How many dollars per hour of playtime should a developer charge for a game?

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First, something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. A fool and his money, soon parted. Second, quality over quantity is better left for things like chinese buffet, and scotch tape rather than entertainment.

I wouldnt have said this 20 years ago, but in todays gaming environment, I think the old quarter arcade got it right. Here is why.

As someone who has been self employed far longer than he was ever employed by anyone else, I can tell you that if you dont do your very best job, and please the customer, you dont have to worry about a callback.

Now, when someone puts a quarter in a video arcade, you get to experience just enough of the game to decide if you like it. If you dont, just walk away. And way back when, developers in fact did calculate revenue by the hour, just as todays retailers calculate dollars per sq ft of shelf space.

The thing is, you can stop anytime. Sure you dont own it, but have you read the TOS on a video game? You lease the right to play it. I know some things have changed, and there are some refunds, but with an arcade you can be done, never put anymore money into it, ever, and just write off your pocket change to a lesson learned (crappy game). Or keep playing if you like it

When you own it, well good luck. Sony went after Game Stop for reselling 'pre owned' games, and lost if I'm not mistaken, but your not likely to get much for selling your crappy game, they know that no one wants to buy that game either.

I would pay, by the hour, and cap say %75 completion at the going rate, so a 12 hour game you would fully own at say 9 hours, and you get a licensed copy, or some such.

Demos used to perform the function of 'Try before you buy', and if anyone is wondering, they cost alot to develop (outside of game development cost, including tech support for the Demo), so they stopped, more or less. It was just a pain.

The way I figure it, I would rather pay $5, play for a hour, decide it isnt for me, and keep the other $55 in my pocket, and not be stuck with it. I can even try out 11 more games.

My 2.7 cents

PS: Way back when arcades were the only 'game' in town, pun intended. They capalized on that fact and many made games that were dubbed 'quarter eaters' You had to pump quarters in to: stay alive, get past certain parts, make the game easier. Stuff like that.

Today we have 'options' and I doubt the 'quarter eater' business model would last long in the internet age.
 
The way I figure it, I would rather pay $5, play for a hour, decide it isnt for me, and keep the other $55 in my pocket, and not be stuck with it. I can even try out 11 more games.
But then you have to look at the other side of that. If you pay $5 for the ability to test it for an hour, then you have to be willing to pay $200 for a game you want to put 40 hours into. And I don't even want to think about something like Skyrim, which I came closer to 200 hours. And if you want to get real extreme, I have a friend who has over 24k hours in Dragon's Dogma. So that would have cost him $120,000 for that one game. :LOL:
 
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I'm not sure I agree with this metric.

I think it can be helpful for comparing similar games, eg. GTA vs Assassins Creed perhaps.

But there's some games where this value is going to be artificially high, or incredibly low despite the game being amazing. For example, "idle" games where you're barely playing at all will score incredibly well. Despite the experience being poor (in my view). Or something with a great story like Brothers: A tale of two sons, winning a ton of awards, but the playtime is only a few hours at most.

So I think ultimately I think it should instead be something like $£ per joy-hours. ie. An hour of fun (of some level). Games which are a little boring generate less joy, so maybe 2 or 3 hours of such a game would only be 1 joy-hour.

This means going back to the kissing booth example, a cheek kiss from Scarlet may be worth many joy-hours for some person and perhaps none for others. And so for some (unusual) people a Brian tonsil exam may also be joy-hours of entertainment and so worth the price...
 
Modesty dictates that I recommend the Scarlet option for all.

Demos used to perform the function of 'Try before you buy', and if anyone is wondering, they cost alot to develop (outside of game development cost, including tech support for the Demo), so they stopped, more or less.
Some stopped, others didn't. I imagine it was a quiet backroom agreement between a bunch of devs/pubs. I got most of my casual games at BigFish Games, who pub a game a day, and they have an hour-long demo for every single game.

I doubt releasing an hour from your game costs more than the dev of all those very deceptive high-production trailers we've had in the last decade.

pay $5 for the ability to test it for an hour
That doesn't make sense. If you're mainly a price-sensitive buyer, then wait for the game to drop in price. By that time there will be loads of let's-plays and reviews, so you'll have a great idea if the game suits you—so yeah, extra bennie, save on personal testing time. And that's without gong into the other bennies of waiting.

it should instead be something like $£ per joy-hours
Maybe we're overthinking it? Our sister industries all use a fixed price per product type—a long hardback, a matinee ticket, a streamed show, a seat at the sportsground. It's up to us punters to decide if we want to pay the asked price.

Stadiums and cinemas are packed some days, ¼ full on others. CDs & DVDs sell out or end in bargain bins. I once queued with GF for the midnight launch of a book! So yeah, different for each individual, which I imagine is why retailers adopted and stuck with the one-price-fits-all model.
 
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Let's just have a separate subscription for everything in our lives
Well we do for some things, typically those which are essential for almost everyone—electricity, water, phone, TV, garbage disposal, living quarters, etc. Obviously with varying degrees of "essential", but still a general public utility.

Netflix, Spotify, Hoopla, Game Pass—plenty of subs around in entertainment too, for those who want buffet service.

What about paying $5/hour for that recliner you sit in every day?
You can rent furniture :)
 
Well we do for some things, typically those which are essential for almost everyone—electricity, water, phone, TV, garbage disposal, living quarters, etc. Obviously with varying degrees of "essential", but still a general public utility.

Netflix, Spotify, Hoopla, Game Pass—plenty of subs around in entertainment too, for those who want buffet service.


You can rent furniture :)
Lol. I was waiting for someone to point out the furniture rental thing.

As for electricity, I'm paying for each KW/hr that I use. I'm paying for units of electricity. Same with water. For my house, I'm making payments toward paying off a loan for the overall amount that I paid for my house. Some of the others count as subscriptions, I guess.

But I'm talking about everything. Let's start renting each individual article of clothing we wear, too. Today, I'm wearing underwear, pants, a shirt, socks, shoes. I'll pay $1/hour for each. Plus, it's cold, so I'll need like $2/hr for wearing a coat when I go outside.
 
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/quote WoodenSaucer wrote
But then you have to look at the other side of that. If you pay $5 for the ability to test it for an hour, then you have to be willing to pay $200 for a game you want to put 40 hours into. And I don't even want to think about something like Skyrim, which I came closer to 200 hours. And if you want to get real extreme, I have a friend who has over 24k hours in Dragon's Dogma. So that would have cost him $120,000 for that one game.
/quote

*sigh* I will quote... myself

/quote danthegame wrote:
I would pay, by the hour, and cap say %75 completion at the going rate, so a 12 hour game you would fully own at say 9 hours, and you get a licensed copy, or some such.
/quote

For example, a $60 game that boast 100 hours of gameplay, the devs want $.80 for each hour of gameplay, now atfter 75 hours of gameplay (give or take) you have paid you have paid your $60, and now own a licensed copy. The idea is to incentivise developers to develop game that are fun, and cuts down on the hype.

If you play a game to say %75 in all likelyhood you will complete it, and perhaps play it again.

If you start a game, play for an hour (or less), as I have many, many, many games, you could just quit. I'm only out a dollar or two, Instead I have $1000's of dollars of doorstops I neither want to play, and cant resell. $10, $20, $50 for games I put down.

I used to have literal wall of shame with CD's nailed to it (and then I got married LOL) but have took it down years ago. All crappy games and music, and I think Its worth defining what bad, and what is distasteful.

Bad has poor production, porting, stability etc. Distastful just mean you dont personally care for it for one reason or another.

/quote WoodenSaucer wrote:
If we're doing this for games, why not everything? What about paying $5/hour for that recliner you sit in every day? Let's just have a separate subscription for everything in our lives?
/quote

Testing and return of durable goods is quite common. I can sit in a recliner before I buy it, if the laser on a powersaw wont stay still from vibration making it useless, I can return it. If when she gets home those new jeans make my wifes butt look big, mmm, thats not a bad product, but I bet she returns then.

/quote WoodenSaucer also wrote this silliness:
But I'm talking about everything. Let's start renting each individual article of clothing we wear, too. Today, I'm wearing underwear, pants, a shirt, socks, shoes. I'll pay $1/hour for each. Plus, it's cold, so I'll need like $2/hr for wearing a coat when I go outside.
/quote
Comparing digital to durable goods is a non sequitur IMHO.

I admit, the return policy on some game has certainly eased the tension in that dept. FWIW I would never return a game unless it was absolutely mis represented, or so buggy.

/quote Brian Boru wrote:

That doesn't make sense. If you're mainly a price-sensitive buyer, then wait for the game to drop in price. By that time there will be loads of let's-plays and reviews, so you'll have a great idea if the game suits you—so yeah, extra bennie, save on personal testing time. And that's without gong into the other bennies of waiting./quote

Well, I wouldnt necessarily say I'm a priced sensitive buyer, but there have been many times I paid good money for a fart of a game, or CD, film, or even durable goods. Shady peddlers make a concerted effort to deceive consumers. I am a sniper consumer, I wait, and wait, and watch, let them run in first, and well see if they catch fire, then I think maybe I'm not going in.

Radio plays the hits, film trailers show all the exciting parts, and critic reviews are often bought and paid for. I will tell you stories about gamespot, newegg, and others sometimes.
 
*sigh* I will quote... myself

/quote danthegame wrote:
I would pay, by the hour, and cap say %75 completion at the going rate, so a 12 hour game you would fully own at say 9 hours, and you get a licensed copy, or some such.
/quote
Well, I was partially being facetious when I was talking about making household items be subscription-based. But if you're talking about putting a cap on a game's price, I could go for that. That would be pretty consumer-friendly to do it that way. Which is exactly why game companies would never go for it. They care more about maximizing their profits than being nice to consumers.

It's the same reason musicians originally balked when music started being sold digitally by the song. Before that, they were able to put out a whole CD/tape/record with maybe 5 great songs and 5 more mediocre songs, and people still had to pay the full price of the album, mediocre songs and all. But then when you could start buying MP3s per song, nobody wanted to pay for their mediocre songs, and they lost out on profits.
 
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