What makes a game successful to you?

Originman

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I want to know. I see a surprising amount of posts (Anthem is the game du jour) that are negative about the game, but then state play times in the 40-80 hour range.

I understand this might be to counteract comments like "you never gave it a chance", but that is downright silly. 4 hours is "a chance". If the first 4 hours aren't fun, you'll know. I should also say that I am not a "streamer" or "reviewer" or anything of the sort, and so I am under NO obligation to play a game when I don't like it. (and I don't). I don't really think my question is for those people. If you don't play games for fun, you have a totally different metric for determining successful.

I know many people have many different values and times to play games and stuff. if I enjoy a game enough to play it for more than 20 hours, that game has been worth the money.

If you want to compare it financially, a AAA game is ~4x the cost of going to a movie (half that if I include my wife, who gets just as much out of hanging out while I play a game as when she gets dragged to some action or sci-fi movie).

I wonder what other people require to be happy with a game.

EDIT: I guess there is a caveat, and that is games that are good and short. Some games provide an exceptional experience in a amount of time shorter than 20 hours. I am not denying their existence (I love you, Call of Cthulhu, no matter what anyone says).

tl;dr:
For me:
20+ hours playing a game means it was good.
100+ hours likely means it is in the top 20 games I've ever played.

What about you?
 

August

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Did the developer earn enough to be adequately profitable? If so, successful game. Did I enjoy the experience? If so then fantastic.

Play time isn’t a measure of success but it can be a measure of how much I’m likely to find a game value for money.
 
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Wolfy

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Let's look at the Division. Really average gameplay, story was... meh but had me coming back on to finish it. I thoroughly enjoyed the world building and the animations ingame. Played alot. Not even close to my top 50 games, but I logged a fair bit of hours and enjoyed the grind, so it was successful, even though I would not call it a great game.
 
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Deroth

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Many of the metrics vary some depending on whether it is a single player, multiplayer, or MMO.

One thing that I believe is always a consistent metric is the profits; if the game does not turn enough profit to cover all associated expenses as well as enough to develop another game, then it is a failure.

Everything else gets more abstract as you're talking about individual perceptions such as:
  • Compelling
  • Entertaining
  • Engaging
  • Worth the cost
  • Replayability
  • and so many others
I find that a lot of people incorrectly state a game is a 'failure' when it is really a 'disappointment', as in for various reasons potential that was either advertised, implied, or hoped for was not met by a margin they find unforgivable.
 
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Originman

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Did the developer earn enough to be adequately profitable? If so, successful game. Did I enjoy the experience? If so then fantastic.

Play time isn’t a measure of success but it can be a measure of how much I’m likely to find a game value for money.
How is play time not a measure of enjoyment? Do people really spend dozens of hours playing games they don't like?
 
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Deroth

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How is play time not a measure of enjoyment? Do people really spend dozens of hours playing games they don't like?
I have, a few times. Usually because so many others stated how much they enjoyed the games so I toiled through them looking for the fun then wanted to punch those people in the face.
 
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Xist

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Excellent question.

Personally I'm always looking at the cost/hour to play the game.

If people get 20 hours out of a game for $20, that's not too bad. It's $1/hour which is cheap and affordable for anyone with enough money to have a computer.

On the other hand if they hate the game and don't get enough cheap play time out of it, then it's not very good, regardless of why they didn't like it.

Generally I think $0.50/hour or better is a good game.

A truly amazing game, different metrics depending on who you talk to, ranges at $0.10/hour or better.

There are many, many ways to rate a game. Ultimately the question is whether this is an affordable form of entertainment, and if so even if you don't love the game, you may have got your money's worth.
 
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Will C.

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For me it's a few things #1 if i enjoy playing it, no matter reviews. I like to play games for a long time if i enjoy them. So for a game like this if i can get 10 years out of it my investment of what is around 1K a year is cheap for my entertainment. I usually on ave play 30hrs a week on games.
 
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Originman

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Excellent question.

Personally I'm always looking at the cost/hour to play the game.

If people get 20 hours out of a game for $20, that's not too bad. It's $1/hour which is cheap and affordable for anyone with enough money to have a computer.

On the other hand if they hate the game and don't get enough cheap play time our of it, then it's not very good, regardless of why they didn't like it.

Generally I think $0.50/hour or better is a good game.

A truly amazing game, different metrics depending on who you talk to, ranges at $0.10/hour or better.

There are many, many ways to rate a game. Ultimately the question is whether this is an affordable form of entertainment, and if so even if you don't love the game, you may have got your money's worth.
This is interesting!

$0.50 an hour (or even $1) seems like a high bar to set for "good". That means a AAA game is only good if it breaks 50-100 hours? Yikes.

Then again, people all have different amounts of time and thus different standards for things like this.

I am happy to see some positive messages though. People are way too quick to be negative about games.
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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For me a successful game transcends time entirely.

I am still playing Sopwith from 1984. I think I started playing it in '89, it was re-made in open source and I still play it at least once a week. 30 years isn't bad going.

Transport Tycoon. Got it when it was on the shelves in 1995. Played the arms and legs off it until my original disc broke, then found that it was remade in open source and I still play it now, I have to be careful though, whenever I pick it up i loose weeks to it. 24 years near constant play on this game.

Total Annihilation. Again, got it off the shelves in 1997. Still playing it off my original discs using an emulator "Play On Linux", a few of the songs on the soundtrack don't work anymore so I have to play with no music or it bugs the game out, but again i'm playing a few Skirmishes every month. 22 years.

Carmogeddon 1997, as above minus the music problem because I don't recall it ever having a music score in the first place. 22 years.

Interstate '76, again bought off the shelves in 1997... the only game I can't play right now because I lost my discs in a house move, but again it's a game I got way more than 10 years play out of, I was stopped from playing it before I wanted to stop playing it.

Man, 1997 was a good year.

Five games. All I would say, personally, are successes as even today I am still playing or want to play them.

Which of today's releases will I be playing in 10 years time? Who knows, there isn't a computer game shop within 20 miles of me which makes it much harder to pick up titles off the shelf.
 
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August

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Excellent question.

Personally I'm always looking at the cost/hour to play the game.

If people get 20 hours out of a game for $20, that's not too bad. It's $1/hour which is cheap and affordable for anyone with enough money to have a computer.

On the other hand if they hate the game and don't get enough cheap play time our of it, then it's not very good, regardless of why they didn't like it.

Generally I think $0.50/hour or better is a good game.

A truly amazing game, different metrics depending on who you talk to, ranges at $0.10/hour or better.

There are many, many ways to rate a game. Ultimately the question is whether this is an affordable form of entertainment, and if so even if you don't love the game, you may have got your money's worth.
I think the issue I have with this quantitative approach is it treats games as a commodity.

I paid full price for Dear Esther (2 hours at $14.50 AUD) and gone home (75 minutes at $21.50 AUD) and found both to be excellent value because I think games can be art, and that the value of the experience can be tied more closely to emotional resonance and storytelling than fractions of a dollar per minute.
 
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Montoya

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Same as @Xist

I paid $60 for Far Cry 5, I got 60hrs out, I got my money's worth and was pleased with the experience. I want to be involved with the story telling and the characters in the game.

The big tell for me is if I go to bed at night and look forward to waking up to get a quick 30min in before my day starts. Then again at night, if I can get a few hours in after the kids are in bed, its a clear indication the game is a winner.

I have about 100hrs in Anthem, I hit end game, if I stop playing it today I can say I definitely got my money's worth of entertainment.
 

stockish

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I am not home to write a large post, but I can say at least to me, what makes a game successful is enjoyment, how is it worth replaying, value, story, content.

If I were to list my opinionated most valuable games it would all be older generation games, like Metal Gear Solid series, Mass Effect series, Borderlands 1/2, Resident Evil 2/3, World of Warcraft BC-WOTLK, just to name a few.

For current gen games, the list is much, much smaller as it contains Overwatch, ARMA, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and maybe one or two more that escape me at the moment.

I tried to enjoy Anthem, and couldn't even when playing with friends, Ace Combat 7 burned out quick, but I still hop on occasionally, Kingdom Hearts 3 felt so different than the previous entries it was a different game to me. All of these games while turning a decent profit and could be considered successful, don't meet what I feel is successful.
 
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Scape

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I want to know. I see a surprising amount of posts (Anthem is the game du jour)
10 out of 10 for using "du jour" in a sentence, you bring much honour to the Squadron. People will think we are smart!

But to answer.....i attach no specific time played to how i get value from a game. I remember i bought 'journey' on xbox when it came out and played it right through which lasted 2 hours and cost £12. I was glued to the tv the whole time, a pleasure to play and the music was beautiful. Then i spend over £150 on SC and have had no where near the feeling that 'journey' gave me yet i still feel its worth it because of its potential.........there was a point somewhere.

Think ill buy journey again
 

Montoya

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Do people really spend dozens of hours playing games they don't like?
They do.

I kept hearing how the Witcher 3 is amazing, so I got it.

I swear I have restarted that campaign three times already, but I always get bored about 1/2 way through and end up leaving it for some other game. Then when I want to jump back in, I forgot where I was and what the story was about.

I still have the game installed in hopes I will one day play through the entire thing, but at this point its looking bleak.

I would guess 50hrs in and I will never bother finishing it at this point. It definitely looks like a good game, but it failed to grab my attention and drive me to actually finish it.
 
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