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Op Ed

Ars Technica - The incredible shrinking game.
According to The Entertainment Software Association, the average game buyer is 34 years old and has been gaming for 12 years. At that age, they have more than just video games to worry about. And unlike when they were younger, they now have more money than free time.

"They've got jobs, families, kids to take care of. They don't have time to sit and go on an eight-hour bender," said Kagel who's 34, himself. "You go to work, you come home, you have dinner with the family, you play with the kids. At the end of the day, how much time do you have to spend on gaming?"

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33. Re: Op Ed Apr 18, 2011, 19:11 cocoreno
 
I can definitely see the merit in the argument of having a tightly focused, shorter game that is fun every moment that you play instead of long and meandering experiences that inevitably decay into tedium or repetition after a few hours anyway. This is not to say that I don't enjoy long games... Assassins Creed Brotherhood kept me enthralled for 40 hours, much to it's credit. As did Risen when I played it a few months ago. However, If I had had to wade through 30 hours of Dragon Age 2, I'd be doubly pissed for a) playing a useless game and b) getting 30 hours of my time wasted by it.

Bottom line, if there's a great game that's long, I'll gladly play it. If a great game is short, I won't complain about that. I don't need a game to be long for it to be great.

Thank you. I agree with this sentiment.

And you are right about Dragon Age II. There is an incredible 8-10 hour game hiding in the 30-40 hour mess that was released.
 
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32. Re: Op Ed Apr 18, 2011, 18:56 cocoreno
 
That's great for you. A lot of people don't feel the same way. Unlike you, I don't get bored if a game takes five hours. I do get pissed if after five hours the credits start rolling.

Also, where all these top-notch original experiences you're talking about? Because I'm not really seeing them in today's gaming industry...

Off the top of my head (PC):

- Dragon Age II (cut out half the content and this game would be even better)
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Machinarium
- Bioshock

They all don't fit my example perfectly. But that was just one case. I also enjoy iOS and PSN games, which cost less and tend to be "shortened" as a result.

And yeah, it is great for me. With so many choices for my free time, why settle for unnecessarily lengthened content? The majorty of games, in my humble opinion, are too long. This industry could certainly do a better job of editing.
 
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31. Re: Op Ed Apr 15, 2011, 22:14 xXBatmanXx
 
This is just an excuse to continue charging 60 bucks for a 5 hour game. Just because someone doens't haev more free time, doesn't mean the game should be more exensive and shorter.....just play less games that are 12 hours long. sheesh.

What a horrible stance.
 
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30. Re: Op Ed Apr 15, 2011, 02:51 Jerykk
 
He told me multiplayer games are usually expected to bring between three and six months of play, and by that measure, he should've been sick of TF2 years ago.

Really? That's pretty sad. Multiplayer games used to be designed to be played for years. If a multiplayer game (or component) isn't compelling enough to last even a year, it's not worth making. Seriously, multiplayer development is significantly harder and more time-consuming than single-player development. There are so many more variables to consider and thus, so many ways the game can break. Publishers would be better off making purely multiplayer or purely single-player games.
 
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29. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 17:48 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 13:44:
That you place a preference on material gain is fine, but saying that that's not the way it works EVER is just ridiculous. I'm perfectly happy with the job I have now, and I don't blindly chase jobs with more money, because the tradeoff in less free time is not worth it to me.

You're talking more money. He was talking more time.
If you decide you want more free time right now what are you going to do? How would that affect your life and family?

More money often equals less free time in the corporate world. Assuming that you make market value in salary, you're not going to miraculously get 20 grand more for doing the exact same job. So if you're chasing better paying jobs, that salary has to come from something you're putting in. Which in the large majority of cases is more hours. (of course you can choose to become better skilled, but you'll still need to put in the time to train.)

If I decided I wanted more free time, I could choose to work fewer hours. I routinely put in 50 or so because I like the overtime pay, but I could scale it down. Right now we enjoy the extra money. Probably sometime this summer, I'll go back down to 40, or if I wanted to I could even do 35. And if that's not enough, I'd find myself a part-time job.

So again, just because it's not a valid solution for you, and I'm not bashing you for it or anything, doesn't somehow make it a non-valid solution for anyone EVER.

Creston
 
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28. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 16:58 Tumbler
 
"You go to work, you come home, you have dinner with the family, you play with the kids. At the end of the day, how much time do you have to spend on gaming? shove some food in your mouth, and play games until 2AM."

LOL, even if you get a night off you'll find a message saying, "Have fun tonight honey, and can you wash the cars, do the dishes, go to the store and buy groceries, clean the family room, vacuum the living room, and fold the clothes? But that's all, have fun playing Video Games!"

R U KIDDING ME WITH THIS @#$@#?!
 
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27. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 16:24 PHJF
 
"You go to work, you come home, you have dinner with the family, you play with the kids. At the end of the day, how much time do you have to spend on gaming? shove some food in your mouth, and play games until 2AM."

FTFY
 
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26. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 15:39 Verno
 
Ahh fair enough, my bad.  
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25. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 15:31 Steele Johnson
 
Verno wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 13:56:
While I don't agree entirely with your thoughts Steele I would note that while 5 year dev times can lead to a classic like Dragon Age: Origins, it doesn't mean that large quantities of time guarantees quality as evidenced by Mafia II. On the flipside though short dev times seem to produce mediocre crap like Crackdown 2 and Dragon Age 2 the majority of the time.

Verno, when I said "You can't expect "time" to have any factor in that; the game designer still has to create something special." I meant it in terms of past and present, not how long it takes to make a great game. My point was that it's still up to the designer to create an amazing game. There's very little difference between now and then. So when I hear gamers say that older games are better than the games coming out today, I just have to laugh, because as a long time gamer, I've been finding great games all along the way. Some of the best games I've ever played came out this year and last, and I've played all the popular console and pc games that came out since the 80's. But of course, everyone has their own taste.
 
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24. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 14:35 ASJD
 
Too much emphasis on procreation. Damn traitors to the nerd race.  
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23. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:57 spindoctor
 
I'm 28, I work from home (which means I set my own daily schedule) and even then I can't find more than 2-3 hours in a day on average to play games. Once in a while I binge out and play 8 hour sessions for 2 or 3 days but then my schedule gets messed up for the next 2 weeks. It's rarely worth it.

I can definitely see the merit in the argument of having a tightly focused, shorter game that is fun every moment that you play instead of long and meandering experiences that inevitably decay into tedium or repetition after a few hours anyway. This is not to say that I don't enjoy long games... Assassins Creed Brotherhood kept me enthralled for 40 hours, much to it's credit. As did Risen when I played it a few months ago. However, If I had had to wade through 30 hours of Dragon Age 2, I'd be doubly pissed for a) playing a useless game and b) getting 30 hours of my time wasted by it.

Bottom line, if there's a great game that's long, I'll gladly play it. If a great game is short, I won't complain about that. I don't need a game to be long for it to be great.
 
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22. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:56 Verno
 
While I don't agree entirely with your thoughts Steele I would note that while 5 year dev times can lead to a classic like Dragon Age: Origins, it doesn't mean that large quantities of time guarantees quality as evidenced by Mafia II. On the flipside though short dev times seem to produce mediocre crap like Crackdown 2 and Dragon Age 2 the majority of the time.  
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21. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:53 Steele Johnson
 
PropheT wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 12:24:
Prez wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 12:09:
I personally am not a multiplayer person, though I will moonlight as cannon fodder every now and again if TF2, BF2, and Bad Company. The whole value/justification for a game's price for me is in it's single player. 4 hours is not a full-price purchase for me, unless the 4-hour campaign is so re-playable that it can be finished multiple times for maximum enjoyment, in essence making it an 8 or 12 hour game.

I don't disagree with you, but the only full price games I can think of off the top of my head that have a 4-hour single player campaign are shooters designed for their multiplayer anyway. It's pretty rare to find a game that's really that short that's not a $20 budget title.

I also disagree with the people saying that good games are hard to come by these days. I'm 34, been gaming for more like 28-29 years, and games now are better than they ever were unless you're either blinded by nostalgia or more understandably really, really liked how the more simplistic classic games worked. Those games are still around and being made by indie developers, though, so there's something for everyone out there.

I agree for the most part. I'm a 35+ gamer and have been playing games for a long time. I don't think that good games are harder to find than they were years ago. The difference is that there's more games coming out today. Out of the pile of games that come out each year, there's probably just a few good ones. Years ago, there weren't as many games coming out and there was far less competition but there were still "just a few good ones" that came out each year.

It seems like a lot of older gamers expect that after all these years, more great games should be coming out. But that just isn't the way it works. A great game is something magical that a developer creates. You can't expect "time" to have any factor in that; the game designer still has to create something special.

I'm just as happy with games today as I was 20 years ago. The only difference for me is that I don't have as much time, and I think more developers should think outside of the box a little more. But other than that, I can always find great games to play to fill a year's time; just like 10 or even 20 years ago.

I think most people who complain about the games today are just stuck in their own memories and can't find their way out. Sure, lots of memorable games of yester-year, but there are lots to remember coming out today.

This comment was edited on Apr 14, 2011, 13:59.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:49 Verno
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 13:09:
If everyone had more money than free time, they'd work less and have the time to be able to play these games.


That's not the way anything works. Ever.
I have way more free money than free time. Should I work less? Well that's not really possible, as any job I may find that allows me to work less comes with a fairly substantial pay cut. Plus while $60 for a game may not be much for me I'm looking more ahead at getting a new M3 or the AMG C-Class coupe coming up. So I need my job in order to get either of those. I also want to be able to buy a really nice apartment, I never want to lose the ability to leave the country for a weekend whenever I feel like it, and I'll want to send kids to college eventually. All of those things require I keep seeking jobs that pay more and more.
And none of them are impacted by blowing $50 or $60 for a few hours of fun from time to time.

That's because you don't have a wife and kids. Your budget changes drastically when you do. You won't be able to swing a 50% income to expense ratio and have a pile of money leftover unless you work in oil or have an extremely successful business. The worst part is that often times even if you do your wife and kids basically spend in direct proportion with your income growth. Don't get me wrong having a family is great but you're describing a bachelors budget. There's a reason most of North America lives in credit and it's precisely because they buy things they can't afford. Forget the big things too, consumers spend themselves into bankruptcy one little $50 purchase at a time much the same way a gambler does.

Anyways we're getting off topic but I just wanted to comment on the budget thing. The shift from being a bachelor to a married man with a family is pretty drastic and most frivolous $60 purchases start to get weighed. Assuming you're the slightest bit responsible anyway.

This comment was edited on Apr 14, 2011, 13:54.
 
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19. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:48 Tumbler
 
Don't need to read that article to know this describes my situation to a "T". I have one daughter and another on the way. I bought a separate power supply for my 360 so I can move it from my family room to my bedroom if the wife wants to hang out in the bedroom when it's possible for me to play games. Family life works as long as you can play your games somewhere that the family can be as well. So I play games sitting in a chair at the foot of my bed after our daughter goes to sleep and my wife is in bed browsing the internet on her phone. (or on my phone before we bought her a smartphone)

So many games I buy I simply never get around to playing, that is why paying $5 for games is just about all I can muster these days. I've had crysis 2 sitting on my nightstand for at least 2 weeks, I played it for a few hours the first few days I got it and last night I forced myself to play it just so I could feel like getting it wasn't going to be a total waste.

I'm planning on trading it before it hits one month old, goozex offers incentives to trade newer games within a month so I have a deadline, either play the game now or come back to it months later. So my goal ends up being to beat the SP campaign before the 19th because portal 2 will be here, then MK a week or so later and I doubt I'll want to play crysis 2 after that...

Playing games isn't about finding the money anymore, it's about finding the time. I'm ok with paying $5 for a game I might never play, but not $60. It's not worth it to me anymore. Luckily with trade in credits and amazon credits the options are diverse enough that I can get my hands on all kinds of games that I might want to play while having spent little to no real money.

For example I'm paying $13.20 to get Portal 2 on PS3 and Brink via amazon because I traded in games, earned credits etc. I can swing those numbers to buy games. MK I'm getting for $3, LA Noire I'm getting for $3, etc. $60 is really rare to spend on a game...but I did that on Bulletstorm so it happens every so often.

This comment was edited on Apr 14, 2011, 14:00.
 
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18. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:44 Beamer
 
That you place a preference on material gain is fine, but saying that that's not the way it works EVER is just ridiculous. I'm perfectly happy with the job I have now, and I don't blindly chase jobs with more money, because the tradeoff in less free time is not worth it to me.

You're talking more money. He was talking more time.
If you decide you want more free time right now what are you going to do? How would that affect your life and family?
 
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17. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:41 Hyatus
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 13:09:
That's not the way anything works. Ever.
It's called becoming the boss.

I have way more free money than free time. [...] I'm looking more ahead at getting a new M3 or the AMG C-Class coupe coming up. So I need my job in order to get either of those. I also want to be able to buy a really nice apartment, I never want to lose the ability to leave the country for a weekend whenever I feel like it, and I'll want to send kids to college eventually. All of those things require I keep seeking jobs that pay more and more. And none of them are impacted by blowing $50 or $60 for a few hours of fun from time to time.

And how much are you making?
Nobody I know right now can buy a nice apartment, a new car and still believe they can send their kids to college while considering a $60 game a sound idea.(well, except the doctor my wife works for)

Looking at all of those expenses on the horizon, I wouldn't look at my wallet and call what's in there "free money".
 
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16. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:29 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 13:09:
If everyone had more money than free time, they'd work less and have the time to be able to play these games.


That's not the way anything works. Ever.
I have way more free money than free time. Should I work less? Well that's not really possible, as any job I may find that allows me to work less comes with a fairly substantial pay cut. Plus while $60 for a game may not be much for me I'm looking more ahead at getting a new M3 or the AMG C-Class coupe coming up. So I need my job in order to get either of those. I also want to be able to buy a really nice apartment, I never want to lose the ability to leave the country for a weekend whenever I feel like it, and I'll want to send kids to college eventually. All of those things require I keep seeking jobs that pay more and more.
And none of them are impacted by blowing $50 or $60 for a few hours of fun from time to time.

That's still a personal decision. Rather than feeling you HAVE to have an M3, you could buy a 20,000 dollar car, and realize you don't have to chase those jobs that require you to put in 60 hours a week. You can get a job that pays your bills and allows you (and your family) to live well, and have plenty of time available to do what you want to do.

That you place a preference on material gain is fine, but saying that that's not the way it works EVER is just ridiculous. I'm perfectly happy with the job I have now, and I don't blindly chase jobs with more money, because the tradeoff in less free time is not worth it to me.

Creston
 
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15. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:26 Creston
 
dds wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 11:27:
While it's true that I have more money than time these days, using that as an excuse for 4-hour single player games is a cop-out

I disagree. I'd happily pay $59.99 for a top-notch totally original experience.

I do it for concerts all the time. I do it at bars all the time. I do it at restaurants with others all the time. I do it for sports games some of the time.

In fact, if you count up all the hours of gameplay I've missed because I've stopped playing due to boredom or repetitiveness (hi Dragon Age II), those hours would easily be 75% vs. the 25% I *actually* played.

I don't think I've ever finished a game and said, "That was too short!", and I've been playing since Ultima III on the Apple.

That's great for you. A lot of people don't feel the same way. Unlike you, I don't get bored if a game takes five hours. I do get pissed if after five hours the credits start rolling.

Also, where all these top-notch original experiences you're talking about? Because I'm not really seeing them in today's gaming industry...

Creston
 
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14. Re: Op Ed Apr 14, 2011, 13:13 gilly775
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 14, 2011, 12:25:
The average game buyer is 34 and has been gaming for 12 years? If that's the case, why the hell does CoD sell 10+ million units every year? You'd think older, more experienced gamers would have higher standards.

Because Generation Y and below outnumber us Generation X'ers. I would *hope* that Generation X isn't a majority of those CoD numbers....
 
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