Should Next-Gen Games Get Shorter?

Nov 17, 2013
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With the PlayStation 4 officially on store shelves and the Xbox One just a week away, the next-generation console war is on. Sure, Nintendo kicked things off with the Wii U, but for the hard-core segment of gamers, the real fighting begins this month.

The next-generation console war is set against a far different backdrop than those that came before it. Mobile is sweeping the globe and casual gamers have become an increasingly lucrative option for developers. Three companies are vying for our dollars, but there’s an entirely reasonable chance that not all of those firms will make it to the next, next generation.

Truth be told, there is an awful lot of uncertainty surrounding this generation. And none of us can possibly know how it will shake out.

What I do know, is, consoles can only be extremely successful over the next several years if games get shorter, not longer.

As a hard-core gamer myself, it pains me to say that games need to get shorter, but I’m afraid that’s the new world we live in. While 40-hour games were once commonplace, the titles that last that long now have become major drains on those of us who still play them.

Sure, we love an epic adventure from time to time, but we don’t our lives are getting in the way. And playing through a game in just a few hours is sometimes more appealing than knowing we have dozens of hours left before we can get through a title.

In the old days, I thought nothing of sitting through a game like Final Fantasy VII or Lunar and slowly making my way through its storyline. To me, it was an investment. And I was willing to invest that time.

[aquote]If I know I won't complete it, why even start it?[/aquote]

Nowadays, though, I have a career and other responsibilities that make playing through games that are that long much, much harder. I’d love to be able to sit through such a game, but the truth is, I don’t have the time. And as soon as I find out a title takes that long to complete, I all but move on to the next one. If I know I won’t be able to complete it, why should I even start it?

So, I can’t help but wonder if it’s time for developers to deliver shorter games. Sure, it’ll annoy the hard-core segment a bit, but it’ll also increase the amount of gaming we enjoy. After all, if I know a game will only take me five hours to complete, I’m far more likely to invest the time to see what happens. I might even go back to it to play through it one more time to see how the story could change with different decisions.

One of the main reasons mobile gaming is so popular today is because developers have found a way to keep people engaged for short periods of time. The same mentality needs to be brought to console gaming.

So, enjoy your PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But just remember: sometimes a video game’s length is not nearly as important as you think.


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