★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

About game pricing: The 1 dollar per hour rule

10-01-2012, 02:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 323
About game pricing: The 1 dollar per hour rule

I keep seeing people bitch about prices of iPhone and iPad apps as soon as it's over $0.99. I know that they might not be the majority, but it saddens me to see that some people are so openly cheap.

Lately, I've been using this little rule that helps me see if a game has a good price tag or not: The "1 dollar per hour" rule!

It's simple really, and I use this for every form of entertainment. The formula is quite simple: For each buck that you put in a game, you should be having 1 hour of play out of it.

Angry Birds: $0.99, played well over 5 hours. Verdict: Cheap
Skyrim: Got it for 30$, played over 80 hours! Verdict: Very cheap!
Final Fantasy 3 on iPad: $16.99, estimated playtime of 20 hours: Fair price!
Diablo 3: $60, played 50 hours: A little too pricey, but I might play again later if someone threatens me at gunpoint.
Homefront: $50, played 5 hours, total waste of money that I still regret today.
Bad Piggies HD: $3, already played 5 hours and not done with it: Good price!
McPixel: Got it at $2 I think, and I played about 2 hours. So OK price.

It even works for music. A $10 album with a 1 hour duration: If I know that I'm going to listen to it at least 10 times, then its a fair price. Same for movies: $20 for a DVD of a 2 hour movie, if I know I'll watch it 10 times, its a fair price. The rule even works for IAP!

Anyway you get the point, but this simple rule helps me chose entertainment when there's just too many options to chose from. So next time you see someone complaining about a $3 game, and the game seems to offer at least 3 hours of gameplay, remind them of the 1 dollar per hour rule. I mean, not long ago, arcades were charging 25 for about 5 minutes of gameplay. We do live in good times!

Maker of King Cashing 2 and King Cashing: Slots Adventure - Follow me on Twitter! - Spread the word about King Cashing 2 and gain king points that do absolutely nothing!
10-01-2012, 02:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,704
The problem isn't just cheap people. It's also developers charging $1 for games worth well more. As long as there are myriad $1 games out there worth getting, the over-a-buck-you-must-be-crazy folks will actually have a valid, if stupid, argument.

10-01-2012, 03:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,075
1$ per hour rule doesn't work. It depends by each individual how much time they spend in a specific game. (I always manage to squeeze the most out of apps). But I still find some games pricey.

In my opinion an app is worth as much as people are willing to pay for it.
10-01-2012, 03:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 178
I see some problems with that theory...
Team Fortress 2: 500 hours for $20 (bought it before free to play) It puts out what you put in, not all of it is the developers work.
Amnesia: 2 hours for $20. Amazing value. I'm glad that I could experience that.
10-01-2012, 04:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: in a van down by the river...
Posts: 1,328
I agree, price vs how much enjoyment you get isn't totally comparable, but I see where you're coming from.

In the end, if I feel I got my money's worth from a game, movie, cd, then it was worth it. If I had to put a price on something that was more than worth the price I paid, it would have to be Jetpack Joyride - 15 days worth of time for a dollar?

Gamecenter: MicroByte
Jetpack Joyride: all 125 medals :: Golden Tophat winner :: Special Half-Brick Prize
Playing: Sonic Racing Transformed | Giant Boulder of Death | Dead Trigger 2 | Jetpack Joyride
10-01-2012, 04:46 PM
Joined: May 2012
Location: In the Chatroom
Posts: 15,519
Originally Posted by Primoz View Post
1$ per hour rule doesn't work. It depends by each individual how much time they spend in a specific game. (I always manage to squeeze the most out of apps). But I still find some games pricey.

In my opinion an app is worth as much as people are willing to pay for it.
I don't know if it is the money involved, but some of it maybe that someone wants to truely enjoy the game that they purchased.

So if you happen to play a game for over an hour, and you like it, it was a satisfying purchase, if you only play it for 5-10 minutes, it is a terrible purchase.

So maybe that is how the buck for an hour philosophy rose too. A different version than calling people cheap for this philosophy.
10-01-2012, 05:06 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 990
The problem is that some long games may compel you to play to completion but you aren't necessarily having as much fun as you would playing something else. For example, after thoroughly enjoying Chaos Rings II and an interest in replaying through it all again in the future, I bought Chaos Rings and Chaos Rings Omega, neither of which I particularly enjoyed despite how similar they were to 2. However, I still tried to get into them because of the fact that I bought them, but I was basically forcing myself to do it and would rather have spent that time playing something else.

The benefit of low pricing is that it offers a lot of variety to the player. Someone with some access to reviews and forums like this is almost guaranteed to get more entertainment out of 10 dollars spent on 10 different games than on one 10 dollar game. That doesn't mean they won't buy a 10 dollar game, but so long as they are cognizant they could have spent that money more effectively, the expectations for that game ramp up a lot.

Another thing is that people pay for IAP to speed things up too. Someone who has played Subway Surfers for 20 hours for free probably isn't having less fun than somebody who spent 20 dollars on it. Not to mention that that free game is probably generating more revenue for its developers than most pricier games are generating for theirs because a lot of people are not cheap when it comes to putting money into something they already know they like.
10-01-2012, 07:40 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Posts: 5,587
If I followed your rule, I would never have purchased a single iOS game. I can go to GOG during a sale and pick up Planescape: Torment for 3 bucks, for example...and I know it won't suddenly be updated with IAPS.
10-01-2012, 11:37 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 808
You cant compare Angry Birds with Skyrim.

Its $1 for a really basic pop culture game vs a game that has been in years of development and offers hundreds of options and hours of replayability.
10-02-2012, 02:21 AM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 2,377
Send a message via AIM to SkyMuffin Send a message via Yahoo to SkyMuffin
I see what you're saying, but yeah, it definitely depends. The quality of a game is equally important as the length/replay value.

Best value for me: Dungeons of Dredmor: $10 and 450 hours. But I'd give those hours twice as much weight for sheer fun. $10 for 900 hours!

It's coming out on iPad eventually so I expect that to double.

i'm a pretty kitty cat