Chidube Akujuobi ’24
With the recent release of the Nintendo Switch game Metroid Dread, everyone is thinking the same thing. Is it justifiable to pay full price for a video game on the shorter side? There’s a common misconception that the value of a video game should depend on how long the game takes to complete. The longer the game is and the more content it has, the higher the price should be, or so many people think. This is a very flawed mindset, especially when you apply it to other forms of entertainment. The average cost for a fancy dinner at a restaurant goes well beyond the full price for a video game, and yet that dinner is only giving you about an hour of enjoyment at most.
If we go by this logic then unless a meal takes you hours to finish, it is overpriced. And unless a movie you go to see with your family is several hours long, it too is overpriced. The value of any product is truly in the eyes of the beholder. Someone might be willing to pay double the price for a AAA video game if it’s in their favorite franchise, while somebody who is new to the franchise might be skeptical of whether they’ll enjoy it and wait to pick it up on sale. This extends well beyond the realm of entertainment. The higher prices for designer and brand clothes might be well worth it to someone into fashion, while another person might want to go for something off-brand but much cheaper.
Another flaw with the logic of price corresponding to playtime is that it doesn’t seem to take into account the fact that you are paying to own the game and not simply to play it once and then shelve it, or rent it for a short while and then return it. If the game is under your possession permanently then you have the agency to replay it however many times you want, and more often than not short games are much more digestible and re-playable than longer games. Furthermore, this flawed logic makes game developers more inclined to draw out the length of their games, padding otherwise short games out with content they never really needed. Thus, bloated, padded out games would become more common, all because of the flawed mindset that longer games are inherently better than shorter ones. This begs the question. Would you rather pay for a short but fulfilling experience where not a single moment of it felt wasted, or would you rather pay for something longer and more substantial where half of it felt like a waste of time?