This is a common complaint amongst gamers today, but I want to clarify a few things before I present my theory: firstly, video games are absolutely not shorter than they used to be; in the early days of this industry, games on systems like the NES weren't long. They just seemed long because they were often so freakin' difficult; if you simply played through them as we would today, they wouldn't last more than a few hours. Just look at one of the iconic titles; the original Super Mario Bros. could easily be beaten in no time at all (check YouTube for silly fast runs). Secondly, I don't believe in arbitrarily making games longer simply for the sake of expanding the play time. Just have the length match your vision; if the pacing is right and the game rules, I really don't care how long it is. None of us should.

2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a perfect example. The single-player campaign could be completed in only 4-6 hours, and while the online multiplayer represented the title's primary appeal, people were a little miffed over that campaign. Well, I suppose it may not correlate well to the $60 price tag, but who's going to deny the bad-assery of that campaign? And if God of War III only takes 8-12 hours (depending on gamer skill and what have you), so what ? The game is guaranteed to rock the house. If you want to get mathematical about it, a Blu-Ray movie will run you $25 or $30, which is half the price of a game…but the movie is likely around 2 hours and I can pretty much guarantee that the game will take longer than 4 hours, regardless of the title in question. So it's not really about money.  You always have to do a lil' compare-and-contrast session when you want to complain about the price of something; people don't do this often enough, in my opinion.

However, here's the deal- as the gaming population continues to age, it almost seems inevitable that interactive productions will become shorter. Why? Simple. Adults just don't have as much time as they had in high school or college, and as most anyone in their 20s and 30s will tell you, they don't have the time for long and involved games, anymore. I'm not necessarily in that group (well, I am at certain times of the year), but I certainly understand the sentiment. We really don't have as much time, and gaming may have to adapt to the fact that even the hardcore fans don't have a lot of time to burn anymore. There's a reason why television dramas are an hour and movies aren't much longer than two hours; the mass consuming public needs bite-size pieces of entertainment. I used to adore the 40-60-hour RPGs and while I still want to play them, I just can't all the time. I'll make time for a few of them ('cough' FFXIII 'cough'), but for the most part, I just want to play games I'll know I can complete considering my schedule.

And I'm hardly the only one. Therefore, with the ever-rising average age of a gamer in this country, I think it's only a matter of time before you start seeing games shrink in length. Besides, we all know the production costs of huge blockbuster titles are starting to skyrocket and publishers really have to clean up in order to make such projects profitable. Shorter games will benefit everyone, in some capacity. Yeah, I know; all you dudes between the ages of 12 and 20 are all screaming, "no, no, no!!!" Well, no offense, but that's 'cuz you have nothing to do . I know; I was that age once, too. But things change, and if we don't want to give up gaming, we gotta make time for it. Hence, my theory…

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Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

I hope not.

Xbox_Killer
Xbox_Killer
11 years ago

I concur.

deadduck
deadduck
11 years ago

I agree that adults simply don't have as much time to dedicate to video gaming as teenagers do, but I still say the length of some of these games is hardly satisfying.
Being 18 (not quite 19), I'm kind of in the twilight of the two groups, but gaming is one of my favorite hobbies and I make time for it. And when I go to Best Buy and put down $65 for a brand new title, I'm really hoping for more than the seemingly standard 10 hours or less experience (the aforementioned 'Modern Warfare', and 'Left 4 Dead' have been great disappointments to me in this area, among other lesser offenders).
And this is nothing more than my opinion, obviously, but I feel that graphics and multiplayer have really sapped a lot of depth out of games.
Because developers focus so much on these elements, they typically end up cutting down on the single-player campaign. Characters are left undeveloped and plots aren't very deep (my kudos to 'Heavenly Sword' for doing so much in a relatively short amount of time), and the experience I end up with is 'I shot a bunch of people for six hours.'

I'll stop my whining now, and just summarize by saying that, even if the length issue isn't addressed, ensure that your campaign actually means something to the player and that we didn't just invest our time in an experience that will continue to be topped on an annual basis.

Jalex
Jalex
11 years ago

Okay, this is really stupid, but this is the second time one of my comments has come up as being written by 'deadduck.' What is this?

ThePearlJamer
ThePearlJamer
11 years ago

I find myself not playing alot of the games I've bought due to a simple lack of time. I remember being a kid though and thats was practically my main hobby…

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

That's RPGs. Hardly the majority of games, especially back then.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

but the latest RPG installments this gen have sat around 30 hours.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 7/26/2009 11:42:37 PM

Morals
Morals
11 years ago

sorry I beat MGS4 in 6 hours first try on hard 13 hours second time on EXTREME! beat the first one in like 4 hours on extreme to. NOW the third THAT guy sucked at least 20 hours outa me on hard first time, Damn crocodiles.

ThePearlJamer
ThePearlJamer
11 years ago

@morals

way to be a total prick…

Oyashiro
Oyashiro
11 years ago

FFXII was more of a 20-30 hour game with like 60 hours of padding to me. It felt like I was being forced to wast hours of my time just to get to a plot point that should have been made earlier. Its long play time felt artificial, I never felt like I was making constant progress like earlier installments. Sort of like reading a book. Earlier games in the series felt like you where constantly flipping the pages getting the story as you as you take every step, XII felt more like read a chapter then having to set the book down for a few hours before I can continue reading.

The real question is not if Games are getting shorter. But are games trying to be longer than they really are.

Nynja
Nynja
11 years ago

MGS4 took me 3.5 hours.

For me, games tend to become repetitive after a few nights of gameplay. Unless there is a significant progression system, I'm usually bored of an action game after the first few nights.

There are exceptions, i.e. games with a great story.

Fane1024
Fane1024
11 years ago

@Oyashiro

I love FFXII, but I have to agree; the plot could have been tighter and there could have been a lot less grinding required.

p.s. I spent more than 120 hours on FFXII.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

180 hours and i still didnt master it like the older games. FFVII i could complete it 100% in 80 hours or less.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
11 years ago

It's not just 12 to 20's who'd be screaming, it would also be this 56 year old too.

I don't go online & do multi-player(and I know I'm not alone either), so the single player's all we non-multiplayers have, so no way we'd want to spent $60 for a short-a$$ed 4 to 6 hour game.

BTW, I have a full time job, & I run a motorcycle club too, but I "MAKE" time so I can spend countless hours in a game I'm really enjoying(example: I got Farcry2 about 3 weeks ago, and I've already managed to rack up over 43 hours in that addictive game.
But I must say, this gaming drug of choice is starting to take a heavy, heavy toll on my sleep time, LOL

migabyte
migabyte
11 years ago

Ya, I agree that 60 bucks is a lot to pay for like 10 hours. GOW will be long enough and have some stuff to keep you playing. But actually when I was a kid Nintendo games were so expensive. I paid over a 100$ for some, and some lasted long, they didn't all. You can beat mario world in like 5 hours. They got away with robbery.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

After beating Resident Evil 5 for the 1st time in just under 10 hours, I was pretty pissed. Then when I finished my speed run in 3 hours, i was even more irked. I wanted my money back. Especially cause Capcom promised it wouldn't be possible to beat the game. In under 18+ hours. Games(especially on the ps3) should not be getting shorter. So far the PS3 exusives have had decent playing times. inFAMOUS was about 25 hours, Metal Gear Solid 4 about 20 hours(5 if you rushed). Seems the only games that are gettng shorter are Xbox games and multiplatform games.

mackid1993
mackid1993
11 years ago

No, No, No!! But seriously I can't count how many times i've played Cod4 story mode, it still hasn't gotten old. I can't get enough of Captain Price and Gaz. CHECK THOSE CORNERS!!!!

migabyte
migabyte
11 years ago

I don't know, I don't really think games are getting shorter. I think 10-20 has always been the range for like an action adventure. RPG's are like 30+. There do seem to be some games coming out that are short, especially movie tie ins, but they are just looking for a quick cash in. Muliplayer adds a lot or replay, I don't think the people that love COD have played the 6 hour campaign 10 times, they just love the multiplayer.

Banky A
Banky A
11 years ago

Will I keep getting less time to live?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Here's the thing though, I'm very unlikely to spend all that money on a blu ray unless I know I'll watch it dozens of times. For my movie needs I go to blockbuster, all I can rent for a flat fee. Since I don't have time to beat every rentable game I don't use that service (Sorry I don't do internet rentals, plus I like to collect my games) and for 65 bones I want a decent and relatively lengthy experience. If GOWIII is 8-12 hours then hey that is worth it to me, but if it's 4 hours I'd have a fit.

Although I have a strategy to combat these things, RPGs and Massive titles tend to stay full price, but shorter multiplats and shooters tend to come down in price quickly so I just schedule my gaming so that I wait those ones out to get more bang for my buck.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 7/26/2009 11:55:32 PM

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
11 years ago

@World
<<< I just schedule my gaming so that I wait those ones out to get more bang for my buck.>>>

That's what I gotta do with almost all my games just so I can stretch out my gaming dollars.

Hell, since I don't do multiplayer, I can patiently wait out a year till they've dropped down to my $20 price range.(although I've been f*cking patiently waiting for Uncharted-1 to drop low, but it's still going for $39.99 used at GS, WTF?)


Last edited by BikerSaint on 7/27/2009 12:32:01 AM

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
11 years ago

cuz gs is a legit rip off…..the only reason i buy games there sumtimes are for the preorder bonuses besides that i dont waste my time with that place your better off buyin uncharted on ebay

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

BikerSaint check eBay from time to time. You'll get it for 35 new. That's what I did and I'm friggin' thrilled with this game.

Fane1024
Fane1024
11 years ago

@ World & Biker

You made the points I was going to make and I couldn't have said it better myself.

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
11 years ago

i believe that devs should pay way more attention to a games story becuz yea multiplayer is fun at times but a game shouldnt revolve around an online battle that gives no info on THE STORY n is just to see who is better i personally favor games that dont go online although the CoD franchise has a great multiplayer as well as killzone n plenty of others n honestly i also believe devs are spending way too much time tryin to make game characters look realistic….what ever happen to having a creative art style besides these graphics are primarily for those that hdtv meanwhile most people dont even have one including myself

Morals
Morals
11 years ago

Its not about how long it is first time around, Its about replay value! MGS4 got 500+ hours outa me. Fallout 3 1000+.
Life is good at age 16

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
11 years ago

yea replay value plays a great deal but how do u get a good replay value out of a game with a short n or crappy story…personally i cant replay a game if its short becuz many short games are missing key elements n fallout 3 was not a short game n mgs4 had all those medals to get which actually challenged gamers as a whole but how fun would getting all the medals be if the story wasnt the back bone of the game

ThePearlJamer
ThePearlJamer
11 years ago

@morals

Are we supposed to be proud of you or something…sounds to me like someone needs a girlfriend…and for the record, I highly suspect that you aren't telling the truth..

Morals
Morals
11 years ago

I was going to say I'm not trying to brag, I'm just trying to get my point across. But I thought It wouldn't be necessary.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Actually life sucks at 16. You'll see soon enough.

wquach
wquach
11 years ago

I personally don't think games will "keep getting shorter," on the basis that an average of 5-8 hours for a single player campaign would not yield much of a story (or a good one at that) if it got cramped into a 3-4 hour experience.

That and there will continue to be games that are only single player (and should remain that way) such as something like The Last Guardian. I for one, and certainly other gamers out there who prefer or enjoy single player games heavily, wouldn't be too happy with the idea that they're paying $60 for a 4 hour game.

I feel there is certainly a threshold to the length that a single player game can be reduced to, and that would be around 5 hours (imo). Any less would seem like an expansion pack or additional side quests, a R&C Quest for Booty if you will.

Btw, Blu-ray movies, even those newly released on amazon, run around $20-25 or less. The fact that movies also depreciate in value even quicker than games also wouldn't make a fair comparison price-per-hour wise. I would certainly pay $15-$20 for a movie that left me speechless and deeply moved.

But a game that is only 4 hours long on single player would be a much different experience given that cutscenes, item searching, learning the basic gameplay elements, moving around, player choices, customization and a few tweaks would eat into that 4 hour playtime, leaving a very empty and unfulfilling experience. Granted, those 4 hours may have been awesome, a la Call of Duty 4 style, but it leaves you wanting more, and a bit cheated in a sense. This isn't the same with a 2 hour movie. When it's done, it's done.

Games present a different medium that involves player input, choices, and interaction that takes up more time than being presented by a story in a movie. Thus, they require a beefier play time given that they are still 3X more expensive when newly released.


Last edited by wquach on 7/27/2009 1:12:11 AM

wquach
wquach
11 years ago

Btw, I refer to games that actually have stories in them. The Super Marios, the PixelJunk Edens, and other level-by-level games are certainly shorter than 5 hours if played through without dying. Their game playtime (which typically end up being more than 5 hours) function on replayability, addictiveness, quick access, and simpler game mechanics/design.

What I refer to is games that would not have the same impact if they were shorter. Uncharted, MGS, God of War, or Bioshock played in 3-4 hours wouldn't feel the same.


Last edited by wquach on 7/27/2009 1:25:28 AM

Morals
Morals
11 years ago

@bxshotboi
(forgot to press reply)
I didn't play play MGS4 a million times for the medals, did it because it was fun as hell. & fallout 3 can be beat in like 3 hours just do the main quests.


Last edited by Morals on 7/27/2009 12:52:20 AM

Tim Speed24
Tim Speed24
11 years ago

You are missing the point of games. Playing through at breakneck speed and skipping all the cutscenes isn't what great games are about.

You should slow down and try to enjoy the story and relate to the situations presented in the story. Heck even look at the background scenery…..some games are truly amazing looking.

Also some side quests or collectables can get involving. I for one enjoyed tracking down and battling the Templar Knights in Assassins Creed.

Just speeding thru games and saying "That was short" is hardly worth the effort to play the game in the first place. What did you get out of the game other than bragging rights?


Last edited by Tim Speed24 on 7/27/2009 7:20:28 AM

Bugzbunny109
Bugzbunny109
11 years ago

Why was MGS4 such a great title? Not just because of the good graphics, but because the plot pulled the gamer into the game. As you played the game, you wanted to know more; you wanted to see what would happen next. That is what truly made MGS4 such a great title. Not the cinema, sound, graphics, or gameplay. It was the plot.
The problem is not that video games are getting shorter. The true problem is developers focusing more on gameplay than the actual storyline. I am not saying that developers shouldn't focus on those areas, but they should spend more time making the plots of video games more dynamic, more interesting, and more involving. Because of better graphic chips, developers are being pressured to produce crystal clear graphics. As a result, they produce beautiful looking games with half-assed plots.
Most games on the market today are "just another shooter" or "just another action game". If it continues like this, future gaming will become humdrum. Gaming will become less of a hobby, and will become obsolete, well in a way. Look at all the great titles of this generation: God of war, Gears of war, Uncharted, the MGS4, Splinter cell, ratchet and clank, and the list goes on. If you notice, they all have interesting and in-depth storylines. That is why they are so popular.
Developers need to address this issue. I don't mind sacrificing online gameplay or high quality graphics for a kick-ass storyline. I completed MGS4, and only played the online about once or twice. Without playing the online, I can still say that it was THE best game of 2008.

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

ok, the games are short because there are too many FPSs, and FPS is short cuz how can u shoot for 80 hours.

but I dont see this applies to RPGs this gen, the Lost Odyssey was good for 80 hours, The Last Remnant played 60 hours, and I think Star Ocean 4 will last for at least 80 hours, no to mention Disgaea 3 lasted for 200+ hours. and if we get WKC and Demon's Souls, they will be good for 50 hours at least, the real problem is not games become short, it is we have too little epic RPGs.


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 7/27/2009 1:37:11 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

A thousand point for you, games are shorter because FPS games require little to no story resulting in shorter games. Agreed 1000%.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

In fact those who really love fps are the ones who are online with it all the time anyways. They might not even play the campaign.

Nynja
Nynja
11 years ago

I tried Star Ocean on 360… the story was REAL hard to get into. Pretty game, just… not so sure about the story and gameplay.

I want my turn-based RPGs back (ala Lost Odyssey).

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

@theHignLander

so lets boycott FPS for at least a while cuz we hv plenty of them for now

@Alenage

good point, FPS gamers dont do single play a lot anyway, length does not matter, as long as they can shoot at sth.

@Nynja

yea Lost Odyssey is my fav. RPG this gen so far, I am looking forward to Demon's Soul in less than 3 months, everybody says it is super hard and that gets me excited and hooked.

Star Ocean 4 is beatiful with vibrant colors, I am in the middle of it, have not done it but I like it better than Inf. Undiscovery and Last Remnant, first 2-3 hours is bit boring, but u need to hang on and get pass that before it gets interesting.


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 7/27/2009 6:49:16 PM

Nynja
Nynja
11 years ago

BigBoss; I was actually thinking about it a couple days ago. I still have so many decent RPGs that I haven't finished. As for Infinite Undiscovery, played it for 30 minutes then sold it back. Just couldn't take it. I suppose I enjoy RPGs that tend to focus on older gamers than those that seem to be for the younger crowd.

I cannot wait for Demon Souls. I saw the preview on GameTrailers and been hooked on the concept of the game since.

So many games, so little time.

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

yup, i think Demon's souls gonna be awesome, with its level of difficulty and unique style, will be one of the most challenging and satisfying RPG this gen i think.

and yea, so many good games and so little time, no longer 16 years old, just eat, sleep and then play all days. ūüėÄ

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
11 years ago

MGS4 lasted alot longer than the rest of the MG games, took me 21 hours on my first go.

Uncharted it a good 6-8 hour game, but it has fantastic replay value with all the treasure and reward system, i completed it all before the trophy system was active and then i did it all over again, but i enjoyed it. Fallout lasted me a good 100 hours + and im still playing it.

I'm hoping FFXIII will last a good 60 – 80 hours, i do have to admit i need a new lengthy RPG….. I need a new Final Fantasy.

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
11 years ago

i would love for there to be a new grandia becuz surprisingly grandia 2 took me 90 hours just becuz i liked the story but after 90 hours the boss was just a sissy lmao

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
11 years ago

ands i also think final fantasy 13 gonna be more than just 60 hours since ff10 took me 80 hours to get all the sidequests done and smack all the bosses around with just my all time favorite ff10 character (YUNA)

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
11 years ago

Well lets hope so, FFXII lasted a good 80 hours plus. FFX lasted froever lol, im on like 130+ hours and im still trying to beat all the Dark Aeons, i think i only have 1 or 2 left now, My brother swiped that game off me,i hope he brings it back soon.

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
11 years ago

i have ff12 but i just gave up on it cuz it just got so hard all of a sudden towards the middle of the game mind you i trained my @ss off in the desert n pulled off the longest chain in the whole universe lol

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
11 years ago

lol dont get me started on FFXII, Though in a weird way i am temtped to give it another shot.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

I liked FFXII although it was not the strongest of the 12. I just don't think square is going to be able to top VII or VIII. I invested a good 180 hours into FFXII and still didn't unlock or find everything. It was the 1st Final Fantasy that I didn't master. Shame. That one may have been a bit too long.


Last edited by Jawknee on 7/27/2009 9:56:34 AM

coverton341
coverton341
11 years ago

FFXII is so long because it requires you to level grind. You say you worked like mad in the desert bxshotboi but you didn't do it enough… and that is a pain in the rear for sure. I am replaying it now and remembering why I put it down in the first place. I have just got to Golmore Jungle and am level 26 and finding it that I have to find a good grind place now. That is the biggest problem I have with FFXII. It makes you feel like the game is super long but in actuality it is the forced grinding that takes up so much time.