Many consumer packaged products (like coffee) have two ways to increase price. Method one, raise the price for the same amount of goods (content) in package. Method two, keep price the same but lower the amount of goods in package. For instance, coffee used to come in 16oz canisters, then 14oz, then 12oz, then 11.5oz but have kept the price stable on a canister of coffee for years. It is a 'backdoor' way of effectively increasing the price.
Many many products do this as raising prices is much more noticeable to the consumer. Game prices have remained very stable for years. Consumers expect to pay around $49.99 for a game. But, game creation cost have really gone up to support the advanced graphics. So, instead of raising traditional prices, companies are cutting content. I'd suggest you get used to eight hours of gameplay!
Kevin Albright, Koios Works LLC
I often find it odd when people complain that a game should have been longer. I understand the argument for value for money but quite frankly I would much rather a short but enjoyable experience than a long and tedious one. To me more important than game length is game density. F.E.A.R was a fantastic game with one exciting set piece after another. Even though it only took about eight hours to complete I enjoyed it so much that I played the game again, and will most likely play it again some time in the future. On the other hand, games like Baldur's Gate verge on frustration with their repetitive hack and slash mentality. You might be getting more hours of gameplay but quite frankly that's time I could be spending playing more exciting games or tending to the other aspects of my life. It's also odd that people won't apply the same logic to a game like World Of Warcraft. That's great value at fifteen dollars a month for anywhere up to fifty hours of gameplay or more (depending on your addiction). That's less than forty cents an hour and still people claim it is too expensive. I guess some times you just can't win.
Ian Uniacke, IR Gurus
I think game length is directly proportional to fun-factor. If you have a long game, but it's long because you have to back-track a lot, or go long distances, or try and retry sections, this doesn't make it fun, and I would want the game to be shorter (like 10-hrs or less). Inversely, having a fun game with a lot of variety should have a much longer play-time (even 40 hrs can be ok). In today's modern gaming lifestyle, many of us are now adults who have steady jobs, and not that much time. We want games that are short, so that we can catch up with our backlog of games (I still have PS1 games I haven't played!). Money isn't really an object, as dropping $50 a month on a game is fairly reasonable entertainment. It's also important to have a quick pickup-and-play, put-down-and-work aspect as well. Handheld games that have quick-saves that are short are highly attractive.
Daniel Lam, Digital Eclipse
Game length is very important for me. I think that most story-based action games should not last more than 8 hours, shorter is better. I feel just OK with 6 hour lasting games - they don't take too much of my life and don't contain unnecessary bulk "just to make it longer." Publishers actually force the developers to make longer games, and games suffer from this. The shorter is the game the more time you can spend on polishing within the same budget, the more condensed and cinematic is the narrative. Max Payne, The Chronicles of Riddick, Indigo Prophecy, Gears of War; I doubt that making any of those games longer would make it better. But I know lots of games that would be much better if they were shorter. Let Doom 3 be an example. You can add value to your product by lots of other aspects such as good multiplayer, replayability, simply a desire to experience it one more time - like great books or movies or albums do. But killing the game by adding several hours of water to meet publisher expectations can not be forgiven.
Taras Korol, Crytek
Sometimes, the nature of the game lends itself to replayability...like Guitar Hero, or Karaoke Revolution, which can almost always be broken out when you have friends and family over for a good time. Or in a game like Tony Hawk's Project 8, where the large streaming world has a ton of nooks and cranny's for you to discover and hone your skills on. I'll admit that I'm not much of an RPG player since the qualities above don't really apply (except for MMOs and the multiplayer deal). In RPGs, the only quality I look for is epic ... ness. After playing through the game, I should have laughed, cried, felt stressed, been happy for it to feel like I've gotten my money's worth.
Personally, when I check the game boxes on the shelf and see "more than 60 hours of epic adventure!" I quickly put back the box where I took it and check the next in line. Lengthy games often come to a sucky end as it is hard to develop good content for 60 hours of gameplay. Even the magnificent Resident Evil 4 for Gamecube came to a bad, repetitive end where I found myself praying for it to stop. I would gladly pay less for a shorter game, get on with it and spend the extra money on another different experience.
Kevin Trepanier, Gameloft Montréal