at our fingertips, yet less and less players are completing them. At the same time, companies are even contemplating raising game prices once again as development costs have gone up but prices have remained largely the same.

Assassins Creed: Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 both came out recently, and both offer up a huge amount of content to play through. Trying to play every single piece of content you can in these games will easily rack you up to 100 hours playtime or more, and for $60 for the base game, that’s a hell of a lot of value.

Then on the other end you have many games that will charge full price (or close to) and only offer a fraction of the content from the games mentioned above. There are many examples to choose from, but one of the most infamous examples is The Order 1886, a PlayStation 4 exclusive that came under fire for being a full priced game with a measly 8-10 hour campaign and no other content.

So there’s a lot of variables going on when it comes to judging a game’s monetary worth by length, and we’d love to hear if opinions have changed since 2 years ago and what the general census is like now.

In case you’re curious, in 2019 we asked you whether you pay full price for short games, to which a majority of you voted “No” with 280 votes, whilst only 45 voted for “Yes”. When asked what the minimum length of a game has to be for you to buy it back then, the majority voted for “20 hours” with 145 votes, followed by “8 hours” at 62 votes and “30 hours” at 41 votes. Only 52 people voted for games at 60 hours or more.

So what do you think? What is the minimum length a game needs to be for you to buy it? Do you normally judge whether a game is worth the price by length? Do you finish all the games you play? And do you enjoy short games or long games more? Let’s debate!

Do you judge whether a game is worth the price by length?

Do you finish all the games you play?

Do you prefer short games or long games more?

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

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13:28 Apr-07-2021

It really depends on the game. Some indie titles only last a few hours at most. Meanwhile I just finished Horizon Zero Dawn plus the DLC and that was at least 120+ hours of gameplay. It all depends on the quality of the game for me.

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13:20 Apr-07-2021

if it takes more than 24
nah im gucc

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22:46 Apr-06-2021

not so much about length, more like replayability and the state of the game once it finished. for instance, take GTA V, Skyrim and The Witcher 3 which many players are still into it despite many have finished the story. I mean you could become Cyberpunk, which is completely empty once you finished the story and offers nothing else to do

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22:34 Apr-06-2021

Depends on the quality and the genre of the game. An epic RPG can be 100+ hours and alot of it can be fillers. There are Action/Adventure RPG games that can be 10-30 hours but can consist of excellent narrative that is paced well over the allotted time with less filler content. There is also a factor if the game has any replayability even though its rather short 8-10 hours. I just played "It Takes Two" and I consider it to be one of the better games ive played in a long time.

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08:40 Apr-06-2021

It's irrelevant. A 30 hour rpg campaign? Sure sign me up. A 30 hour call of duty campaign? Hell no. Some games don't need it

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17:55 Apr-05-2021

For me game length is bit tricky metric. I would rather have very interesting, varied and entertaining short experience, than long experience consisted of boring and repetitive objectives. Though neither extreme is great, it really depends on game whether that short time is really well spent or if that long game gives me enough fun things to do and world worth exploring and immersing into.

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17:58 Apr-05-2021

Both short and long games are worth playing, if done right. So unless game goes in extremes, like it is overly short like Order 1886 was, where it felt more like long tech demo than short game, I am fine with shorter games. But it really depends on other aspects, like we all know how boring Ubisoft open world games can be, regardless of how many generic objectives they put into them.

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18:01 Apr-05-2021

As for finishing games, it depends. Like bit of honesty, with all hundreds if not over thousand hours in Skyrim, I never finished the game, or if I put it properly, main questline. Dunno how much I sank into it, since I did start playing pirated version and bought it on Steam latter. But it was really fun time and that game definitely returned on my investment with good time I had in it.

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18:03 Apr-05-2021

But I do finish some games, I don't some, Witcher 3 is another example I never finished, but still clocked in a lot of time. Last one I finished, is Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Fun game, definitely was worth it for me. Though by finishing I mean going through main questline. I never go for 100% the game or getting all achievements.

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17:10 Apr-05-2021

Its about how the game makes you feel rather than the amount of time you spend in it. That being said AAA games which charge $60 at a bare minimum as an entry fee sure as sh!t should be more than 4 hours long.

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16:16 Apr-05-2021

I have no real expectations for game length these days. As long as it's fun and replayable then I am happy.


For example I replayed and beat the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 like 2 dozen times.

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15:53 Apr-05-2021

My preference goes to games that are 8-12 hours long gameplay wise. I think they get too long otherwise, making me never finish them.
I think from all the games I played, the length of tomb raider 2013 was just enough, not too much, not too little.

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14:25 Apr-05-2021

it all depends on the game. like CB2077 (haven't finished it yet) so far without skipping any FMV-esque bits I think I'm on 12-15hrs. id like to think its got at least another 10hrs left.


dyson sphere program though has done me for over 80hrs on 1 single playthrough.


my current ONI playthrough is on 247 hrs.

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11:44 Apr-05-2021

Minimum length for me would be 7hours, unless its highly replayable like stanley parable which theoretically is very short 10-40 minutes long.

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10:49 Apr-05-2021

Whats "long or short" here?
I mean, 10 hours can be maybe considered long for someone while 20 hours might be "short" for someone.
For me its a matter of interest in the genre/style/etc.
For example, Kingdom hearts is one of my favorite series, but with its complexity of the story, it might be a "no go" for someone even before attempting it, or while or after have played it >>>

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10:50 Apr-05-2021

---> And while i liked it, it doesnt have to be everyones cup of tea.
So, for me its not a thing judging a game by its length, it's so much of other stuff too :)

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09:11 Apr-05-2021

I think that solely depends on experience. Long games are nice, but often it feels that its just too stretched just for the sake of it (AC valhalla). It works other way too. I would get bored of control or doom if it took more then 30=40 h.

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06:55 Apr-05-2021

If it's an AAA game I think it should be at least 45hrs long (the main story)

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06:30 Apr-05-2021

6 inches

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00:34 Apr-06-2021

Dammit you beat me to it, I'd have added "no more, no less". Either way...take my upvote.

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02:46 Apr-05-2021

Just saying, Portal 1 is one of the best games I've ever played and that was like 90 minutes long.

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08:34 Apr-05-2021

it took me like 3 hours **** am I that bad at puzzles?

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00:56 Apr-05-2021

Best game length is somewhere between fun and replayable. A mix of both is best but thats really rare.

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00:09 Apr-05-2021

Once, I wouldn't have cared about the length of the game if the story and characters were good. Now with the way the game industry is run (unfinished, buggy, and poorly optimized games), I just prefer to wait for a game to be over 50% off on a Steam/GOG sale before I purchase.

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00:18 Apr-05-2021

Same.

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14:39 Apr-05-2021

I used to pick RPG games by their cover and marketed playtime, that's how I landed Oblivion and lots of other gems. Now that was way back when they still made decent games. Now it's all half-baked games and shorties, so I first have to make sure the game is actually playable or isn't some two hour demo that costs me 10€. Proper research required. It amazes me how people think it's okay to pay 20€ for games that are inferior to the ones I got for free alongside my cereal box.

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23:59 Apr-04-2021

My general rule of thumb is 1h of enjoyable gameplay = 1$/€. Most AAA games tent to be very long sometimes over 100h but I still don't think a lot of them are worth buying at 60€ since the game isn't really enjoyable.

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21:26 Apr-04-2021

Quality > quantity

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21:30 Apr-04-2021

To a point, I agree. But there is also a minimum level of quantity that should be expected I believe. Like, if you can't fill at least 12 hours of quality gameplay....what are you even doing..?

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22:24 Apr-04-2021

Yeah great example is NFS heat everyone liked it bc it was really good but there just wasn't enough of the game itself and I believe the total time in which you can complete the game is 8 hours which is nothing imo

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00:01 Apr-05-2021

If you speedrun the game I believe it's less than 2 hours. And that's without skips.

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00:20 Apr-05-2021

It depends...
For example you could beat the OG Spelunky in under 1 hour, but I would keep coming back for more. I probably dumped well over 100 hours into it and similar rogue like games (F.T.L being another one).

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16:06 Apr-05-2021

I haven't played Spelunky but I'd say rogue-like games are a special case in that they are designed to be played over and over. They almost all offer way more than 10 hours because of how they are structured.

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23:26 Apr-05-2021

True, but for me the value proposition is immense.

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03:42 Apr-05-2021

If it's a full-priced game - sure, I'd like to see some value there before dishing out the money. But if the game costs a fiver and it's not 12h long? I'd buy it if the experience is good. Who cares how long it is if the quality is there and the price is right for what you get? So I wouldn't necessarily measure the game by hours alone.
On top of that - not all of us have the time to sink 100s of hours into artificially-prolonged games anymore. I'd rather pay money for a well-crafted experience over an empty "open world", for example. Quality > quantity

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15:59 Apr-05-2021

In my comment just below this I acknowledge those $5(or &#60 $15) games. There are exceptions to everything, really. But in general, I stand by my statement.


I've definitely played some games that were great quality but then they ended suddenly and it just leaves you with a weird emptiness.


And of course, yes, the other end of the spectrum is really where the quality aspect takes over because 100 hours of slogging through repetition and uninspired fluff isn't fun either

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