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How Do You Measure a Game's Worth?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the if-it's-frags-per-dollar-then-quake-live-wins dept.

The Almighty Buck 188

RamblingJosh writes "Video games can be very expensive these days, especially with so many great games on the horizon. So I wonder: how exactly do you get the most gaming entertainment for your dollar? '... the first thing I personally thought about when approaching this was money spent versus time played. Using Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions as an example: I bought the game for about $30 Canadian, and played it for roughly 85 hours. That comes out to 2.83 hours per dollar spent, a pretty good number. In this case, the game was a lot of fun and it was cheap, and so the system works fairly well. There are so many other things to think about, though. What if the game wasn't so good? What about the fact that it's portable? ... What about the new content? Multiplayer?'"

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188 comments

Hours per dollar is good (4, Insightful)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868582)

Time spent playing (per dollar) seems like a good measurement. If a game has other advantages beyond being good, such as being a mobile phone game you can play while sitting bored on a train, then that will cause you to play it more. Everything naturally factors in.

Of course, values between different people aren't comparable due to different tastes and amounts of time available to play games, and it's virtually impossible to work out in advance how many hours you will play the game for, but it's a good way to quantify a game's value.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (2, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868602)

I was about to say almost exactly this.

If a game is multi-platform, then you will play it more (if you don't it's not worth any more to you).
If a game is good, then you will play it more.
If a game gets extra content, then you will play it more.
If a game has multiplayer, then you will play it more.

All of these things make the price per hours played ratio better, and just go to show how good a simple $/h measurement is for this.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (3, Interesting)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869444)

I was about to say almost exactly this.

If a game is multi-platform, then you will play it more (if you don't it's not worth any more to you).

Frankly I doubt this. Most of the games I play would not be enjoyable to play on my phone - the screen is much too small, and the phone hasn't got appropriate controls. I would prefer to be able to buy the games I play for Linux rather than having to keep a Windows box just for playing games, but I don't need any game which I do play to run on multiple platforms, because I'm only going to play it on one. Of course, if a game is Mac only (or Wii/Playstation/X-Box only) then I won't play it because I don't have those platforms. Making a game multi-platform expands the market for the game, but it doesn't make individual players play it more.

If a game is good, then you will play it more.

Oh, absolutely. I've played The Witcher [thewitcher.com] at least 150 hours; Dragon Age [bioware.com] about the same. Probably over a thousand of hours of Neverwinter Nights (which I only bought to support the Linux port) in its various incarnations and community add-ons. Certainly hundreds of hours of Sid Meier's Civlization, Alpha Centauri (both of which, again, I only bought because there were Linux ports and I wanted to support them), Pirates! and Railroads! Hundreds of hours on Settlers II, III and IV. And, back in the day, thousands of hours playing Elite [wikipedia.org], the video game sans pariel. In terms of hours of entertainment per unit currency, good games are extraordinary value for money.

I fins that about half the games I buy I only play once or twice. I don't resent that in the least, because the games that do work for me give me so much fun.

If a game gets extra content, then you will play it more.

Again, agreed, particularly if it comes with good modding tools and allows community-made content. After all, modding (and playing other people's mods) is half the fun of things like NWN and The Witcher.

I

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869632)

>If a game is multi-platform, then you will play it less, or not at all.

There -- fixed that for you.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869634)

Man -- I meant if it was *multiplayer*.

Note to self -- no posts before caffeine.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

brunokummel (664267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868702)

I don't think a game's worth measurement is quite that simple.. I hadn't come up with the exact formula yet, but I guess it envolves a little bit of nice graphics, multiplayer capabillity, difficulty, game's control, expansibility ...
if we take into account only time spent per dollar PAC MAN and TETRIS are the best games ever developed !

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868782)

I did say that this method doesn't give comparable values for different people.

For you, pac man and tetris must be worth little, but shallow games with awesome graphics would be worth a lot to you.

Personally tetris would rank quite highly for me, I was practically addicted to it when I was younger. Somewhere, I have a floppy disk of the first UK release of it!

Re:Hours per dollar is good (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868822)

If you're a fan of tetris, check out First Person Tetris [firstpersontetris.com].

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868868)

if we take into account only time spent per dollar PAC MAN and TETRIS are the best games ever developed !
No, they are the games with the highest worth (value), not the best.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868974)

If you're playing in an Arcade chances are dollar/hour of entertainment ratio is very very low.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869108)

I've just realise, the same goes for MMOs...

Both make you keep paying to keep playing, trying to balance the worth of the game against its actual cost, in order to make the mos profit for the creators.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869282)

The difference being that where a MMO might run $0.50 / day, the last time I was in an arcade you could get maybe 5 minutes of gaming for that much. MMOs are actually much closer in scale than arcade games; you have to keep paying, but the game has so much content (which in the better ones is constantly increasing) and the online interaction is so appealing, you keep playing too. The only difference is that an MMO has an absolute max of about 48 hours/dollar. I'm sure I've spent far, far more time than that on StarCraft, for example.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868712)

For the designers, the quality would probably be more in line with dollars per time spent playing, presuming they want you to buy another game.

Maybe that's just EA.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869434)

Replay value can have positive business value. First, if you're on a platform that uses discs or cartridges without online activation, games with replay value don't show up on the used market as quickly, so you're more likely to sell a few more new copies. And unless you have a monopoly on video game development, your customers are likely to keep enjoying replay value in your game instead of buying your competitors' games.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (5, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868726)

But that seems so different than the standards we apply to other media. I might pay $30 for a ticket to a concert for a set of songs I'll only hear ONCE... but I might think no cd is worth $15, even though the experience could be replicated hundreds of times. A 60 minute movie doesn't start off with a 100% advantage over a 120 minute movie, simply because of enjoyment per hour.

Some types of games... some types of experiences... can really only be experienced once. The ephemeral quality of the experience certainly doesn't detract from it's value. Dollars per hour seems like a crass measurement. We don't judge books by dollars per page. Well, at least that's only a minor factor.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868826)

A 60 minute movie doesn't start off with a 100% advantage over a 120 minute movie

Quite right - it's 50%.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869436)

Fantastic point. Portal is a good example of that. The game was bundled, but for a 6 hour experience, it was amazing.

How to price a 6 hour experience, on the other hand, is a little tricky. I'm sure I would have been annoyed to have spent $60 on a 6 hour game, regardless of its awesomeness.

Disagree (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868746)

I'd rather play a really exciting game for ten hours than a mediocre game for thirty hours.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868768)

( 0.4* Amount of Game Area Space * Average amount of interactive features per square pixel + 0.3 * Visual appeal + 0.3 * Gameplay ) / Game Price

The higher, the better.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (2, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868774)

Time spent playing (per dollar) seems like a good measurement. If a game has other advantages beyond being good, such as being a mobile phone game you can play while sitting bored on a train, then that will cause you to play it more. Everything naturally factors in.

Of course, values between different people aren't comparable due to different tastes and amounts of time available to play games, and it's virtually impossible to work out in advance how many hours you will play the game for, but it's a good way to quantify a game's value.

It's one way but not the only one. I paid about the same amount of money for Quake I and Duke Nukem, I also spent about the same amount of time playing them. As far as I was concerned Duke Nukem was the better game by far even though it didn't have nearly as much eye-candy as other games it was just more 'fun' to play. The same applies to Half Life I and II and Unreal as well, now that I think about it, were also superior games IMHO. A good game should take more than one weekend to complete (single player). I wouldn't even mind having the story spread out over a few expansion packs like Half Life (as long as they don't get greedy with the pricing), it should have a plot that makes sense, it should be 'fun' to play and I'd be willing to lose a bit of eye candy for things like playability, good AI and big well designed maps with lots of open spaces etc... I don't know about the rest of you, but take the some of the Doom series games for example, those endless rooms and hallways started boring me to tears after a while. Games other than 1st person shooters have different requirements. Take for example Civilization, going by length of game play it's a winner. I can still waste an entire day playing Civilization IV but they could improve the AI. In a game like that AI is really important.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868878)

That's why I only play Role-play games, especially Japanese. I get +80hrs out of them on average, not including extra playthroughs for games that offer multiple endings and multiple paths.

Re:Hours per dollar is good (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868976)

You wouldn't believe the number of hours I racked up on Final Fantasy VII when I was younger...

Though these days I prefer playing multiplayer games.

Computer games? (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868592)

This is why I don't use computers. They are all causeing people to becomne fat and stupijdm because they dont read books any more. Indstead I read five novels every day and am a super genios. If you didn't waste your time playing computer games and selling your soul to the Italians you could be like me too. I thought that computers were for computing things like numbros and internetes but today they are just for sexxy6 ;ladies and wasting-time-games for fat kids. All things that are bad and immoral and wrong and dumb and stupid and bad. So be like me, a super genius a millonare and the greatest man in the world who does not ever EVER use a computer unless it is absolutely necessary to save the life of at least three non-Italian people.

quite easily (1)

shishikyuu (1513817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868598)

(time played in hours/2 x metacritc score)/4 being portable doesn't change the value of the game, but does lower the cost of the platform.

Re:quite easily (1)

shishikyuu (1513817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868614)

no wait, on second thought... it's more like log(time played in hours)*metacrit score. I mostly agree with the results that gives.

Counterexample (4, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868600)

The new Silent Hill game for the Wii, Shattered Memories, was amazingly good; innovative, deep, intelligent... and maybe 8 hours long. $7.50 an hour. Absolutely worth it, in the sense a great movie is, even though it fails the $/hour test.

On the other hand, a good strategy game, like any of the incarnations of Fire Emblem, can easily top a hundred hours. The metric has to be total enjoyment... and fond remembrance of the game counts into that total. Hell, the game is probably worth an extra quarter if it generates a decent slashdot post.

Re:Counterexample (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869236)

Another counterexample:

The Professor Layton Series for DS is made up of over 100 small puzzles, you can save at pretty much any time, and when you load your file, there's a quick explanation of what was going on last time you played.

The two games probably took me about 12 hours each to play through, and I bought them for US$30+tax. That's .5 hrs/dollar, which isn't great. However, the nature of the game allowed me to play it on a vacation when I had many 10 minute blocks of time here and there -- this game just worked for that. And, when I'm done, my dad will play through both; it's basically the only game he has ever really clicked with.

A games worth (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868606)

can only be measured by how many times it has gotten you laid.

Ive had 2 WOW hookups since ive been playing.

WOW: 2
every other game: 0

Re:A games worth (1)

prayag (1252246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868694)

how many times it has gotten you laid

I am not what you call a player but I think you might be looking at the wrong places man !!

ghahaha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868618)

easy really

i just dowload shit from tpb
there are only about two or three games per year worth purchasing

Replayability (1)

dazaris (461468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868620)

How long am I going to play this game for? Is it going to pull me back in at some point in the future? How much thought will I put into playing this game? (The more the better)

Replayability is usually determined by the level of customization offered. Being able to play the game in a different way usually changes a mediocre experience into a fantastic one.

A good example of a game I come back to often is Civilization 4. It has lots of fantastic mods, is fairly open ended and allows you to play the game in many different ways without forcing you into a single strategy or objective. RPGs usually have a fairly high replay value as well.

That, and the sense of accomplishment (1)

Der PC (1026194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868636)

Hours per dollar is an excellent measurement.

If the game has a predefined mission (most FPS) a good measurement is if you can play through the game without losing your temper or caving in. One game that promised high playability was Tomb Raider Anniversary - but at one point (elevator before lava caves) it becomes tough and complex enough that only the best could finish it. So if you manage to actually finish the game, that's a good measurement of quality since finisheing a game gives the player a sense of accomplishment. Unlike the sense of utter failure he experiences if unable to finish (which should give a healthy negative score).

An example of a game with a very high h/$ score must be Unreal Tournament 2004. I still play the bugger, still try out new maps and still burn a couple of hours a week playing a relaxing onslought against the bots. I'd say the $/h ratio is somewhere in the area :)

Re:That, and the sense of accomplishment (1)

wilcoholic (1659779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868666)

Unreal Tournament 2004 is one of my all time favorites. Unfortunately, the series and the genre have almost completely fallen off the radar. Those games catered to a different type of gamer that are now few and far between.

Internet play is a huge factor (3, Interesting)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868638)

It encourages re-use over the long term because:
  1. Players create the drama and "script" the dialog.
  2. Open ended which permits game play not conceived by the game authors.
  3. Encourages game mods which causes the game to endure long after the expected expiration.
  4. Making mods becomes it's own fun activity separate from the game.
  5. Encourages public player rankings and forums. Another fun activity separate from the game.
  6. Enduring games encourage the game developer to continue supplying content updates which can be cheaper than original game purchase.

Re:Internet play is a huge factor (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868736)

This is very true. I'm not an FPS gamer for the most part (which is where much of this sort of thing happens) but I've played RTS games since the original WarCraft. One advantage RTS almost always has is replayability, which is vastly expanded when you add online play, but RTS engines are also becoming powerful enough to create completely different types of games. Consider, for example, DotA (Defense of the Ancients), a map for WarCraft 3 (and descended from a map for StarCraft) that I've probably spent as much time playing as I have the RTS itself - which was already worth many times what I paid for it (many hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours).

Heck, Heroes of Newerth (a DotA clone as a standalone game) I've already played nearly 500 hours of... for $30. I don't care how good an action/adventure/RPG is; I've never seen a game that I'd play 500 hours of in 6 months unless it was online. MMO games can easily reach that level (they are arguably the pinnacle of Internet gaming, and if done right of long-term playability) but they also cost much, much more - playing for a year will cost over $100 for most MMO games.

Re:Internet play is a huge factor (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868924)

I think there is a mod community for The Sims. There's also a lot of official content updates. I still play games derived from Quake2 and Quake3 open source.

Re:Internet play is a huge factor (4, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869114)

Actually, Internet play for me in most games (apart from those I can choose to solo in, such as Guild Wars) is a null factor. I honestly don't care for it, and if the game is 'multiplayer internet only', then no.. Not for me..
Yes, I'm sociable, but the amount of griefers, and people who consider that just because they're behind some anonymous screen makes them able to shout whatever kind of abuse they want, and play people around however they want (after all, it's just 'make a new character, use a new name') put me off this ages ago. Plus the cheating that usually ends up rampant.
I enjoy a good story, so DLC, plus the ability to mod, and choose the mods you apply to suit your tastes and the story.. Definitely..
For scriptable, you just can't beat tabletop RPG.. Not in the near or medium term (perhaps in the long future it'll catch up),`so for story and script, I'll stick with tabletop..
Open ended.. DLC and mods help there.. DLC for extra chapters, as they usually have the same voice actors and a real feeling of continuity and extended story..
Player ranking, I never really got on with. There are too many issues with that. One being the aforementioned cheating (find a cheat, shoot up the rankings). Either that, or it's all grind (spend your life behind the keyboard and you'll wend your way up this chart). Neither appeal to me (and actually, I find them detrimental to my experience).
I don't think an enduring game has any reliance on internet play at all. An enduring game is one which the developers built properly in the first place, one with engaging gameplay, a good engine, probably a good story that has the 'episodic' content that can reuse the engine, and support modding, along with being damn good fun to play. Most of the games I still go back to are things like Diablo, Final Fantasy, Ratchet and Clank, Baldur's Gate, Descent, Starcraft and so on. All pretty much non-internet.. They were just good fun to play!
One truly enduring one is NetHack (and Angband).. Been playing those for a little over 20 years now, which I think counts as an enduring game..

Satisfaction to Price ratio. (4, Insightful)

yanguang (1471209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868640)

I bought Torchlight at $4.99 for the Steam deal back then. Best. Value. Ever. I give it 50 units of Awesome. Dragon Age: Origins gets 75 Awesome, but costs obviously more. In terms of a purchase decision, I actually hesitated for DAO. Steam's got it right with their deal system, sapping mah wallet dry.

ffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868648)

Maybe not everything has to have a fucking number attached to it. Just enjoy things and let them be. Does knowing Street Fighter had a pleasure quotient of 3.64 change anything about the time you spent playing it?

Re:ffs (1)

Dr. Zim (21278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868988)

AMEN! How do I measure a game's worth? If I can find the damn thing when I want to play it, it's all good... if I can't, it's worthless. /z

Whether or not I bought it. (1)

Jerrei (1515395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868674)

uuuhm. I mean whether or not I returned it to my local retailer an hour after installing.

Impossible (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868682)

The truth is, you can only measure it after you've played the game, and not before. And so the only way to find out whether the game will be any good is by reading reviews. Still there is a possibility that the experience of the person who reviewed the game, and even the average experience of the people who reviewed it may not match your own. It's the same for movies, music, pictures and other works of art.

Re:Impossible (5, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868786)

Not too long ago a read a terrible review of a game that was described as a "unimaginative knockoff of Fire Emblem". I rushed right out to buy it, and enjoyed it.

I think review scores are nearly meaningless; aggregate review scores even more useless. But accurate descriptions of the game, including mechanics, and comparisons to similar games... that is really valuable.

Re:Impossible (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869268)

"I think review scores are nearly meaningless;"

They are not meaningless they help you find reviewers that share your tastes, I always read the lowest scores to find gamers who share my tastes. Gamer's reviews of games are generally correct even if they do not always know why the dislike a game, there is a trend of psychological types and clustering which is very useful.

I dislike most MMO's for instance, and because I like action games with lots to do where things are not automated to high hell and back, where as MMO's tend to automate way too much to make sure any drooling idiot can "play" the game, even dexterously challenged.

Re:Impossible (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869520)

I dislike most MMO's for instance, and because I like action games with lots to do where things are not automated to high hell and back, where as MMO's tend to automate way too much to make sure any drooling idiot can "play" the game, even dexterously challenged.

Then would you prefer a video game where you have to control every step of the player character's walking?

Re:Impossible (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869614)

Then would you prefer a video game where you have to control every step of the player character's walking?

Steel Battalion [wikipedia.org]? Hell yes!

Re:Impossible (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869616)

"Then would you prefer a video game where you have to control every step of the player character's walking?"

When you can get up and go to the bathroom while fighting a monster is where I draw the line, the game has been automated to such a point where you could merely develop algorithms to click menu buttons for you if you wanted and merely watch your MMO avatar do everything for you.

Since for most MMO's, the thing you do most often is navigate and business types design the game in such a way to maximize revenue and not fun unfortunately, so they purposely put things in the game that are actually NOT fun but for a certain warped segment of the population hooks their psychology. We've all heard people say they keep playing MMO's without liking it. I look at those people as a little off, but they exist in large enough numbers apparently.

Re:Impossible (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869642)

When you can get up and go to the bathroom while fighting a monster is where I draw the line

In other words, any game with a noninteractive cut scene lasting longer than 90 seconds.

the game has been automated to such a point where you could merely develop algorithms to click menu buttons for you

In other words, you dislike Chess and Checkers. Checkers is a solved game; Chinook can play perfectly to at least a draw, or a win if the other player makes mistakes. Chess isn't solved but is already to the point where a home PC can routinely beat casual players.

Ob Bash.org quote (3, Funny)

wilkinc (1247844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868688)

This [bash.org] Bash quote is quite fitting here.

Re:Ob Bash.org quote (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869550)

Even if you do have a cat around, the catpennies mentioned in the blurb you linked are only useful for a few minutes at a time before the cat gets bored. If I have more time than that to kill, I need a game that can be played at a longer stretch.

Quality is more important than quantity (1)

PWNtheon (1633637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868690)

Hours per dollar is only a way to measure the quantity of enjoyment, not the quality. Take Braid, which i completed in a few hours. Compare it to World of Warcraft which i have spent way way too much time on. I probably got a lot more game time per dollar from WoW, but the enjoyment i had when playing Braid was much greater, even with no replayability or online multiplayer. I am worried games these days often forego the quality part and focus too much on the quantity.

Easy... (2, Interesting)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868698)

...if you remember the game after 2-3 years, it is good.

influence of bad game parts (1)

Catil (1063380) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868798)

The sole amount of time spent playing a game doesn't consider the parts of the game that didn't entertain or were even frustrating. I guess you can't just substract these "wasted" hours either because a 20 hour game without any frustrating parts is likely to entertain you more than a 30 hour game that includes 10 hours of frustration. It depends a lot on how much your free time playing games is worth to you in the first place. It may even be worth so much that you enjoy a five minute Solitair game a lot more than going through five minutes of just learning the controls of any other game, as an extreme example. The location of the bad game parts is also important as five minutes of frustation every now and then are less likely to decrease your entertainment than a bad two hour part in one go, especially if that were your only two hours of playtime that weekend.

I have the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868804)

Easy; each game is worth 99 cents.

Sent from my iPhone

My take on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868806)

Hours per [currency]
The longer a game can last, the better.

Does the game actually work?
How well is it? Are there any silly bugs or horrible controls that ruin the gameplay?
Is the gameplay itself up to a decent standard?

Work or play?
Fun is always a good thing in games. But challenges are always welcome too.
Does the game find the right balance between fun and annoyingly hard?
I like my challenges, but something near-enough impossible without a guide or extreme levels of trial and error just become annoying.
It the game actually challenging and not dumbing it down to lower the entry level? (something that has happened a LOT on Wii sadly...)

"Replayability"
Does it let you continue on after "completing" main game?
Does it give you any incentive to replay the game? Such as extra options, stats or items, or the usual extra endings?
Does the game have an active landscape, rather than boring dull static landscape?
Does it force you through an area more than a few times? (more than 4 is really stretching it, MMO and open-landscape type games are exempt in this case)

Uniqueness
I don't think there is much to say in this.
Any innovation in the game is usually a good thing, even something as small as how to assign points to characters. (Sphere Grids of FFX took the FF points assigning out of the usual menus and numbers for example)

Graphics and audio
Does it fit well with the game? Even contrasting colors with the theme are good, such as Disney-bright primaries with an ultra-violent game.

Multiplayer (if none, is ignored)
Decent multiplayer system? Easy to setup games?

Online play? Able to setup your own servers? Or is it through some owned server? Or both?
In both cases, do the games run just as smoothly as each other?
Free? Decent Fees? Pay-per-play plan? (one reason i refuse to play most MMOs, i'm not going to have the time to play ~15/7/365!)

How Do You Measure a Games Worth? (0, Troll)

mildagaines (1728046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868808)

I have about 12-15 different games,dated from the 1930's to the 1950's, there are a couple that are in great shape but most of them are falling apart pretty badly or they have some game piecs missing.I'd like to sell them all as one lot. Proactol [articlesbase.com] Force Factor [goarticles.com]

Hours per dollar is a rubbish measure (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868876)

This means that a generally amusing game that takes 30 hours to complete is better value than the best game ever that takes 29 hours to complete.

It's like judging the quality of a book by the number of pages.

Re:Hours per dollar is a rubbish measure (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868998)

Surely if it was the best game ever you'd play it more than once...

Re:Hours per dollar is a rubbish measure (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869042)

Depends on the game. Some games don't lend themselves to replays.

Re:Hours per dollar is a rubbish measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869048)

Maybe not if it was, for example, a point-and-click adventure game with a great story.

It might be very entertaining, but without much replayability.

Games are cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30868888)

$2 per hour is about as cheap as a hobby can get. Only watching TV might be cheaper, but that doesn't count, and even gaming can get that cheap, too, by playing an online-game for 200 hours month and just paying $10.

So why even bother?

Re:Games are cheap (1)

spitzig (73300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869484)

Reading is pretty cheap, too. Especially, if you read used paperback books. A lot cheaper than $2/hr.

Hours per dollar is a good metric (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868932)

But it's not the only metric. Let's ponder all those hours spent in FPS games with the old "get key from location A, run to location B on the other end of the map, get Key for A again" spiel. That's no fun and simply a time sink. We did it for a single reason: To get it behind us so we can continue having fun. So I'd propose that those hours of "tedium" should be subtracted from the "play time", or even count against the play time that could be considered "fun time".

The best game would obviously not be repetitive or, if it is, still be enjoyable while you repeat yourself. All games are repetitive to some degree. The interface only has so many options, as do AI or gameplay. Gaining new weapons (FPS) or units (RTS) can either be just another set of tools or a completely new experience, and that's something to consider when pondering the value. Getting an automatic gun compared to your old repeating shotgun in a FPS can alter the style of game, or it can just be a necessity if the enemies just get harder to reflect this. Essentially, if the old gun becomes useless in every aspect once you have the new gun because it is simply no longer a viable choice, it's a bad development. You did not get a new option, you just got a new skin. Likewise, RTS. If new units make the old ones obsolete, you did not get new units. You only got a replacement and basically have to play with the same amount of choices you had before. New skins, but no new options.

I like it when games guide you into the play style, when you start out with a limited set of options to get to know the interface and all, and then it expands from there. giving you more and more options over time (preferably giving you the option that you wished you had when you finally get it without engineering the situation to require this option. Usually that means it is only a viable option in very specific, almost necessarily artificially created situations). But those should be options. Not requirements.

And that's just me. I, for one, could not stomach the item grind of games like WoW, but appearantly that's something a good deal of people enjoy. My metric for a "good game" is probably not the same you would use. For me it has to give me more and more options over the course of the game. When I get no new options, the fun starts to decline and the repetition starts. Multiplayer can help here a lot, given that a human opponent is harder to figure out and requires you to adapt your strategy to stay on par with him, but a computer AI will eventually be figured out fully and you will develop a winning strategy.

Re:Hours per dollar is a good metric (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869060)

You can measure the game's worth to a given person easily with this metric — if they don't like to grind, they'll put down a grind game before finishing it, and the hours per dollar metric will be poor. You can also measure the game's average worth, using statistics. Dollars per hour, or vice versa, is the only valid metric of a game's value. (unless you mean value to the publisher, which is easy to calculate.)

Price is mostly irrelevant, if the game is great (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868944)

If a game is great, I don't think the price you paid matters at all. I paid $15 for Braid on Xbox Live Arcade late 2008 and absolutely loved it. I saw the game for like $2 on the Steam sale over the holiday and was just smiling at how cheap it was now because so many more people would try it out. It didn't seem to matter to me at all that I paid almost eight times more than the current asking price.

Of course, that game was only $15 to begin with.

I'm getting the collector's edition of Mass Effect 2 on Tuesday, that's a $70 drop but I'm honestly confident the game is going to rock and that price will be irrelevant in the long run. If the game sucks, at least I can jump on the reseller's market early.

A big flaw (4, Insightful)

Xeno man (1614779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868980)

I think the question it self is flawed. Your trying to assign a quantitative number to a game as if it represents some level of value that you can extract at a later date. A game isn't a used car. A car can be worth $100 or it can be worth $20,000. A game has only 2 choices. It's worth it, or it's not. The problem is that it is an individual test of worth so your standards of worth it or not worth it, or even any number system you can come up with, are going to be completely irrelevant to me. People can spend hours on end playing Bejeweled or any other time waster type game and it can be completely worth the time spend playing it because they enjoyed it the entire time. Personally I don't thing it's worth it because I don't enjoy those types of games for very long. So all ready there is inconsistency in the "worth" of a game and I'm just referring to free flash games. I haven't even brought in money yet.

Once you start talking about money, in the end your only going to spend what you can afford. Everyone earns different amounts of money and has different responsibilities. A teen living at home may not have a problem dropping an entire pay cheque on rock band where an older adult with a mortgage and kids will be more particular about spending money. Of course the more money you have the less value money has. If your a millionaire you will be more willing to throw away money on crappy games than someone making minimum wage so again this value of worth is meaningless to anyone else but yourself.

Personally a game is worth it if I really enjoyed playing it but the experience is enhanced by friends that play the same game. We can talk about the game afterwords and share experiences and even play multiplayer games together which is more enjoyable than random strangers online. If your looking to get value out of a game, buy games that your friends have that you can play together. If you want to stretch you money, buy single player games your friends don't have and you can trade and borrow games with each other so you can experience more.

If your looking for advice on games to buy, look to your friends. If your trying to evaluate what you already have, your over thinking it.

DRM (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868984)

DRM makes the game worth less. Online activation makes the game 50% less worthy, limited online activation makes the game another 50% less worthy.

Re:DRM (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869636)

in your fucking whining opinion sure.

99.9% of users have NO problems with DRM. 95% of them don't even know the DRM exists.

99% of slashdot kids whine about it, even though they mostly pirate games anyway....

MMOs (1)

lewster32 (1719106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869022)

It'd be interesting to see this metric applied to pay-monthly MMOs such as WoW, Eve etc - but then you really do have to take into consideration satisfying gameplay per dollar, and I think the result will be 'not much'.

Did you enjoy it? (1)

D J Horn (1561451) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869040)

I've never really felt the need to scrutinize an experience and boil down its dollars to hours-of-enjoyment ratio. You can of course - there are a lot of factors you could take into account - but generally speaking I find if I enjoyed the game, it was worth the cost.

If you find yourself questioning whether or not the game was worth it, it probably wasn't.

Re:Did you enjoy it? (1)

spitzig (73300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869424)

Yeah, but that's partly because new games cost about the same. Well, back in the day, Neo-Geo games were $200/game, if I recall correctly. That was the price of a SNES/Genesis. Sure, they had good games, but I don't think I'd have thought it worth the price. Now, I could afford a cost increase like that, even though it might be a little tough. But, in high school, it would have meant playing a LOT less games.

Frist stOp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869044)

What provides th3 consider that right

Immersion (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869058)

I know I like a game when I've played too much of it. I really liked Fallout 3 and every time I hear about the "National Mall" I'm automatically thinking about mutants. Also, I once picked one of my wife's hair clips, just in case I needed later.

I like short games (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869130)

For games with a beginning, middle and end - I'm grateful if they're short. 8 hours or so is good. So dollars/hour is not a good metric for me. I'd rather quality than quantity.

Replay value is always welcome, of course - but it depends on the type of game. I'm all for something I can buy, *really* enjoy for 8 hours, then trade in.

For me $10/hour of actual fun, is better than $1/hour of tedious grinding. Of course some people enjoy grinding... weirdos.

Replay Value (2, Insightful)

ScotlynHatt (764928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869158)

So there are some games that I continue to play years after they come out due to the mod community. Half Life 2 and Battlefield 2 are two that have to be into the pennies per hour by now; I don't even have an estimate. That said, if you look at the direction COD-MW2 decided to take, from a single player perspective, you see the cost per hour go way up. Multiplayer certainly improves the value but the plan is to control development of maps/mods and charge for them, so the long-term value does not improve for the gamer, only the company.

That's simple. (1)

Jaroslav.Tucek (1344577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869172)

Everything is worth, what its purchaser will pay for it.

Re:That's simple. (1)

spitzig (73300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869462)

That ignores the fact that some people will pay more. Also, what happens to it's worth AFTER you buy it? If you hate it, it's worth goes down. If you love it, it goes up.

By all the pleasure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869178)

... it gives here on Earth?

Quality counts too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869194)

Some games don't have any replay value, but are still worth the price. If I'm buying something like an FPS/RTS, I care a lot about the time/money ratio. But I've also enjoyed games like Mass Effect, or the indie game Machinarium, which were pointless after the first time through. The quality of the experience is worth it some times.

It's a Solved Problem (0)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869204)

It's however much you are willing to pay for the game. Done.

Seriously. One of the beautiful things about economics and capitalism is this principle of encapsulating the value of something with a price. Different people look for different virtues in an object. You might think time played is the correct measurement but a long game that goes bad in the end might be less valuable to me than a good, short and fun game. It's all relative but we can all get to common unit of worth through by stating the price.

If after $30 for the game and playing it, you regretted it, then it was worth less than $30. If you were happy about it, then it was worth more than $30 to you. What the game can sell for in a free market is what it is worth. That's the beauty of a free market. It's not just an exchange for goods and services, it's a good information discovery tool.

"Worth" isn't objective or explicitly quantifiable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869284)

These days I've become skeptical of videogames. When they're all self-masturbatory derivative affairs, do "playtime" or "features" really tell the whole story of worth? Or even at all? What about their meaning or impact on the player? I've started judging worth of videogames based on how seriously they take themselves as a medium for communication. If a game can stand on its own two legs and say something to a person who isn't a hardcore gamer, then that's valuable.

Now, that's not something quantitative like the OP seems to be looking for, but as far as I'm concerned, Braid or World of Goo are both worth just as much as Final Fantasy Tactics even though FFT may have had 4-5x more "playtime". I still, more than a year later will ruminate on some of the themes in these games, and the mental spaces and emotions they elicited from me, and that's a value you can't quantify.

At the same time, I disagree with having this perception that value scales based on what "bonuses" or additional play features it provides me. I was never one to buy a DVD for special features, and I'm not one to buy a videogame now for special gameplay modes or whatever. I wouldn't pay more than $25 for any game, regardless, but then I am also a poor graduate student so that's probably a factor as well.

There is no one size fits all measurement (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869292)

I think you just have to play a game. You either enjoy it or you don't. Cost per time may work in most instances but I wouldn't have said Street Fighter 2 was less worthy than Tetris just because I've played Tetris longer or that Portal wasn't very enjoyable despite being very short.

The Romans said (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869410)

De gustibus non est disputandum

      Gaming experience is highly subjective, and therefore there is no way to measure it. Therefore you are attempting to measure a subjective gaming experience by measuring objective quantities associated with a game: time played versus cost of game, etc. However these are not necessarily indicators of a good gaming experience, any number of other subjective variables come into play, such as attention span, willingness to become involved in the game world or user interface, etc.

      In other words, you could pay professionals to do expensive market research into what makes a "good" game rather than just asking slashdot, and still walk away with doubts - because after all there's always the chance that 1) people who are willing to take time to answer surveys and participate in research do not necessarily represent your target market and 2) people lie on surveys.

      There's no sure thing to any business venture - it always involves risk. Common sense (and looking at past successes) should tell the game maket what people want. But if you stick to that, you'll just keep making newer versions of the same product, the gamers will get bored. So innovation is also necessary. But there's no way to be absolutely certain about what makes a "good" game. Usually when you try to make everyone happy, however, you end up disappointing everyone. Look at a game like Falcon 4.0: it never sold much, it was over priced, and it was complicated as hell. And yet no other fighter jet simulation comes close, it has a loyal fan base, it has been modded so far from the original that several different, stand alone games now exist based on the old original Falcon 4. We're talking over 10 years later, which is a lifetime for computer games, and many people (myself included) still play it. But it's a niche game, with very loyal (but very few) followers. Then look at something (I will stick to combat sims) aimed at a broader market: Combat Flight Simulator 3. Without modding, it is generally considered a flop for many reasons, despite having an adequate user interface, adequate flight models, adequate graphics, etc. However it did not excel at anything. It tried to please the arcade type gamer and the "hard core" gamer, and failed at both.

     

Hours played is irrelevant (1)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869420)

The only thing hours played tells you is how much time you've sat in front of the game.

This would, for instance, make EVE in every way a better game then, say Trine.
I however like Trine much more than I like Eve.

We live in a society where you can have fun pretty much 24/7, except for when doing dishes or when I work, I don't get bored.
I've got weeks worth of sci-fi shows to watch, almost an eternal amount of gameplay from different games.
So, a game which makes me play it for hours upon hours isn't necessarily good, it's just time consuming.

So, I'd rather have really fun for a couple of hours than I'd have an eternal kind off ok game, it's just simply more meaningful.

Of course, there are exceptions like Alpha Centauri which is awesomely fun and very time-consuming, those are the ones which I place on piedestals as masterpieces.
Starcraft would be another such game, as would Baldur's Gate 1+2.

So, no, time-consuming does in no way mean that it's worth more, not unless you have endless of hours to waste and need stuff to do.
Also, social games are kinda strange since you pay to spend time with people, which you could quite easily do for free.

Try accounting (1)

Holammer (1217422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869508)

Seriously, if you start to break down the worth of a game to $/h you might as well take a stab at the exciting & noble art of accountancy. ... and by that logic it's PRICELESS to pirate a game.

How about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30869512)

How about rating games in how many money you would have spent on it?

"What if the game wasn't so good?" (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869554)

Ethical piracy is the solution: download the game, crack it (if it needs) and start playing it. If you like it, pay for it.

If you didn't like it, just delete it.

Very simple (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869560)

It's simple: 1. You average decent game that will give the acerage gamer at least several months of enjoyment (Example: Team Fortress 2): $50 2. Any game that didn't turn out quite right... or a game that is just a mod of another game (Example: Soldier of Fortune series): $30 3. All Major MMOs (Example: WOW, LOTRO, EVE): FREE!!! With a $15 monthly sub... these games do not need a barrier to players even starting them when the player knows they will only get 30days of play out of the game right out of the box. They are idiots for charging for the box) Micro transactions kill your player base eventually and keep away really dedicated players. Stop trying to milk us. They may make each player worth more but those players will start leaving in greater and greater numbers when they get sick of the treatment. 4. Indie MMOs: (Example: Wurm) Free to play, with special severs for those of us that want more that cost $8/month to play or so. If this amount of money isn't enough to pay the bills then you either A. Spent to much making the game or B. Made a game that sucks and you don't have enough player base. In most cases both are true.
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