Friday, November 20, 2009

mmorpgs, myth of cheap entertainment. Mark 2

There's a myth around, about how mmorpgs are cheap entertainment. This hinges on the idea that 'hours' of gameplay provided, are a good thing.

Let's shoot that out of the water right now. Take this example, where we quantify fun had over the entire experience into actual points.

  • Game A gives 500 points of fun over 20 hours and costs $20
  • Game B gives 500 points of fun over 10 hours and costs $20

"OMG", most of the gaming community would cry "Game B only gives 10 hours of entertainment, what a rip off!!!!!1!!"

Actually, game B is better value!

It's because weve all sucked up a lie that 'hours' are somehow entertaining in themselves, that we are thinking completely wrong headedly.

Look at the numbers - it's 500 points of fun for either game, over the entire experience. Whether it's 20 hours or 10 hours, it's 500 points of fun either way.

Starting to see the difference here? See how in the 20 hour game it's just taking you 10 more hours to get to the exact same level of fun as the 10 hour game?

It's not better that it has 20 hours. It's actually worse! ALOT worse!

It's at this point that you realise hours are actually a cost alongside the monetary cost. Hours are a negative! While most gamers look at it as 'hours of play' divided by price, this is like evaluating a car by fuel consumed per mile divided by the cars if more fuel consumed per mile is a good thing. As if more hours of your finite life span consumed is a good thing!

I'll leave it there for now, since the key issue to get across is that hours <> value.

The longer version of this is here.

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