About game pricing: The 1 dollar per hour rule

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by multimage, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. multimage

    multimage Well-Known Member

    I keep seeing people bitch about prices of iPhone and iPad apps as soon as it's over $0.99. I know that they might not be the majority, but it saddens me to see that some people are so openly cheap.

    Lately, I've been using this little rule that helps me see if a game has a good price tag or not: The "1 dollar per hour" rule!

    It's simple really, and I use this for every form of entertainment. The formula is quite simple: For each buck that you put in a game, you should be having 1 hour of play out of it.

    Examples:
    Angry Birds: $0.99, played well over 5 hours. Verdict: Cheap
    Skyrim: Got it for 30$, played over 80 hours! Verdict: Very cheap!
    Final Fantasy 3 on iPad: $16.99, estimated playtime of 20 hours: Fair price!
    Diablo 3: $60, played 50 hours: A little too pricey, but I might play again later if someone threatens me at gunpoint.
    Homefront: $50, played 5 hours, total waste of money that I still regret today.
    Bad Piggies HD: $3, already played 5 hours and not done with it: Good price!
    McPixel: Got it at $2 I think, and I played about 2 hours. So OK price.

    It even works for music. A $10 album with a 1 hour duration: If I know that I'm going to listen to it at least 10 times, then its a fair price. Same for movies: $20 for a DVD of a 2 hour movie, if I know I'll watch it 10 times, its a fair price. The rule even works for IAP!

    Anyway you get the point, but this simple rule helps me chose entertainment when there's just too many options to chose from. So next time you see someone complaining about a $3 game, and the game seems to offer at least 3 hours of gameplay, remind them of the 1 dollar per hour rule. I mean, not long ago, arcades were charging 25ยข for about 5 minutes of gameplay. We do live in good times!
     
  2. Royce

    Royce Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2011
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    The problem isn't just cheap people. It's also developers charging $1 for games worth well more. As long as there are myriad $1 games out there worth getting, the over-a-buck-you-must-be-crazy folks will actually have a valid, if stupid, argument.
     
  3. Primoz

    Primoz Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2012
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    1$ per hour rule doesn't work. It depends by each individual how much time they spend in a specific game. (I always manage to squeeze the most out of apps). But I still find some games pricey.

    In my opinion an app is worth as much as people are willing to pay for it.
     
  4. Ajstadel

    Ajstadel Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2011
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    I see some problems with that theory...
    Team Fortress 2: 500 hours for $20 (bought it before free to play) It puts out what you put in, not all of it is the developers work.
    Amnesia: 2 hours for $20. Amazing value. I'm glad that I could experience that.
     
  5. MicroByte

    MicroByte Well-Known Member

    I agree, price vs how much enjoyment you get isn't totally comparable, but I see where you're coming from.

    In the end, if I feel I got my money's worth from a game, movie, cd, then it was worth it. If I had to put a price on something that was more than worth the price I paid, it would have to be Jetpack Joyride - 15 days worth of time for a dollar?
     
  6. I don't know if it is the money involved, but some of it maybe that someone wants to truely enjoy the game that they purchased.

    So if you happen to play a game for over an hour, and you like it, it was a satisfying purchase, if you only play it for 5-10 minutes, it is a terrible purchase.

    So maybe that is how the buck for an hour philosophy rose too. A different version than calling people cheap for this philosophy.
     
  7. smegly

    smegly Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2012
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    The problem is that some long games may compel you to play to completion but you aren't necessarily having as much fun as you would playing something else. For example, after thoroughly enjoying Chaos Rings II and an interest in replaying through it all again in the future, I bought Chaos Rings and Chaos Rings Omega, neither of which I particularly enjoyed despite how similar they were to 2. However, I still tried to get into them because of the fact that I bought them, but I was basically forcing myself to do it and would rather have spent that time playing something else.

    The benefit of low pricing is that it offers a lot of variety to the player. Someone with some access to reviews and forums like this is almost guaranteed to get more entertainment out of 10 dollars spent on 10 different games than on one 10 dollar game. That doesn't mean they won't buy a 10 dollar game, but so long as they are cognizant they could have spent that money more effectively, the expectations for that game ramp up a lot.

    Another thing is that people pay for IAP to speed things up too. Someone who has played Subway Surfers for 20 hours for free probably isn't having less fun than somebody who spent 20 dollars on it. Not to mention that that free game is probably generating more revenue for its developers than most pricier games are generating for theirs because a lot of people are not cheap when it comes to putting money into something they already know they like.
     
  8. Greyskull

    Greyskull Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2009
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    Photographer/Social Sciences adjunct/sweet sweet l
    Fort Lauderdale
    If I followed your rule, I would never have purchased a single iOS game. I can go to GOG during a sale and pick up Planescape: Torment for 3 bucks, for example...and I know it won't suddenly be updated with IAPS.
     
  9. DigitalB33R

    DigitalB33R Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2010
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    You cant compare Angry Birds with Skyrim.

    Its $1 for a really basic pop culture game vs a game that has been in years of development and offers hundreds of options and hours of replayability.
     
  10. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2010
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    college student, ENG/WGS major
    Lexington, KY
    I see what you're saying, but yeah, it definitely depends. The quality of a game is equally important as the length/replay value.

    Best value for me: Dungeons of Dredmor: $10 and 450 hours. But I'd give those hours twice as much weight for sheer fun. $10 for 900 hours!

    It's coming out on iPad eventually so I expect that to double. :)
     
  11. multimage

    multimage Well-Known Member

    I disagree that you can't compare Skyrim with Angry Birds. I look at it this way: They both are a product I can buy and they both aim to provide entertainment. How much was put into the production of the game doesn't have anything to do with it. Want I want to know is if I'm going to get enough hours of entertainment out of the investment.

    Of course, to each his own! I just find this rule to work well for me. It just fits who I am. Even since I was a kid, I was making similar rules. Like "would I get 1 week of fun for a week's allowance?" Later on it was: I worked 3 hours for 15$, am I going to get 3 hours out of my purchase?

    Looking back, I guess I did get cheaper. But I think that's because I used to buy one expensive game that lasted for a long time. But now there's way too many games to pick from and I kind of want to play a lot of them, so I prefer to buy more at lower prices.

    Also, I am not a completist. I have so many games in my backlog that I can never see myself playing a game for completion if it doesn't provide me entertainment anymore. When a game is boring, I give it a 5 minutes grace period. If I'm still not having fun after that, then I stop playing. So when I say I put 20 hours in a game, its 20 hours of fun.

    By the way, I'm not saying that a game should be priced depending on the playtime. I'd never want to buy a 450$ game because you can get 450 hours out of it. I'm just making sure that it passes my 1dph rule. As soon as it does, I don't care if I'm going to keep playing or not. :)
     
  12. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    I personally like to buy games on the day of release as i want the dev to get as much money as poss from the 99c or $1.99 game etc.

    A lot of it is that i'm in my 30's and older than a lot of gamers here, back in the 80's (yes i've told this story a lot !) games were often $15 each, there was a budget range of about $3 but often this was 'pot luck' but as the games were 'cheap' you didnt mind 'as much'. But saying that pocket money was low back then so after saving a few weeks for a game or two you were so disappointed if you realised it was rubbish and you had wasted that money.

    Here we have a lot of quality games for a buck or two. I mean again - a buck ! But whats sooooo depressing is the people who wait for pricedrops, i mean if a games $1.99 surely you dont have to wait ? The worst ones are the ones who are like vultures and wait for games to be free.

    Then the next day post that they hate freemium games ! The way i think is the more money devs make the more games we get, the more devs will want to create iOS games as theres money to be made, and we wont get as much freemium crap.

    So many games i get enjoyment out of for a week or two and for the price of 99c or so its amazing value. But to me freemium isnt killing the app store, its the people who wont get a game and wait till its free over and over.
     
  13. bramblett05

    bramblett05 Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    I'm a gamer so I think there are some people who wait for games to go free because of the crashes. Lets say one dev puts out a game with a lot of crashes and never fixes them. Well month later the same dev puts out another game well using math less percent is gonna buy most importantly the ones who bought the last game. Waiting to go free is not about money (sometimes) just more cautious. 99 cents is a try and buy but prices like gameloft has is more of if you don't like it well tough luck. How about devs put out lite versions more often?
     
  14. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    Get your point but i think its mostly about money. But on the other hand the more people who buy a 99c game the more chance there'll be of bug updates or new levels. If everyone waits and is cautious then devs wont add extra content (or even fix bugs)

    If we ALL waited for games to be free the app store would disappear, devs wouldnt bother making games for iOS as theres no money in it and they'll move to the next profitable platform. The reason theres so many great games is that people buy a lot of games so devs want to release more and more.

    If we all stop buying then there wont be as many good games for sure.
     
  15. bramblett05

    bramblett05 Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    Point taken. But one thing that needs to stop is flash games and games that are on line for free and on here to play is ten bucks ran into a few that were on rpgmaker.net. I bought the chaos rings and part 2 for 17.99 is a good price it looks like a ps2 game but square added spoken subtitles which is pointless add that to iap which is another point. Stop make the game file bigger than it needs to be rings might have been 700mb maybe at the least but added crap we didn't need so it goes up in size. It's not a point about why people wait for games to go free just wanted to rant.
     
  16. smegly

    smegly Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2012
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    People aren't really consistent about what they slap the name "freemium" onto. There are plenty of expensive games that have either speed-up IAP, like the ability to buy game money, content unlocks, or IAP exclusive items. I don't really understand how people who supposedly won't buy a game with IAP are getting much of a selection because they aren't left with much. More likely, they are ignoring the fact that some games have IAP.
     

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