The value of games

“Over 9000 dollars” by 8bitpikachu

Every time I slam down fifty bucks for a new game, there’s always one person in my circle of friends who says: “Huh, that’s pretty much dough for a bunch of pixels. Sure you couldn’t have invested that in something else?” Of course, I always reply that he should shut his japper and let me just play my new game, but the question got me thinking: how do you put a price tag on digital entertainment?

Personally, after buying a game, I always divide the price I paid by the number of hours I invested in it. If the average price per hour is lower than the price per hour of seeing a movie at my local cinema, I know that I got a bargain. Why compare it to the price of seeing a movie? I don’t know, it just feels like the right measurement to me. So, when I paid forty-five bucks for Mass Effect 2 back when it was released, and it turns out I’ve invested about sixty hours in the game, having paid less than a dollar per hour sounds like a real deal.

Of course, this is just my way of explaining to my conscious that I made the right choice. How do you measure the value of your gaming investments? Let me hear your calculations!


  1. Hmm, I never thought about it like that, but that’s pretty smart. That way it gives a positive vibe whenever I look at a game and think “OMG did I just spill so many hours of my life on that?!”. 😀

  2. I simply measure it by how long it has kept me occupied for- generally less than £1 an hour is what I aim for. So if I watch a review and see that I can blast through the game in a short space of time and not replay it ever again, I make sure to buy it when the price drops.
    In terms of value- I compare it to my bills. One full price game is approximately half a month’s food, or more than a months energy bill. I’m pretty stingy with games. The only ones I’ve brought at full price are Pokemon soulsilver and Gw2
    .GW2 I brought at £35 and have 500+ hours clocked up, with each hour of gaming costing me <7p. Yay!
    Interesting thought 🙂

  3. Time versus cost works, but I don’t find it effective enough. It’s more or less a gut feeling rather than anything scientific, but I like to quantify in my mind the relative value of the experience as a whole. Time is certainly a factor, but so is Freshness/Newness.

    I think Time also underestimates the social value of certain new games, such as those where you managed to play with others or share your experience with others when it was a new experience for many people around you.

    1. The social aspect is actually something really important missing from my equation. If I buy a full-priced game just like all of my friends, play with them for just a few hours before realising the game sucks, did I waste more money on it than a game I would’ve played by myself for 100 hours? Or does the social experience weigh more than those hours? Interesting thought…

      1. Brink is a good, negative example for me. I convinced all of my friends to buy it, which didn’t take a lot. We all got it day one, booted it up, and immediately … we realized it was pretty much terrible. We all gave it our own fair share of time but abandoned it soon after.

        Now, I lost a lot of respect for that. People typically appreciate my opinion. BUT, the conversations we had about what made it such a bad game afterward were almost worth the price. Almost.

  4. I always use the Hour/Cost analysis when looking at games. RPGs almost always outstrip the cost if you don’t count multiplayer modes (I’ll volunteer at a school if I just need to hear adolescents scream obscenities). But I also have a hard ceiling, I will not pay more than $X for a video game.

    As a secondary tactic a few years back I took a video game break, put myself about 3 months back on playing releases. Even if you only play new games the difference in cost from $60 to $40 for every game makes for a happy bank account.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s