Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Gaming cost per hour

I was curious, and none of the sites tracking this sort of thing could easily provide me with the stats per game, so I looked up what I’d paid for a few steam games and how much effectively I’d paid ‘per hour’ to enjoy them. here are some I checked…

Battlefield Bad Company 2 & vietnam add on £0.15 / hour
Dishonored £2.30 / hour
Hearts of iron 3 £1.87 / hour.
Sim City 4 Deluxe £0.14 / hour
Defense grid £0.43 / hour
Skyrim £5.86 / hour
Tropico 4 £0.62 / hour
Wargame:European Escalation £30.00 / hour

#It;s very interesting doing this, as it immediately shows me how impulse purchases at full price with no demo, based on a video are always my nemesis. Wargame:EE was a nightmare for me, whereas Battlefield BC2 is a huge gain. In fact, that figure is way lower if you discount the vietnam DLC. In that case, it’s a clear example of the company getting more from me in DLC (at full price) than the base game, something the stats show I’m clearly very happy to do (they clearly earned it). Something else that becomes clear is that this doesn’t really match my enjoyment of the game that much. Hearts of iron 3 clocked up a fair few hours, but did I really enjoy it as much as dishonored? I’d say definitely not. Another way to look at this is to say that, for example I’m happy to in general pay £1 an hour for quality gaming entertainment. By that measure the costs should have been:

Battlefield Bad Company 2 & vietnam add on worth £107
Dishonored worth £13
Hearts of iron 3 worth £8
Sim City 4 Deluxe worth £17
Defense grid Worth £4
Skyrim worth £4
Tropico 4 worth £10
Wargame:European Escalation worth £1

of course this assumes I have as much fun with each game, which isn’t entirely true.  Even so, who would have thought I could justify spending 100 times as much on one game as I did on another, but that has to be the rational conclusion. Maybe those F2P whales are more rational than I assume?

7 thoughts on Gaming cost per hour

  1. It’s interesting to consider how this compares to one’s entertainment spending per hour in an arcade, where every game is highly visible for a sort of free demo.

  2. I’m very sorry you didn’t enjoy W:EE. It was one of the highlights of the year for me (along with XCOM and FTL. Oh, and Skyrim) and a strong contender for one of the best games I’ve ever played. Then again, I haven’t played an online FPS since I threw down the ET 2142 however many years ago that was, so I’d probably hate Battlefield.

  3. It’s interesting you like FPS’s so much, when the games you produce seem to be quite the opposite sort of game.

    Also worth considering the value of your time – it’s not currency that’s in shortage.

  4. Umm…

    It is interesting – I struggle to buy new games for exactly the same reason as Cliff in that videos don’t really show you anything (Especially when they say “Not Game Footage” !!!!) and demo’s are weak…

    So the three games I get the most out of are oldies but still goodies:

    Birth of the Federation – Still playing it over 10 years on…..
    Age of Empires III (With the expansion packs)
    Starship Tycoon – I do wish Cliff would look at a remake / reboot of this…

    I think the thing that I still like about BotF / AoE is the “fog of war concept” as I enjoyed this in the original Dawn of War elements before they changed the engine – Sandboxing was also one of the reasons I loved Star Wars Galaxies.

    There is another side to this arguement that for the Big games companies that they don’t want you to play a game too long as it stops you buying the next new game…??? (Or am I being too cynical ?)

    (It would be interesting to know from their side which they prefer to sell – Online time / shops (a la MMORPG’s / FTP MMORPG’s) / New game / Expansion pack?

  5. In efforts to keep track of spurious spending, I’ve done much of the same thing. Though, I value my time a bit less (mostly due to exchange rates) since the goal is $1/hour or less is considered “worth it”. Most of the time, the DVDs and games make it but there are a few that don’t. I find the RPGs (my favorite) take long enough that I enjoy it (but some take too long).

    And then there are games like Sentinel Worlds 1 (it is less than $0.001/hour) and Master of Magic (also less than a penny an hour) which I seem to enjoy playing for hours after hours.

    Cool to see you talking about it.

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