The Jimquisition: The Old ‘How Long Should Games Be?’ Debate

While past episodes have touched on the subject, we’ve had a surprising lack of shows dedicated to discussing game length. That may be because it’s an ancient topic that never seems to have any sort of resolution.

Nevertheless, with The Order: 1886 sparking a fresh whirlwind of debate, I figured it was time to actually examine the arguments in play and figure out exactly how important a game’s length is when it comes to the value of a production.

Because it IS important. And it ISN’T.

Wisq
Guest

Part of the problem, I think, is that the video game market is growing up. As children, we tend to have lots of time and not very much money. As adults, we have more money but not very much time. There was a time when all my games came as gifts or were something I saved up for, and I had to stretch those games out to fill my free time. Now, I have a massive backlog, and no time to play them all. That also colours what sort of game I’m after. I want the extraordinary game, the game… Read more »

carg0
Guest
carg0

i “watched” The Order on youtube over the weekend (thank god for ‘no-commentary’ walkthrough’s) and enjoyed it quite a bit. enough to the point where i hope there’s a sequel. the game’s visually stunning, the voice-acting & dialogue is first-rate and the story – belabored, as it was – was still more than enough to keep me interested. but, to be fair, i went into it (after reading reviews) expecting a barely-interactive movie and, in that regard, wasn’t disappointed. i also paid absolutely nothing, so im in no position to judge those who feel they got screwed over and are… Read more »

Sanlumiere
Guest

The other real issues with a game of this price being the length it is would be: 1) What greater incentive do you have for abusing Gamestop (deserved or undeserved, a debate for a different day) by “renting” the game for $55, playing it that afternoon and returning it for a full refund. Sure, you can do this with other games that are longer, but at some reasonable length at least the consumer has to spend some level of time before returning it, which they may not get to do so they get an extended demo for their loan of… Read more »

ElektroDragon
Guest
ElektroDragon

The Order is a fantastic game. I don’t find it too short. In fact, I have YET to find myself complaining that a game I enjoyed was too short. It all depends on the game.

For example, I put 200 hours in Dragon Age Inquisition, but still felt the ending was rushed and “too short”. But other games that supposedly are only a few hours long, I am still playing months or years later in some cases.

Ushio
Guest
Ushio

$60 at retail, retailer takes $15. $30 at retail, retailer takes $15 so to halve the consumer price the publisher losses 2/3rds and with how poor job stability is already in the games industry making it even harder for game companies to make money is not the answer. And to those who say a lower cost will increase sales my 15 years in various games retailers says that lower cost games sell worse as people assume cheaper games to be inferior shovel wear. Maybe if game prices had gone up with inflation like everything else (remembers paying £70 in 1988… Read more »

Craig
Guest
Craig "The Raccoon "

While i agree with the object of the main argument, and some games do become unnecessarily long to extend their experience. I did watch a whole play through of “1886” it seemed brilliant in parts and shooting gallery in others. I do take a subjective issue with Dying Light I am still enjoying that game and it is not because of the the story. Bashing , drop kicking, and dicing up zombie’s seems to never get old. When I get a horde all excited and the firecrackers are popping the whole thing seems like a dance party.There is some strange… Read more »

Nobody's Fanboy
Guest
Nobody's Fanboy

Hey Jim, The spots on the intro / outtro were a little weird, slowly fading from washing you out to fine and back again. On the episode itself, spot on…it’s the same reason you never see an upheaval in politics: “MY guy is fine, it’s all the other bums who need to be fired!” or genuine competition between gas stations, Coke/Pepsi, etc: “If I rock the boat, I might be the one that loses out, so I’ll play along”. Though I can’t help but have a chuckle at the ‘the way it’s always been’ remark, given that I’m old enough… Read more »

ShodanDave
Guest
ShodanDave

Ha ha! Willy! The biggest problem with the length vs value thing is it’s so subjective. There are a few people commenting online that The Order is just fine where it is and a game that is the perfect length for some might massively outstay it’s welcome for others. I loved Skyrim but after 40 hours I felt I’d seen everything that game had to offer but had only done about half the map and it became a slog rather than a joy. On the other hand after completing Mass Effect after spending a similar time in it I just… Read more »

Wally-G.
Guest
Wally-G.

Games should have never gone to $60 dollars period. Hell they’d make more just dropping back to $39.99, and if they whine they can cut money from the marketing budget- a budget that gets more money then the actual game gets.

Panelhopper
Guest

I’m largely in agreement with you Jim, but to me, length and quality of gameplay should be two parts of an equation who’s final result could be regarded as value. The best example I can think of are Skyrim and MGS V: Ground Zeroes. The latter is short, the former is long but I love both because I found their gameplay to be utterly compelling. Of course, GZ was offered at a lower price, which also helped, but it’s playing those games which I remember foudly not their cost. I guess, it’s similar with films: if your having a good… Read more »

ZippyDSMlee
Guest

At a minimum 10 to 20 hours of solid non grindy mechanic pacing for a 50$ title regardless of genre type.

If you want to do half that then the price point should be about 20$.

This is assuming the game is not a mess….

Sanlumiere
Guest

Jim, First off, I saw that the jimquisition on this topic clocked in at a hefty 9+ minutes and I was very happy to see that. I really felt that you put in the work to generate a piece of high quality content that also didn’t skimp on giving us enough minutes of Jim screen time. Very important and thank you for that. I was disappointed, however, that the outro did not include more Jim… perhaps slow motion dancing to the slowed down music. Now, to the topic at hand. There are two games in recent history that have approached… Read more »

Hunter
Guest
Hunter

Looks like this is one of the few areas Nintendo is working forward on. Kirby brand new last Friday is 39.99, Captain Toad launched at the same price point. Meanwhile larger games like Mario 3D World, Pickmin 3 and the like are 60. Mario Party and Donkey Kong TR they seem to feel fit in between at 50. If I heard right at a recent investor call they were calling for more economical software to stimulate their systems.

Ben Kemp
Guest
Ben Kemp

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is that The Order was announced at E3 2013, which was also the launch year of the PS4. I think you could argue that the property was used as a selling point for the system, even though no release date was given for the first game. It bothers me that despite the wait, and despite a development delay on top of it, the released product is so reportedly sub-par.

SilentPony
Guest
SilentPony

Decent episode Jim, very decent. A little TOO long for my tastes, but there ya’ go. I think this is another of those issues that has no right/wrong answer and is just another topic of debate and arguments among gamers. I’m not dismissing the issue; far from it. Length is important(wink wink) but gamers will always complain. I mean look at Dragon Age Inquisition. The biggest complaint against it is its too long, with some gamers clocking 100+ hours on it. Conversely, no one complained about Skyrim being too long. Both games are $60, and both have hundreds of hours… Read more »

Kirbys
Guest
Kirbys

Order looked like a decent game. Of course there are mechanical and story problems but the worst part was the that damn price. 59.99 for a 5 hour game?! Remember how much the Metal Gear Solid V demo costed for how long it was but how detailed it was? 5-7 hours to it and yet it got a 39.99! The new Kirby even looks better and plays longer and guess how much it costed in the end: 39.99. I guess SCE came with the current gen mindset: If a game is costed the hours and time to look good on… Read more »

Heartsib
Guest
Heartsib

Good breakdown, Jim. Enjoyed this one a lot. I tend to fall into the “it’s not how long it is, it’s how you use it” camp on this issue. I can clickity-click away at a short game with good replay value or a challenging, fun roguelike with only ten levels or so with a smile on my face. By contrast, DA:I left me ultimately disappointed because it was too little actual game stretched out over too many maps and fetch-quests (and that’s not even taking the bugs and writing into account). I’m not too bitter over it, because GOG is… Read more »

ldub
Guest
ldub

In my experience games that are too short or long really don’t get fans up in arms so much as cutting corners, poor mechanics, and filler. It’s all about that time to value ratio where when dealing with the subject of game length, every opinion matters to some degree. Now, should some games be inherently longer or shorter based on genre, of course. Someone who who is a long time fan of RPG games would screen bloody murder if the game wasn’t of decent length. On the same note you wouldn’t expect a puzzle game to contain fewer puzzles than… Read more »

Jables
Guest
Jables

Wow, 2015 is off to a rollicking good start. . . Okay so, Bloodborne, Persona 5, MK X, Witcher 3, Batman, Zelda, and DW 8 Empires which comes out in the U.S. tomorrow. I think that’s a pretty safe list of games that shouldn’t be disappointing. Unless I’m missing something.

ChowderT
Guest
ChowderT

I’m surprised you didn’t bring up Final Fantasy 13. Was it too easy of a target? That game was hundreds of hours long but it offered absolutely nothing. The story was awful, the gameplay literally played itself, the cutscenes were too long and too often, and it was incredibly linear. This game is the god of padded out game that focused on length over quality.

Entertainer13
Guest
Entertainer13

I buy a lot of indy games, and I still see people complaining about “only twenty hours of gameplay,” when they paid $10. Good deal if you ask me! You can’t even get into a two hour movie for $10 anymore!

Talib Zeine
Guest
Talib Zeine

Always love the twist endings. Thank god for Monday.

Tanneseph
Guest
Tanneseph

The “extended value edition” of the endcredits song was awesome. The “ooo” was obscene.

Chad Myers
Guest
Chad Myers

The ending was spot on. Thanks for the awesome video, laughs, and as always damn fine opinion.

Jason Darbe
Guest
Jason Darbe

you are definatly right about the industry needing a flexible price point. Had the order 1886 been 20 maybe 30 dollars we wouldn’t see nearly the who-haw that we have. As it stands ill probably rent it for a evening from the Redbox down the street when it shows up there instead of buying it at full or even 75% off from steam.

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