March 3rd, 2012

The Movie Measuring Stick

Whenever I hear about the price of games, I always here it compared by some to the price of a movie per around two hours of entertainment. The price of a movie is usually quoted $8~$12 depending on where you live, extra discounts, etc. “So!” it is said “A game for $60 is a STEAL! :D!”. No I don’t agree with this at all. Why? Because it is never asked if people want to pay $8~$12 to see a movie and have that experience. It is assumed that people enjoy paying that much. They also ignore that the number of people going to theaters has decreased, and last I checked was at an all time low. For whatever reason people aren’t going to watch movies as much anymore, probably because of cost VS spare time. They’d much rather save the gas and spend the $12 towards the DVD or Blu-Ray, or even spend the $8 or such and stream it online.

Another reason why the movie measuring stick fails, is that a movie is a set length of time. If it runs for 120 minutes, it runs at 120 minutes (unless edited for TV, then it runs less). Games on the other hand have varying times of completion. However the stick is always applied to some magic invisible number of hours that the game makers FEEL that you should be having. A movie is a personal experience to someone, the running time of the movie is the entertainment to be had. A game? Not so much. The simple fact that it’s one hundred hours to finish might actually detract from the amount of fun being had. Thus someone walking out on a movie is out ~$10 VS $60 and with the whole DRM schemes/download only and such designed to thwart people reselling the game, that $60 is gone for good. Also movies usually come with extras and bonus features (deleted scenes, director commentary, etc.), where games take the opposite approach and try and hack and much out of the game and still be playable and sell the rest off as DLC.

“Well then what’s a better stick to measure with.” Good question. You know what often gets overlooked when talking about game pricing, but arguing about games? Books!
Books provide hours of entertainment and can be scaled to games better. It may take someone two hours to read a book VS a whole year or more. Games are the same way, where someone can complete the $60 Skyrim in two hours, some people are still playing on it. You can skip parts in books, and games sometimes have side quests or such you can skip as well. The cost of a book is around ~$8 depending on the book, length, format, etc. I think games should be held to book standards. Considering a book can take forty hours to read, and that game takes forty hours to play, how about that? “NO!” your cry “That’s too low!” Well maybe you should restructure the price scheme away from movies and more towards something more realistic like books, where $8 buys you more time and more content, considering how much gets cut out of movies that are based on books. People usually agree that the book was better.


One response to “The Movie Measuring Stick”

  1. KA101 says:

    Books as better than movies: Support. Books allow for reader imagination and free repeating/pausing/etc, which theater presentations don’t have.

    Books as more analogous to games: Want to support. Most games nowadays are getting less distinguishable from movies: fixed plot, cutscene-heavy, sometimes on rails altogether. Not sure the on-rails nature of a typical fiction book is something I want in my gaming. Still, the price of a DVD or book is a better analogy for gameplay than the cost of a theater ticket.

    Concur re extra content v. DLC point: that’s one of the reasons I don’t buy new games anymore.