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How Live Service Video Games Are Poisoning The Industry

Not every game has to have a 10-year plan.

EA

If there's one prevalent, unanswerable philosophical question in the video game world, it's: "How long should should a game actually be?" By their very nature and depending on the genre, a title can be anywhere from a couple hours long to a couple hundred, and debates have raged over how much of a time return you should be guaranteed for a full-priced purchase.

Unlike other mainstream art forms, gaming is expensive, and for $60 a pop, customers expect to come away satisfied that they've gotten the most out of their money, which more often than not is measured in time spent in a game, rather than actual enjoyment of the package. Obviously, a game's failure or success is more complex than that, but the perception that a short game is worse because it provides less content, has hurt many major games over the past few decades.

In response, publishers and developers - at least in the mainstream, AAA space - have all but eradicated the once-standard 8-10 hour (or less) video game, in favour of expansive live-service releases that are designed to provided content, well, forever. Or at least until the inevitable sequel comes around to replace it.

But, as the saying goes, bigger isn't always better, and we might have dug ourselves into a hole where, as critics and fans, we've put far too much emphasis on how many hours a video game holds, over the quality of those hours, which has had a negative effect on the industry at large.

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Writer. Mumbler. Only person on the internet who liked Spider-Man 3