Are games REALLY good value? Let's do a maths | PCGamesN

Are games REALLY good value? Let's do a maths

No Man's Sky

How much is a game worth? One day soon that question will be academic. Once Zuckerberg has completed his work and we plug every game developer into the Oculus hive, we’ll simply detach USBs from the napes of their necks every four years and play their output forever for free.

For the time being, however, the cost of a game like the $60 No Man’s Sky can cause debate. Is it better or worse value than, say, a Freddo? It can get pretty confusing. Unless you use maths.

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Let’s say you’ve bought a Cadbury’s Freddo from Asda in the UK at the going price: 25p. You’ve taken a very fine blade to that Freddo and chopped it into 12 little pieces, each just large enough to taste. You set your watch, and you eat one of those pieces every five minutes. You savour that Freddo and make it last for an hour. Can games do better than that?

We’ve consulted which, aside from the limiting perception that games are challenges that exist to be beaten, is a handy resource for calculating average playthroughs. And we’ve looked at leading computer game distribution service Steam, which today and every day has a number of epics available for peanuts.

Oh look, here are some now:

Half-Life 2 - £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough - 19 hours
Price per hour = 36.8p / 51.6¢
Better value than a Freddo? No

Knights of the Old Republic II - £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough - 50 hours
Price per hour = 14p / 20¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes

Deus Ex - £4.99 / $6.99
Completionist playthrough - 36.5 hours
Price per hour = 13.7p / 19¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director's Cut - £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough - 66 hours
Price per hour = 10.6p / 15¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x2

Age of Wonders - £3.99 / $5.59
Completionist playthrough - 52 hours
Price per hour = 7.7p / 11¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x3

Blackguards - £2.99 / $4.19
Completionist playthrough - 46.5 hours
Price per hour = 6.4p / 9¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x3

FTL: Faster Than Light - £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough - 127 hours
Price per hour = 5.5p / 8¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x4

Rome: Total War - £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough - 156 hours
Price per hour = 4.5p / 
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x5

The Binding of Isaac - £3.99 / $5.59
Completionist playthrough - 124.5 hours
Price per hour = 3.2p / 4¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x7

X-Com: UFO Defense - £2.99 / $4.19
Completionist playthrough - 134.5 hours
Price per hour = 2.2p / 3¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x11

Yes - our findings show that small chocolate frogs are extortionate. Further research required to determine whether rising costs at Cadbury’s are in proportion with inflation. But PC games? They’re pretty cheap as habits go. Thanks, maths.

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Bosambo avatarBelimawr avatarFattox avatarJoel Gregory avatarJeremy Peel avatarJamesBinns avatar+2
Fattox Avatar
2 Years ago

Well Freddos are a bad example. They were still 10p around 15-20 years ago. Which would be around 13p these days according to:

So really, you could roughly double the values of these games in proportion to those bloody Freddos. I was more of a "Chomp" fan, myself. I think they're 15p (?) these days as opposed to 10p in my youth. Much better value and tastier.

That said, games are cheap as chips these days, really. I remember my parents paying £35 for Golden Axe from Toys R Us back in 1990, which would be over £55 today, which is more than AAA tends to cost. And cheapo indie titles weren't even an option. I guess it also helps that i'm not limited by £2.50/week pocket money these days, also.

On a serious note, i tend to value games based on pure feeling. Do i feel it'll be worth 'x' price? Yes/No. That's also based on a comparison vs the other games on offer. So many games and so little time means that only the top picks i choose will get any playtime.

Belimawr Avatar
2 Years ago

yeah I can remember some nes and snes games going for around £40, so really price hasn't increased over the years making games more affordable, I actually found a receipt from around 2000 the other day for a game that cost £40, so really if anything games have got cheaper by not following inflation.

not to mention as online shopping became popular gaming got even cheaper again with firms like Amazon and key seller sites trying to force down the pricing. so really yeah games have got value for money over time due to having no real price increase. (unless you buy from the likes of steam at full price that is a rip off)

Jeremy Peel Avatar
2 Years ago

Chomps would require a completely different algorithm, given all that chewing.

KeefBaker Avatar
2 Years ago

However, more difficult to split unless you put them in the fridge, and let's not get started on Curly Wurlys, we'll be here all day.

Belimawr Avatar
2 Years ago

the way I see it, a good pizza is about a tenner, I enjoy it while i'm eating it, so I work my games on a pizza scale, it seems much more reliable.

so the question would be is do I enjoy a £30 game as much as 3 pizzas and in most cases I will. it's the same as people who complain about the price of MMO subscriptions, they are like £9 a month, so I pay the price of a pizza for a month worth of entertainment.

also when did fredo's stop being 10p?

James Binns Avatar
2 Years ago

I love this. Burgernomics springs to mind - the Economist Big Mac Index.

grenadeh Avatar
1 Year ago

There is only really one equation for this.

Price of a movie ticket / length of movie compared to price of game/length of time spent playing game.

Literally every game is a better value than a movie, and if you pay $60 for a game that doesn't at least have 8 or 9 hours of gameplay, you're stupid.

Bosambo Avatar
2 Years ago

Let's do a maths? How about lets do a English first?

Joel Gregory Avatar
2 Years ago

Just being intentionally playful.

A more pedantic man would correct you and say it would be "Let's do an English", but I'd never stoop so low ;)