I was on my way to pre-order Assassin’s Creed III. I was deeply disturbed by the $60 price tag. Then, I started thinking… Is the game really worth $60? How do I value a video game?

Recently, in preparation for ACIII, I completed Assassin’s Creed II. Although it actually took me about 4 years to beat that game, in game time it took 32 hours. That means I paid approximately $2 per hour to play this game. Assuming I was “entertained” each hour. How does that fair against other games? Let’s compare that to Mass Effect .

I have played Mass Effect 3 160 hours. An eye-opening figure to say the least. ME3 cost me $60 which only ends up costing 37 cents per entertainment hour. That is already amazing and I am not even finished with that game yet! I still want to beat it at least twice more. Of course, the majority of my ME3 time has been spent in multiplayer. I am glad to know that Assassin’s Creed III will offer multiplayer otherwise I can only assume beating it will only take about 30 hours.

This way of valuing games is interesting. Especially when comparing console to mobile games. The iOS classic Game Dev Story only cost $3 put I have easily spent over 30 hours playing it (yeah I really like Game Dev Story). That is only 10 cents per hour! Mobile games usually carry a very low cost yet people are still hesitant to spend more than $1 on a game. They shouldn’t be, even if only an hour is spent playing it, it is likely more entertainment value than going to a movie.

Speaking of movies, if we apply this same measure of entertainment hours to a movie theatre, buying a DVD or even a music album it looks like we are being ripped off!

  • Movie $5 per hour ($10 ticket, 2 hour movie)
  • DVD $10 per hour ($20 DVD, 2 hour movie)
  • Album $8 per hour ($10 album, 1.25 hours of music)

Granted in the case of a DVD or music you will watch/hear the media multiple times and the value of that entertainment will increase each time. Sometimes buying media this way is worth it. Star Trek the Next Generation, the greatest series ever created, can be purchased for about $300. Total running length of TNG is about 150 hours. Watching all of it only once is about the same value as you get from a 30 hour video game, or $2 per hour. But who can watch that series just once? I am currently watching it for the fourth time.

I could go on all day but I better not. Keep this in mind when you are thinking about buying a movie or game though, it might help you make up your mind.

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