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Coming Soon, Shorter Video Games

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the can't-play-bored-now dept.

Games 637

Hugh Pickens writes "Blake Snow writes that according to one expert, 90% of players who start a game will never see the end of it and it's not just dull games that go unfinished. Only 10% of avid gamers completed last year's critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, according to Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions. 'What I've been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube,' says Keith Fuller, a longtime production contractor for Activision. The bottom line is people have less time to play games than they did before, they have more options than ever, and they're more inclined to play quick-hit multiplayer modes, even at the expense of 100-hour epics. 'They're lucky to find the time to beat a 10-hour game once or twice a month,' says Fuller of the average-age gamer. 'They don't feel cheated about shorter games and will just play a longer game for as many hours as their schedule allows before moving on to another title.' Even avid gamers are already warming to the idea of shorter games. 'Make a game worth my time and money, and I'll be happy,' says Casey Willis. 'After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring.'"

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WHAT!?!?!?! (5, Insightful)

d.the.duck (2100600) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128892)

So I can spend 50 -60$ on a 20 hour game? Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I'm after. Sounds like a good way to keep development costs low and reap in more profit. I call bullsh*t on this.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (2)

Scutter (18425) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128952)

So I can spend 50 -60$ on a 20 hour game? Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I'm after. Sounds like a good way to keep development costs low and reap in more profit. I call bullsh*t on this.

+1

I don't mind a shorter game, but I better see a lower price tag as well.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129096)

+1

The thing is, though.. I don't mind shorter games if they don't end up being a large plot crammed into that shorter story, or have a very flat story to begin with.

I.e. I wouldn't want Half-Life 1 to be crammed into a game that's only 1/3rd the original length.

To stick to Half-Life.. if they took its plot and story length as it ended up being, but split it up into 3 titles in a series.. the lab area, battling the military chaps, and the alien world.. that'd work quite well.

Unfortunately, it seems more likely that these shorter games do end up being crammed versions, or that the shorter games are largely uninspiring.

And then at the end of the day, the developers say "well, that was fun but still not very profitable... back to chucking birds/lining up gems/building turrets/feeding the cows/building a gorgeous game that will exist only by its multiplier grace but hey it'll save us the trouble of thinking up storylines as the players will be too busy fragging".

cynical? me? nah.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129330)

Like I said, the key is not the length of the game, the key is not doing the things that make the game fucking boring to gamers.

If I put the game down for a weekend or a week or two due to Real Life, and then come back and there's no way to get back into the character and remember what was going on in the story, then I'm done with the game.

If I play the game for 15 hours and hit a Celda-style "Hey Link, go waste 60 hours sailing around the goddamn ocean looking for the 8 pieces of the Crappy Macguffin before we'll let you back to the main story" setup, then fuck that, I'm done. Likewise for games like the Final Fantasy series, where I have to spend 30 hours or more running around the side-areas level grinding before taking on one of the bosses.

I'm fine with a short game like Super Mario Bros that has almost infinite replayability and remains fun. Or the old-school arcade games that are the same way. I'm not fine with games that have inflated, worthless "X hours of gameplay" listed right there on the goddamn box, like being proud of forcing the players to go through 100 hours of level grind is something to be fucking proud of.

If the game designers would stop giving a shit about how "long" the game was, and instead start making sure the game was fun from start to finish, then they'd be doing a hell of a lot better. It's not that multiplayer is the holy grail, it's not that people actually fucking enjoy level grinding (let's face it, most gamers don't play Call of Duty more than a month because by the time you play that long, you're SO done with the immature fucking hyperleveled kids who play all day long and shout "fag" into their headsets whenever they score a kill), it's that people want to have FUN when they play.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129106)

This is somewhat accurate. Reality is that game prices are just ridiculous to begin with. Whether it's 100 hours long or 20 hours long, no game is worth $60. $30 is a reasonable "premium title" price.;

Meanwhile, what is the reason for the 100 hours thing? At first, it was quality (SNES, PS era). Since then, it has become "we've made an elaborate timesink to make this shit take 10x as long as it should". I've only seen square be one of the few developers to let people complete their games quickly if they so choose or get as in depth with it as they want in recent games.

The rest are "do this a billion times to proceed to the next level" or hamstringing a player to complete something. This doesn't equate to quality or solid gameplay, in fact it's a defining point of the exact opposite.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129236)

Really? 100 hours of entertainment at $60 seems like a deal to me compared to say 2 hours for $10 at the movies. In fact, pretty much all other forms of entertainment typically cost something in the region of $5 an hour. By that measure, games are insanely cheap.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129256)

While I certainly am uninspired by much of what has the temerity to bear a "$59.99" sticker, I don't understand how you can declare the category illegitimate as a whole:

If there are games that are acceptably worth $30, surely a game that provided twice as many man-hours of enjoyment would be worth $60(being essentially equivalent to buying two $30 games that just happen to have some sort of narrative coherence)?

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129166)

Should we be surprised?
We have been paying more for less for a while now.
You know that bar of soap you use in the morning? If you thought it looked smaller, it is.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129242)

Super Street Fighter II retailed for $70 in 1994. Adjusted for inflation that's about $101 today. Most top tier games are $60 right now. So all things considered we're making out Ok.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129348)

Wait, so you are saying that a game back in 1994 which was less complex, less graphically impressive, but popular in the arcades would have cost more today?
Interesting relational point of view. pppffttttt

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

greyline (1052440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129206)

Development costs are not the only expense. There is writing the script, voice actors, expert consultations, etc. that could potentially go into the total cost of a great game. So, if a game is short, but sweet, the "normal" $60 cost could, in theory, be totally justified.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129234)

I know I've been out of the loop for a while, but video games end? I thought they just kept getting faster and faster until you have to play at superhuman speed. At that point the blocks reach the top, or the alien ship reaches the bottom or whatever, and if you're lucky you get to put in your three letter initials onto the top ten board and feed some more quarters into the machine.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129324)

I'm with you on this. As an avid gamer, I'm used to getting more bang for my buck. A lot of my favorite games could easily go 100+ hours in a single playthrough. Granted, RPGs tend to be longer, in general, but even some of my favorite shooters, like No One Lives Forever, were quite long.

This just goes along with how developers are trading in single player experiences to focus solely on multiplayer. I feel like a part of a dying breed.

And as one of the 10% that actually DID beat Red Dead Redemption, I've got to say the other 90% missed out.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129332)

I'm happy if in the process of halving the game length they halve the costs.

Otherwise - it's a bullshit cost-cutting measure to me.

Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129380)

i don't have a problem with shorter games, as long as there's replayability.

example: metal gear solid IV.

there's even an achievement for fonishing it in 5 hours or less. the faster that i finished it was 10 hours, but i replayed it some 10 times before selling the PS3 to a friend.

so bring the short games, but make them so there's enough variation to ensure that i'll want to play it over and over again.

wat!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37128906)

o_O *actually* games are too short..

FRIST POAST (0, Redundant)

snarfies (115214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128910)

I'm potentially cool with a shorter game - If I get a lower price tag attached to it.

Re:FRIST POAST (2)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128932)

Yeah like that will ever happen.

Re:FRIST POAST (1)

Certhas (2310124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128998)

I think 50$ for 10 hours is a fair price actually. Comparable to what you get at the movies.

Re:FRIST POAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129044)

Which is also rediculous... $50 for a game is too much, $50 for a game that promises half as much (in terms of time) fun than a game 2 years ago is WAY too much.

Re:FRIST POAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129194)

Its completely insane.

Also if there is to be justification for this, a game like Red Dead Redemption is NOT it.

The game is only fun for maybe 10 hours.

They need to look at a game like Dragon Age:Origins first, then get back to me.

Re:FRIST POAST (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129316)

I played Red Dead Redemption for weeks. I was planning on completing it, but my PS3 died and I haven't restarted. I'd only done about half of the plot and had spent a lot of time doing all the outposts, catching bandits, playing poker, doing the treasure hunts, finding ingredients, etc.. my brother on the other hand just blasted through the plot in 2 days or something.

I'm still planning on going back and playing the game again, but just because I didn't finish it yet doesn't mean I don't want the full plot there to keep the game interesting when I feel I've had enough of exploring..

Re:FRIST POAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129366)

I must have missed the first time around when it was just diculous.

Re:FRIST POAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129208)

Cheapy theater around me is 3$ for a 2 hour movie... that's only $15 for 10 hours worth of movies

Re:FRIST POAST (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129218)

That doesn't help your argument. Movies are overpriced.

Re:FRIST POAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129274)

$50 for an 1/8th of Real Sticky Icky will entertain you for days. I mean, we're just blindly comparing things that cost $50 here, right?
I'll take the dank, thanks!

Re:FRIST POAST (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129410)

I think what you mean is the movies are a total ripoff and nothing should be priced that badly.

I might pay $10 for 10 hours, but that would be about it.

Re:FRIST POAST (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129018)

More likely you'll see quality improvements. Instead of having artists level designers, testers, etc spreading their effort out over a large amount of content you'll get those same people concentrating solely on a small set of content.

The other thing you'll likely see is DLC based expansions to the short game.

Re:FRIST POAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129048)

Lower cost for shorter games; not gonna happen. A 25-hour game will be the same price as a 75-hour game on the same platform. If the price does decrease, $40-50 for example, developers and publishers will continue to leverage $10 DLC for incremental/episodic content resulting in an $80-90 game that may run 30-40 hours not counting the multiplayer experience.

Re:FRIST POAST (1)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129378)

You do get a lower price tag. 6 months after launch when you buy it for $5 in a Steam sale.

(I haven't paid full price for a game in three years because of Steam, thanks Valve!)

Analog For Everything? (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128912)

'After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring.'

That could be said for every other form of entertainment (including sequels, threequels, etc), work, relationships ... you name it.

Of course the real reason for this is paid DLC, but hey, we're just doing it for our customers.

Re:Analog For Everything? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129252)

Indeed. This is about wringing more money out of the customer, not about bringing them better games.

Also, not having finished a game doesn't mean it was too long. It might mean that you want to be able to pick up the game every now and then, and continue playing, always seeing new content. I'm happy when I know I have lots left to do in a game, precisely because I am a casual gamer who doesn't want to spend the little time I have buying extra content instead of just continue playing.
That a game is bigger than I will play through is why I'm willing to buy it!

Price..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37128924)

Just as long as these shorter games don't cost $40-$60 each and have a storyline worth playing, I'd be open to trying shorter games.

Something seems really off here... (3, Interesting)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128936)

For some reason, I feel like Bioware should have something to say about this. If most of the people who played Mass Effect didn't finish it, I will shit a brick. The type of game and how it's presented matters a great deal more than length. Failing to finish a Rockstar game is no surprise whatsoever; they're not necessarily bad, but an open-world game almost always has that one goddamn mission that makes you really want to quit it. I think San Andreas was the only one I've ever finished myself, and I don't have anything to do with my time but play videogames.

Re:Something seems really off here... (1)

d.the.duck (2100600) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128966)

I didn't finish Dragon Age II. Largley because they reused the same damn map OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I think they will welcome this.

Re:Something seems really off here... (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129188)

Yep. I loved DA:Origins, but just couldn't finish II.

Re:Something seems really off here... (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129126)

Since you mentioned RockStar, I don't think I ever finished a game of theirs. Repeat, repeat, repeat, same stuff. Shorter games? In the last year I've yet to finish Angry Birds. Started on iPod, got an iPhone, couldn't stand the graphics on iPad so I got the HD version.... each time start back to the very start.

60 minutes, 60 hours, give me a good game and I'll play it up. Just don't charge the 60 hour game price for these 60 minute games if all you are doing is lopping off fluff content. Give me a 60 minute game that moves me to tears and causes me to rethink my life because it is just that epic, then it would be worth full price.

Re:Something seems really off here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129148)

For some reason, I feel like Bioware should have something to say about this. If most of the people who played Mass Effect didn't finish it, I will shit a brick. The type of game and how it's presented matters a great deal more than length. Failing to finish a Rockstar game is no surprise whatsoever; they're not necessarily bad, but an open-world game almost always has that one goddamn mission that makes you really want to quit it. I think San Andreas was the only one I've ever finished myself, and I don't have anything to do with my time but play videogames.

Yes, I admit to not RTFA, but I wonder if they are counting all the side missions and acheivements in Red Dead and Mass Effect, et al. I certainly finished both as well as practically every video game I've ever bought. Rented? Most of those too. I do have less time than I did, but when I have a window I want a deep, immersive, awesome and LONG game. I think of the big gaps between blockbuster titles/sequals like the huge wait between good TV series. I need a long game to give me a fix in the interrim and that's exactly what MAKES it worth $60.

Re:Something seems really off here... (4, Informative)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129170)

Mass Effect 2 had a lot of player statistics being collected:

Recent statistics gathered by Mass Effect 2 snooping revealed that the Engineer is the class least played, whereas the Soldier seems to be the overall favorite. Roughly 50-percent of the people who started Mass Effect 2 actually finished the game, whereas apparently two PC gamers completed Mass Effect 2 twenty-eight times. 15-percent of the in-game dialogue was skipped as well.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Mass-Effect-2-Casey-hudson-Console,11248.html [tomshardware.com]

Re:Something seems really off here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129352)

I can only hope that the 15% of dialog that was skipped didn't include Mordin, otherwise people might have missed this [youtube.com] . And if you haven't heard Gilbert and Sullivan sung by the crazy hyperactive doctor, you can't really claim to have finished the game.

Re:Something seems really off here... (1)

itchythebear (2198688) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129406)

Yeah, same goes for KOTOR. I played through that game many times, and that was a pretty long game if you did all the side missions.

The reason why a lot of people never finish most newer games is because they are (mostly)all garbage. It's not about game length, it's about game quality.

Less shit is still shit, we'll just be paying more money per unit of shit.

Sandbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37128938)

The best games are sandbox, where there is no end and you can keep playing. This way you get your money's worth no matter how long you can afford to play.

The problem with other games is, if they're too long for you, you never see the end of them. But if they're too short, you actually feel cheated because that character you spend time leveling up suddenly becomes useless.
Spending time on storytelling is also time taken away from content.

Re:Sandbox (0)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129138)

Oh for fuck's sake.

NO. NO NO NO NO HELL FUCKING NO AND NO.

Sandbox games are the worst type of boring-ass grinding crap. They make Final Fantasy grinding look positively FUN by comparison.

Sandbox translates into "great, you've finished the 4 fucking hours of crapass story we decided to make. Now go shoot some people, fuck some hookers, beat them up after, kill all the cops you can find, and generally make an ass of yourself in GTA 4 till we make GTA 5."

NO. That is boring-ass lazy crap from designers who wouldn't know a real game if someone slapped them right in the face with it.

Re:Sandbox (2)

Lunaritian (2018246) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129232)

Well, I've probably spent at least 100 hours on Minecraft and it is a sandbox game too. Not all sandboxes are like GTA.

That being said, I've always enjoyed games which have no real ending - not necessarily sandboxes though. I've probably spent 100+ hours on Mario Kart and 60 hours on Civ5 in just one year. NetHack has probably taken over 200. None of these are sandboxes, but all are open-ended.

Percieved value. (1)

Dj Stingray (178766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128956)

I had a long conversation with my brother about perceived value and video games compared with the value of a blockbuster movie. I am still concerned why games are still $60 where most Bluray movies are around half the price. Big blockbuster movies HAVE to cost more than the biggest game.

How are game publishers getting away with the $60 price tag?

Re:Percieved value. (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129216)

Well you do also have to keep in mind that on a good movie, they can cram it down peoples throats on new mediums repeatedly and continue profiting for decades, while games tend to make little to nothing 5 years after their initial launch. How many games from the PSX/N64 era have you seen legitimate copies being sold for? Admitted they have just recently started figuring out they can nickle and dime them with Wii downloads and the like. But in general video games have a window of time where they are wanted, and even the classics will never be worth more then a dollar in any other format. Meanwhile movies, can be re-released in every new format that comes out, and people will still pay full price for them every time they are released. You wouldn't be surprised to see someone buying the DVD/Blu ray of the wizard of oz, the first 3 star wars movies, The naked gun, Monty python etc... for $15-$30, but you would probably be surprised to see someone spend over $5 on, super Mario world, metroid etc... Despite the fact that both industries have a continual boost in special effects/graphics, movie fans will continue to see the full value in the old movies, gamers will rarely pay over $1 for a 5 year old game.

Re:Percieved value. (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129404)

Also, the number of people who see a blockbuster movie is a large multiple of the people who buy a blockbuster game. It may come as a surprise to some, but there is a world outside of slashdot, and a lot of those people don't play video games.

The length of time? (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128980)

It's the quality of the game.

Sure, you can "play" RDR. It has a halfway decent story. But it gets lost because of all the damn grinding, and getting lost, and generally farting around in the wilderness shooting birds and wolves. Or you take a weekend off and even with the mission hint system, you can't remember where the fuck you were in the storyline. It's even worse for all the goddamn JRPG's in the world. Or you have Celda Syndrome, where you play for a good 15 hours, and then spend 60 hours on "Hey Link, go sail a boat around the world looking for the 8 pieces of trash so you can make a goddamn macguffin and get back to the fucking story already."

Borderlands does a lot better about it. I can put that down for a month, come back, read the mission descriptions that actually carry some fucking backstory, and get back into my character easier.

Now, do we like shorter games if done well? Of course. Super Mario Bros. can be beaten in a few hours. The Megaman games, originals, had no save points but could be finished in a few hours. The key there is that they can be played over and over and over again, even after you've beaten them, and they are still goddamn fun to play. Just like how arcade games that generally only played for a few minutes - Joust, Galaga, Gyruss and more - were so fun and addictive that they could be played over and over and over again.

But the key is not making the game shorter. The key is not doing the things that make people bored with the fucking game. Avoid grinding. Avoid needless "now you need to run back and forth around the map 50 times for quest X" garbage. And that means a few changes to game design, like making your enemies scale somewhat so that they remain a challenge to a high "level" character while not being unbeatable for someone who hasn't spent 50 hours grinding in the side areas of the game (looking right at you, Final Fantasy series).

Re:The length of time? (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129104)

The key is not doing the things that make people bored with the fucking game.

Exactly. Make a good non-boring game and people will play it. I'd prefer good long games so I get my money's worth, but if they want to make them shorter and keep the price high I'll just use GameFly. Fuck 'em. That said, I still purchased games like Rez knowning that they're short, just because they're too good to pass up.

Re:The length of time? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129112)

I almost wish I hadn't posted on this article so I could mod you up. This is exactly right. Don't include boring things. Just include the fun, and let the game be the length it wants to be.

Re:The length of time? (1)

Bruce McBruce (791094) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129300)

And immediately whatever game gets made like that gets a hugely negative rep for being too easy, and core gamers stay right away from it. We've been conditioned to grind in RPG's, and the distinct lack of trawling through a dungeon to make sure you're at the highest level you can tolerate to play to leaves us feeling as unsatisfied as our girlfriends on those weekend nights we're playing. Shooters, while they've never actually been my favourite, don't ever require a worthless grind but there remains a semblance of skill that leaves players satisfied. It's no wonder they dominate the market these days.

10 hours of awesome 20 hours of awesome (1)

Bwerf (106435) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128986)

That is, to me, if I have two awesome games, and one is 10 hours and the other is 20 hours I will buy the shorter one. Just because it is more likely that I will get to see the whole story. If you want more content, flesh it out with optional stuff like sidemissions or different gamemodes.

Re:10 hours of awesome 20 hours of awesome (1)

Bwerf (106435) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129022)

Great, that > sign fell of. The subject to the parent post should be "10 hours of awesome > 20 hours of awesome"

And the price? (3, Insightful)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 3 years ago | (#37128988)

Shorter games? Fine.. but also drop the price then.

Personally I like my games to be long. It's not uncommon for me to play a 6-8 hour single scenario of Sins of a Solar Empire or Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.

But if they are going to change it like they did with SupCom:FA to SupCom2 where they made it shorter but also just dumbed the game down, then I'm going to be mad. I've played through SupCom2 once, but I still play SupCom:FA.

Re:And the price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129082)

"but also just dumbed the game down"

That has been happening continuously since the 1980's. With only a FEW exceptions, every game made in the past 15 years is a dumbed down piece of sh**.

All the fun left gaming in the mid 90's.

Re:And the price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129094)

"I've played through SupCom2 once"

and that's all they want you to do. Then you have to buy another game.

Oh, and don't even think about trying to sell it as used either.

The industry have to create 'bad' games, 'short' games, games with no replayability in order to sell new games. The last thing they want is you playing your old games multiple times instead.

But as long as they still get AAA+++ scores in all the reviews, people will buy them, and the broken industry can continue to be broken.

Attention of a gold fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37128992)

I thought today's games had already been severely shorted down compared with their olde counterparts? Some games for the Commodore Amiga could take one 1,000 hours to beat. You were truly elite to finish a computer game back then.
Now they want make games so sterile that they cost more per hour than visiting the latest block buster 3D movie? In part, structured gaming itself is dying in a social context where people are constantly multitasking and sociallising through damn cell phones and Friendface. If people are living lives where they can not dedicate any real time or thought into doing anything structured in their lives then they're not living at all.

Re:Attention of a gold fish (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129280)

In part, structured gaming itself is dying in a social context where people are constantly multitasking and sociallising through damn cell phones and Friendface. If people are living lives where they can not dedicate any real time or thought into doing anything structured in their lives then they're not living at all.

What's funny about this -- as if I need to point it out -- is that it laments that all these modern distractions are taking time and attention away from playing long video games.

. . . it occurs to me that this might have been very subtle sarcasm and I just "whooshed" myself.

Coming Soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129010)

Shorter Sex!

Studies reveal most men can't be bothered with this tiring and laborious process and would rather skip straight to the orgasm. As such there has been a sharp demand for drugs that actually induce premature ejaculation.

To sum up the article, people are after getting so bone lazy they can't even be bothered playing a game anymore.

Certainly not true for me. (1)

fortfive (1582005) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129014)

Games with stories and epic gameplay that are worth a damn are what I want to play. I can't imagine I'm so special as to be among a 10% minority.

Re:Certainly not true for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129086)

+1

For me, Baldur's Gate II was by far the most enjoyable game I've ever played. It's lots of fun to play through it again in multiplayer mode with friends.

Another example of short attention spans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129028)

Since the advent of electronics and the pace of everyday life, the human attention span is dwindling down to nothing.

I don't get it (2, Interesting)

koan (80826) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129036)

Why do people enjoy playing against a computer? I play COD, Quake Live, Battlefield, and several others, never touched the single person mode, can't stand playing a computer, it isn't interesting.
But playing people, much more fun (and aggravation) than any computer opponent, they learn and adapt, conversation is possible and the greatest blast of all, a pub game where your human team actually works together.

It should all be multiplayer IMO, but apparently some people like playing machines.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129120)

Some SP scenarios are pretty elaborate, a human player wouldn't or couldn't play you any time you want, etc. There are so many reasons what you say doesn't apply to every game.

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129174)

Because:

* a computer doesn't call you a "noob fag" over XBL if you're better than them.
* you can play at your own pace without having to hang around waiting for other people
* the story can be the driving force and you can concentrate on it, instead of trying to read quest or backstory while your 12 yo "co op partner" is tea bagging the quest giver's dog
* no griefing

A good bit of multiplayer can be great - LAN play on Quake 3 Arena was a blast, as is hosting a direct-IP Civ4 game for your buddies. You'll note that neither of these things involves an online multiplayer hub owned by the game company designed to get you to play with strangers.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129224)

Partly you answered you own question when you mentioned aggravation. Otherwise - it depends on the style of game you like. Simulation games, citybuilder games, open-ended sandbox games - I don't think they gain a great deal from multiplayer. Or if they do, they would turn into more of an MMO game (I'm thinking space trading sims compared to EvE), which some folks don't want to or don't have time to play.

YMMV of course.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129230)

Because anyone with a few hours to kill can play against a computer and have some fun. When you have a family and a job, you can't put the hours in and you get the crap beaten out of you by human opponents. Then the abuse comes flooding in either from your own team for dragging them down or from the opponents for not being as good as the kid who plays one or two games for hours at a time and has mastered them.

Sensible people don't like paying large amounts of money to be verbally abused.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129258)

But playing people, much more fun

Because we get sick of assholes? Also, multiplayer makes little to no effort at immersion which some players enjoy.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129270)

As shocking as this may be, there are actually games other than FPS deathmatches.

Re:I don't get it (1)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129296)

This argument works for only certain limited game types. I find all the games you mentioned boring...run around shoot people yay....I like the games with a story to tell and a character to build. And no MMOs don't count in that regard at all. In order for multiplayer to work most games have to dumb down everything and simplify the game to its most basic level so it can be repeated over and over and over again in short order.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129358)

Story? Character development? Not being teabagged by a 12 year old while they hurl racial slurs at me?

There are many reasons.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129368)

I don't like the multiplayer experience. If all games become multiplayer games, I will grab my dice and head to a friends house and never touch the video game console again. I don't play video games to play with other people. I find the entire experience worse. When I sit down, I want to play through an experience. I'm not playing for the challenge or difficulty most of the time. I want to go run through the streets of Rome and relive the Renaissance. I want to go live through the world of Rapture and experience the works of Ayn Rand interactively. I don't want the pressure of playing with other people. I would already be pushing the mute button on everybody so I didn't have to hear them while I was playing Call of Duty. I don't like constantly being shot at by people who play the game 80 hours a week during my 1-2 hours of free time where I can play the game during the week. I don't like having to worry about lag which makes the game unplayable.

Playing single player gets rid of those worries and offers me something that I can't get elsewhere. It's similar to why I would go to a movie, except that I get to control the character and pretend to be part of that world.

On the other hand, co-op where both people can be on the same screen? I'm in. Loved that I could do that with Borderlands (I played through that entire game with my roommate).

Wow, really? (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129038)

I've already pretty much given up on console gaming in lieu of MMO's because I want more than 10 hours of content in a game, and now they're pushing to make games shorter??

Jesus. Gaming sure is starting to suck...

The problem is the learning curve (3, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129050)

When I was a kid, I had time to master a game because I could play hours and hours, and hours. These days, I'm lucky if I get an hour of gaming a week and on bus/plane trips when I'm on vacation. So, take my last vacation: I advanced nicely on GTA Liberty Stories on my PSP (Yes, yeah, I know... ). I come home, go back to normal life. Would I pick it up again, I'd be stuck. Most of the story has been forgotten, the level of skill required is definitely not "in me" anymore and the only option I have is to restart the game.

Which is what I do... Ever seeing the "end" of GTA. Never gonna happen.

Sometimes, I just hit a hard wall within the game. I have Assassins Creed "Bloodlines" on the PSP. I played and now I'm simply stuck at a boss. I played for hours and hours, trying to beat that damned witch, but I can't. Back in my youth, I'd probably just have persevered, but now, I just put it aside. Haven't touched the game in a year, probably ever won't again as I'll have to start again and probably get stuck at the same "wall".

This, to me, is the nature of gaming at a certain age. Yes, I'd rather finish the games too, but I don't think making them shorter is going to help. A dynamic adaptation to the skill level of the player would be much better for players like me.

The Problem Isn't How Long They Are (5, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129074)

The problem is that most of them suck, in some way. Either the control system sucks, which will make even the most engaging game unplayable for me. Or the gameplay is boring and unengaging. Or in some cases I can't get into (Or outright despise) the characters. I could have played Beyond Good and Evil for another 60 hours and hold it forward as a shining example of awesomeness that didn't last long enough. Magna Carta sticks in my head as one that might have been an awesome game but which had a cumbersome control system that I just didn't want to deal with after a couple of hours. The games with crappy gameplay or characters (or both) are too numerous to list or even remember.

I'm betting the "good" games have a substantially higher finish rate than the "bad" ones. So perhaps instead of making games shorter, you should make them not suck instead.

I agree (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129084)

"After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring."

Actually, I agree. I'd rather spend more money on less game-time if it meant a more awesome experience.

Having said that, it's possible to offer both. My all-time favorite games (Oblivion, Fallout 3, FO New Vegas) each gave me 200+ quality hours. Even considering that that's multiple play-throughs, that's an insane amount of value. I think one of my Oblivion play-throughs was 150+ hours all by itself.

Most games seem to try to stretch things out to reach those hours, and end up boring me into quitting a few hours in. I'd probably have enjoyed them if they'd shortened the game but kept all the real content.

I passionately disagree (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129100)

On the mobile front I agree wholeheartedly but for my at home recreation I completely disagree. The last couple of Modern Warfare single player campaigns frustrated the heck out of me they were so short. For me the games are an interactive novel of sorts. They need a good story to go with them or they are just run around point and shoot over and over. I really enjoyed Resistance, Fall of Man not because it was a great game but because I enjoyed the story of the game. That made it that much more disappointing when I played Resistance 2 only to find out they had ditched the character I had become and started from a completely different arc. That is also why I so enjoy the Mass Effect franchise and how every decision I make effects my game play even in the sequels. I have played through many times to see what my character can become (and who I can hook up with). I can't wait for ME3.

Just release it in episodes (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129134)

Take Gears of War. All together, the three games are probably 24 hours of content. It's taken about 6 years to release all three.

If they released them as 4 hour episodes for $30-$40, each with the full multiplayer experience, they could have probably done a release every year that most gamers would buy and play through without complaints.

Re:Just release it in episodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129198)

4 hours for $40? I'd rather watch 2 movies for the same amount of time, thank you very much.

Shorter may be convenient...but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129156)

I like short games and I like long games. I'll find time to beat the long games if they're compelling enough. Compelling is, of course, subjective but I think it's more important for developers to consider that games like "Red Dead Redemption" have mostly slow elements punctuated by action sequences or cinematic elements. "Final Fantasy", "World of Warcraft" and others make up time by level grinding or gold mining or other menial, time consuming tasks that most players are required to do but just doesn't have time to devote to staring at an animated character do the same animation for 3-5 days straight to advance the story. Maybe "long" game developers should have some accelerated play options, like gaining XP when the game is played after a week or two hiatus - game developers "rewarding" a returning player. After all, WE DO PRETTY MUCH FUND their existence.

Length is pretty fuzzy... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129162)

In all but the most rigidly (mal)designed games, "length" has long been fairly fuzzy. Virtually every shooter, for instance, if it even bothers to have a single player campaign, won't be too terribly long(and if it is long, most of the 'length' might well consist of backtracking for keycards through recycled art assets slapped together by the we-just-don't-give-a-fuck intern); but it will have a multiplayer/bot mode of some sort or another that will keep people busy for as long as they want.

RPGs are often rather similar: In Diablo II, say, you started running into enemies that were just the same damn sprites as an hour ago, tinted a different color and shooting 'energy blasts' instead of fireballs, and the game was quite upfront about the fact that the dungeons being crawled were programmatically stitched together out of a set of tiles. On the other hand, while "original" content started to run dry within hours, the game provided the option to play, play again on harder difficulty(possibly two rounds of harder difficulty), play in "hardcore" mode, etc, etc.

RTSes usually have the same basic mechanics as FPSes: a fairly limited single-player campaign; but multiplayer/bot battles until you get bored of the whole thing.

If games start artificially force-quit-after-the-cutscene ending on you, just so you'll buy the unlock code for "Chapter 2, the DLC that isn't actually downloaded because it was on the disk the whole time", that would be unacceptable. If, however, the point at which the art/story people start just phoning it in and adding additional 'length' by changing the tints and HP numbers for new enemies is being slightly tweaked, that'll be a trend that goes back as far as I can remember, and has always been a touch subjective in terms of where "new" ends and "recycled" begins.

The poor bastards on the consoles, of course, are likely to get the worst of it; because many PC games have their novel lengths radically boosted by modders; whose works are often unavailable or DLC-ified on the console side...

Red Dead Redemption as the example ? (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129164)

I got bored out of my mind in this game. Ride here, shoot 5 things. Ride there, capture a rustler. Rider there, harvest 5 herbs. Over. And Over. And Over. Again!

On the other hand, last year I finished Arkham Asylum, all 3 of the Assassin's Creed games, Dragon Age Origins, and Fallout 3.

Red Dead might have been fun for others and given them the game play that they wanted. Those same people may have been bored by the games I _did_ finish. Different strokes for different folks.

Re:Red Dead Redemption as the example ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129282)

I got bored out of my mind in this game. Ride here, shoot 5 things. Ride there, capture a rustler. Rider there, harvest 5 herbs. Over. And Over. And Over. Again!

On the other hand, last year I finished Arkham Asylum, all 3 of the Assassin's Creed games, Dragon Age Origins, and Fallout 3.

Red Dead might have been fun for others and given them the game play that they wanted. Those same people may have been bored by the games I _did_ finish. Different strokes for different folks.

Also, Rdr's ending sucked. This thing called the internet allows people to complain about it to their friends, which they did. A flashquit occurred, if you will.

Re:Red Dead Redemption as the example ? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129386)

RDR was boring as fuck. MGS4 was also very long, but not boring at all, but I'd be willing to bet it has a similar completion rate because it was difficult despite how awesome it was.

Heck, I wouldn't have finished Adventure . . . (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129184)

. . . without some help. There was always someplace hard enough (or tricky/gimmicky enough) that I couldn't get past it, and eventually I just plain gave up. Then I gave up on video gaming, period, and went back to RPGs and board games with people.

Mario had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129192)

This is why I love the old school Mario bro's games. They were long if you played all the way through but there were hidden shortcuts to get to the end faster. These where great becuase you could hurry up and beat it to get the gradification but if you really liked the game you could play all the way through with tons of new challenging levels that did not require you to play the same boring levels over and over again. This way they could keep both people happy. I feel riped off if a game I like is to short.

Dear Game Developers (2)

drobety (2429764) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129200)

Please, stop making the game character die over and over and over and over in the same few f*****g spots in order to make your game feels as if it LAST LONG. Wake-up! We are not in the 80's where dying over and over was a requirement in order to suck in the next quarter. Also, how difficult is it to add a few program lines like so:

if ( num_deaths > 10 ) { transient_difficulty_level = RETARDED_NOOB_LEVEL_LOL; }

GODAMMIT!!&*&&@

I see the point. (3, Interesting)

wiggles (30088) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129222)

The list of games that I was forced to give the tl;dr treatment to and have never been finished:

Final Fantasy 7
Final Fantasy 8
Bioshock
Deus Ex
Metroid: Prime
Metroid: Prime 2

Took me 15 years to finish Final Fantasy 1

Hate the game, not the gamer (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129226)

The reason people aren't finishing contemporary long games is that they suck. Seriously: if a game can't hold most people's interest long enough to finish it, there is something wrong with the game.

Part of the problem here is that game developers are focusing overly much on story at the expense of the gameplay. A good story can grab people at the beginning and end, and at climactic points in the middle, but no story can keep that up throughout the whole game. Between those points of interest, the gameplay has to be able to deliver, or the player will get bored: often so bored that even the promise of more story doesn't hold them. And in many contemporary "story-based" games, the gameplay simply doesn't deliver: either gratuitous complexity kills the fun, or generic mechanics wear out their welcome, or the game gets so linear that it doesn't even feel interactive anymore.

That's why people aren't finishing contemporary, "story-focused" games: because they aren't good games. Story is nice, but it can't make a bad game good. Only improved gameplay can do that. The solution isn't to make shorter games, or even to ditch story; it's to make better games.

Activision... (1)

Capeman (589717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129290)

...started the practice of short games years ago, a 8-10 hour single player game, everything else multiplayer.

Portal 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129304)

Looks like over 60% have gotten the achievement that is given during the final scene for single player, and over 25% for the co-op. Although thats just data from people who played it with Steam fully running on PC (and maybe the PS3...I don't know if that tracks the PS3 version if the PSN/Steam accounts are linked).

I guess this beats making the game interesting (3, Insightful)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129310)

It's been my experience that I'm much more likely to finish a game that has a decent story behind it. I don't mind a little senseless grinding if there's a worthwhile payoff in the end. But so many games these days have only the pretense of a story. There's just enough to loosely tie action sequences together but nothing to really compel you to continue with the game. It's like watching a modern action film. Cardboard cutout characters moving around with big explosions and lots of flashy effects gets boring fast.

I guess this is a "get off my lawn" rant but I think that flashy graphics have ruined games. Without fancy graphics, the game developers had no choice but to make the games interesting. The first time I saw a new console game system with 3D I was impressed by the graphics but the game the guy had was nothing more than just driving around the game world grinding away at some inane monotonous task that didn't seem to have any purpose.

I don't know how many times I spent grinding through Diablo to the end. The graphics were decent for the time but it was the game play that brought me back over and over. I wouldn't have cared if it was done in ASCII art, it was a fun game to play. I haven't broken out a copy of Larn [wikipedia.org] in over a decade but it was one of those games I wasted hours upon hours playing over and over again because it was a fun game.

A couple years ago I was playing one of the GTA games on an XBox. I spent quite a bit of time playing it but realized that I just didn't care about the endless monotony. The story wasn't interesting. And as it turned out, it didn't matter what I actually did on the side, the game forced the story in one direction. And that just made the grind feel pointless. And after spending quite a bit of time on it, I found out I was less than half way through the story. So I stopped playing.

I don't mind grind in a game if the grind has a real purpose. Grind for the sake of grind just isn't interesting. So I guess I'm glad game designers are taking it out and making the games shorter. But it won't compel me to buy and play the new games. They're still not interesting. And even though the cost to me is trivial, they're still not worth it.

Always loved finishing games on hardest difficulty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129318)

But sounds like it's going to be a lot easier and/or at least shorter soon. Doom, Quake, The Half-Life series, Rainbow 6, Deus Ex, Mass Effect, COD and MOH... etc etc..., sure their single player games were different from online or MMO games, but I enjoy the pluses and minuses of them all. Not sure if it's pure economics, or just the rise of the ADD generation, but I for one will mourn the passing of the epic single player games like a dear old friend. Figured once you finished them on the baddest azzed difficulty, you were ready to take on the online realm if available without fear of embarassing yourself, and that tactic worked extremely well for me. Suppose I could play the same game 20 times to get proficient with shorter games, or just run around like a motard blowing myself up till i got the hang of a new game, but to me that runs the surest risk of game ending boredom.

90% of everything is trash? (1)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129334)

"90% of players who start a game will never see the end of it" - because 90% of game content is garbage. Fortunately it's not evenly distributed, so some games are 100% garbage, and some have much less.

Personally I prefer games like the Elder Scrolls series. There's a main plot line that, if you stick to it, you can "complete" in a fairly short time. But if you like the experience, there's a lot of side-quests you can do to extend your playtime by huge amounts. Then there's player created content for free. Then there's expansions. And the potential for DLC.

I also love DLC, in theory. But I don't want to pay $60 for a game, then shell out another $10-20 for add-on missions. What I'd prefer is a shorter core game (10-20 hours) that I can pick up for $30, followed by 3 or 4 good sized (5-10 hours each) DLC packs for $10 apiece. That way if I didn't care for the game, I'm only out $30. But if I like it, I can get that full-fledged 50+ hour experience for the $50-60 I normally would have spent.

GTA San Andreas, Six Years Later... (1)

superdude72 (322167) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129344)

...and after perhaps 100 attempts, I *finally* passed the Burn and Lap challenge, after which it didn't take me that long to finish Driving School, which unlocks the street races and Export / Import missions. This is after I've completed the storyline for the first time 4 years ago, and completed it again once after that.

Is six years too long to be stopped by one stupid challenge from unlocking a significant portion of the game?

YES!

Replayability (1)

JoeWalsh (32530) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129354)

Setting aside the issue of how many games are actually entertaining all the way through...

If a game has high replayability (which essentially means well-implemented, well-thought-out randomization), a 10-hour game would be fine for $50.

The problem is most video games play nearly the same every time through, in which case $50 for 10 hours of entertainment isn't as much of a bargain.

Most of my games aren't completed (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129390)

If I look at the titles I have for my Nintendo Wii, most of them are uncompleted. Even Kirby's Epic Yarn (which I finished) has challenges that I could complete... perhaps one day. The problem is, with everything else going on in my life (family, projects, freelance work, etc), I don't have hours upon hours to grind away at games. I prefer if I can pick up a game, play it during a free hour or two and then put it down.

My son, for his 8th birthday, got Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 for the DS. He had so much fun playing it that I decided to give it a go. It's not an overly challenging game. Dying just means you move back a bit and you appear to have unlimited lives. Still, it's fun and that's what I'm really looking for. Something fun to entertain me for a bit.

There will always be a place for the takes-weeks-to-complete, consumes-your-entire-life kind of game, particularly for the hard core gamer, but there's a growing market for the can-finish-it-quickly-but-still-fun kind of game.

10 hours for a game?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37129400)

I hate to think of how many hours I've dropped into Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion...Wait, no I don't, I just hate to think how long I'm going to have to wait for Skyrim. When's that coming out again??? *pant pant*

I'm probably an odd case (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37129402)

I'm a mission to finish every game I've ever purchased (and still own). I find myself often finishing games years after I purchase them. I often pick up games on the cheap on Steam and don't start seriously playing them for months but I do poke around with them a bit when I first purchase them. I've found the main reasons I don't finish games are boring games that are just bleh, technical difficulties, or just getting stuck on a part taking a break and coming back not remembering what the hell I was doing. I have on occasion found myself saying a game is too long but that is typically because it is boring to begin with. Really good games you don't want to end! If games are getting shorter I hope the prices are getting cheaper, ha fat chance.
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