The gaming landscape has changed significantly over just the last few years. Now, people have their gaming experiences many different ways. Some games are paid for as titles, physical games that you buy in a store. Others are downloaded. There are also games that you can play online for free, and pay extra for certain perks or add-ons. So it does beg the question, if there are free games out there, what does it mean to get ‘value for money’ when you play video games? How do we know that a game has provided value?
It’s a tough question, and there are two schools of thought on it basically. We’re going to take a look at it the only way we know how, by talking about some of the games that have really been in the headlines recently.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Now this is a little controversial. When it was first released (and don’t forget that wasn’t too long ago), this game seemed like a bit of a pointless exercise. Call of Duty was a franchise overstuffed with different software developers and game modes, with perhaps the worst edition for many being Ghosts.
However, it has recently proven to be a bit of a gem as a game. Players love the Battle Royale element, and the inclusion of old, classic maps has been a huge crowd-pleaser.
But is it value for money?
This game is a ‘AAA’ game. This means it is a huge release that is priced accordingly. If you were willing to pay full whack for it, you obviously believed it was value for money.
Breaking the game down, for the vast majority of players it has provided a fast, efficient version of the perfect COD experience. It’s frenetic, polished and all about the multiplayer. So in that respect, it has provided value for money for players who want that from their COD games.
And that ties in with our first ‘value model’.
If a player genuinely enjoys a game and gets hours and hours of play out of it (which is certainly something many players do with the latest COD title) then it clearly provides value for money, even if it did cost £60.
A game that has essentially become part of modern culture, Fortnite is completely free to play. However, that hasn't stopped the vast majority of players from spending money on it, buying skins and battlepasses.
At the same time, even with some people who spend a lot of money on the game, you will still find them saying it is good value for money. They get hours and hours of enjoyment from it, and that is, again, the definition of value.
If we look at the second value model though, things become a little more complicated.
Looking at Fortnite again, if we use the model that some players use, it may seem that the game is actually not providing value for money.
This second model suggests that value for money is to be found by dividing the cost of the game by the number of hours played. If a player has paid hundreds of pounds or dollars for skins and battle pass payments over their time playing, and played for less than a hundred hours, you can see how Fortnite can appear to have much less value than a game like COD.
COD games cost around £60 full price. And it’s a pretty safe bet to say that the majority of dedicated gamers will have played it for hundreds of hours before calling it a day.
Those two models, one that focuses on sheer enjoyment and one that looks at the amount of time and the cost, are ways at looking at value for money. We favour the second model, the equation-based model.
Whichever one works for you, it’s all good. But it will be interesting to see how ‘free to play’ changes in the months and years to come.
Like we mentioned before, we at Gamer Spot choose the second option, because if you know you’re going to spend the 100 hours minimum it takes to complete the Game of the Year edition of the Witcher 3, then £60 is only 60p per hour. That’s value for money. And it has NG+
How you decide to use your money at the end of the day is personal choice. We can only advise.