Joe Danger Completion Level Calls Gamer Desires Into Question

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Joe Danger Completion Level Calls Gamer Desires Into Question

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If people want games that they can play for dozens of hours, why did only 10% of purchasers complete Joe Danger?

The encroachment of the internet into consoles has enabled us to do more than compete online. It also allows developers to "see" how gamers are playing and how much of their games are being completed. In the case of Hello Games' Joe Danger the majority of its audience didn't complete the game at all, calling into question whether people actually want long games anymore or not.

The complaint of games being "too short" is brought up often, as Hello Games' Sean Murray points out in a post on Edge, with developers and journalists alike often arguing over whether this is a valid complaint. Joe Danger got strong reviews and had strong sales to go along with them (selling 50,000 in its first week alone and recouping development costs on its first day), and even in my brief hands-on at PAX East I was able to tell that it was a deep game. But if everybody cares about game length, and people hate short games, why did only 10% of purchasers complete Joe Danger as Murray reveals in his post?

"Only about 10 per cent of people who bought Joe Danger have completed it (their average play time is well over 20 hours)," he writes. "Most journalists didn't get past the halfway mark." So he wonders: "Was it a wasted effort to add those last few levels that most people don't see though? Is it valueless?"

Murray says no, admitting that he aspires to "creating something so lasting and varied," and I agree. People can plop down Portal as an example of a great "short" game and I'll agree that games can be short and great too, but there is a huge amount of value in deeper experiences like Joe Danger, not only because of the amount of content, but because they're a different kind of gaming experience. Murray calls the 10% his most "valued players," but he could be counting out the type of players like myself.

I can play games like Tony Hawk and Stuntman for hours trying to nail a perfect run or to squeeze out a few more points. Joe Danger is a similar kind of experience, sort of like an individual level-based sandbox that gives players freedom within an enclosed gaming space that will be different each time they play. I might not beat games like Joe Danger all the time, but I'll definitely get my money's worth out of whatever levels I play and enjoy it every second of the way. It's not always the completion of the game that matters, but the fact that I know the content is there will get me to plunk down my $14.99, which I'll also gladly plunk down for a shorter game that's completely different. A good game is not always about length, but about doing something unique well.

Source: Edge's Hello Games Blog

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Because it kind of sucked?

Edit: WAIT. Wrong game, thought this was that parody one about third person shooters. That sucked so bad I can't even remember the name.

Gamers don't know what they want. At all. Developers are probably better of just ignoring any and all advice from the internet and in a lot of cases doing the complete opposite imo.

Yeah Joe Danger is sort of tedious after a while, I can't see playing it for more than a few hours. Playing epically long games is good though, when the game is good. Look at any Bioware RPG, I have easily invested 30 plus hours into each of their RPGs, and have played multiple times.

I've never even heard of it...

But from the picture it looks marketed at a more childish audience?

I know my 10 year old brother (while he does buy lots of games) rarely finishes any.

He has Mass Effect 1 and 2 but he hasn't finished them.

If this was the sort of game I;d enjoy I'd probably get round to finishing it.

That being said I need to start up FF13 again sometime...

Its a great game.. but I am stuck on it and dont care to figure out why. I just pick a board and cruise thru it when I have a few mins.

That kind of game is not aimed at the crowd who want quantity in their games.

What about the people who put hundreds of hours into RPG's like the Stalker games or Demon's souls.

The PC modding community is built on extending the length of games.

This sounds more like a cop out so designers don't have to make long games.

Here's a compromise for you.

Shovel ware should be no longer than 2 hours of gaming to appease the 'Flashing light, flashing light......... Flashing light, flashing light!' crowd.

And well built games can keep getting longer for the rest of us.

GamesB2:
I've never even heard of it...

But from the picture it looks marketed at a more childish audience?

I know my 10 year old brother (while he does buy lots of games) rarely finishes any.

He has Mass Effect 1 and 2 but he hasn't finished them.

If this was the sort of game I;d enjoy I'd probably get round to finishing it.

That being said I need to start up FF13 again sometime...

No you don't. The game is for everyon but its sort of a min game so you wouldn'y be playing it till completion. If you get tired of MW2 Killzone etcc you can relax play this and have fun. Its a good thing that its long it gives me somthing else to play when I can't think of anything.

Journalists are a different breed of gamer, so you cannot go with them as your benchmark.
Besides, what factors are at work here? does the game hit a difficulty cliff, or otherwise change drastically? Is the meta game broken very quickly? Is there a weak connection to the lizard brain (this causes people to "burn out" on a game quickly).

Tom Goldman:
Joe Danger Completion Level Calls Gamer Desires Into Question

If people want games that they can play for dozens of hours, why did only 10% of purchasers complete Joe Danger?

I would guess because the "people" in question are the vocal minority - ie those among the 10% who finished it that wanted more. You don't hear from people who are contented as often as those who aren't. Maybe 90% of people are perfectly happy with a short game, but they don't speak up about it - why would they, they are happy.

Or maybe it's because the game sucked (I'm not saying it did, I never even heard of it but it's a possibility).

Or maybe it's because everyone wants more for their money. If you showed consumers two (near enough) identical games and said that one lasted for 10 hours and another for 20 hours which do you think they would buy (assuming they cost the same)? I know that if I enjoy a game I want to play it longer.

IamSofaKingRaw:
No you don't. The game is for everyon but its sort of a min game so you wouldn'y be playing it till completion. If you get tired of MW2 Killzone etcc you can relax play this and have fun. Its a good thing that its long it gives me somthing else to play when I can't think of anything.

Can honestly say I've never heard of this game and just first looks are very childish so it's not something I'd be immediately interested in.

And yes... yes I will start up FF13... and I'm going to enjoy it!

Sooo... we DON'T actually want longer, content-heavy games anymore? Why not...? That just doesn't make sense. If I have the choice between two games, one with plenty of stuff to do and plenty of replay value like Mass Effect 2 and one with less content (Even if that content is totally awesome), like BioShock, I'd take the one with more stuff. Provided of course it doesn't suck. Money is money, and the more hours I can get out of a game the better.

Games being too short is a legit complaint. HOWEVER, games outstaying their welcome is also possible. If a game goes on longer than it's concept can keep interesting, that's not really making it longer.

Think of it this way: You can't call a 10 hour game which has been padded out with 30 hours of filler a 40 hour game.

GamesB2:

IamSofaKingRaw:
No you don't. The game is for everyon but its sort of a min game so you wouldn'y be playing it till completion. If you get tired of MW2 Killzone etcc you can relax play this and have fun. Its a good thing that its long it gives me somthing else to play when I can't think of anything.

Can honestly say I've never heard of this game and just first looks are very childish so it's not something I'd be immediately interested in.

And yes... yes I will start up FF13... and I'm going to enjoy it!

If you haven't started it yet then you are in for a surprise but if you have then you need better games. FF13 is boring. Not bad just boring. I had to force myself to play the game and when I finally got to the free roaming partd it didn't get anymore fun.

GamesB2:
Can honestly say I've never heard of this game and just first looks are very childish so it's not something I'd be immediately interested in.

And yes... yes I will start up FF13... and I'm going to enjoy it!

Hell, I thought it was just a stylized version along the lines of the Trials games.

IamSofaKingRaw:
If you haven't started it yet then you are in for a surprise but if you have then you need better games. FF13 is boring. Not bad just boring. I had to force myself to play the game and when I finally got to the free roaming partd it didn't get anymore fun.

I'm 40 hours in... I've played nearly every Final Fantasy game.

I played over an hour of 12... I can handle anything by this point.

And I'm really enjoying FF13, the story is deep and the combat is actually quite interesting with the new paradigm shifts.

Nobody takes PSN or XBLA titles super seriously. Sure they're great for a while, but eventually people go back to a deeper experience in full games. I don't know about everyone else, but despite the fact that I absolutely ADORED games like Geometry Wars 2 and 'Splosion Man, I didn't do everything I could in those games before switching back to others. The reason is that full games just have a bigger sense of accomplishment. Both in-game and out of game.

Because gamers are completely indecisive and insecure.

GamesB2:

IamSofaKingRaw:
If you haven't started it yet then you are in for a surprise but if you have then you need better games. FF13 is boring. Not bad just boring. I had to force myself to play the game and when I finally got to the free roaming partd it didn't get anymore fun.

I'm 40 hours in... I've played nearly every Final Fantasy game.

I played over an hour of 12... I can handle anything by this point.

And I'm really enjoying FF13, the story is deep and the combat is actually quite interesting with the new paradigm shifts.

I've invested 100 hours into FF12 much more fun. Monster hunting in real time during FF12 is much more fuin then in FF13.The only thing I give credit to FF13 for is that the summons are more powerful and cooler looking this time around. I like how you searched for them in FF12 though. It made it worthwhile to explore the vast (much larger than FF13) world.

An awful lot of people still make buying decisions at least partly on $ per hour entertainment.

Trouble is, as stated above, you never know when 30 of those '40 hours of gameplay' are going to be tedious padding, either repeated levels or just travelling between gaming areas.

Would Portal have been any better if they'd made you play it backwards at the end?

I think we shouldn't disregard how much gaming time we'll get from a game, but we certainly need to consider just how much FUN per hour it's packing in, rather than just how many hours it will entertain, there's a difference between being captivated utterly, and midly amused.

Ugh, that's perfectly normal. Wasn't that a study saying that it was around that amount of gamers that finished Grand Theft Auto (from looking at what percentage of Live players had the "You Won!" achievement)?

Players want to grow bored of the game before it ends, that's all there is to it. If you think this means the last levels are pointless, you are probably in the wrong career. Ditto if you think everyone who didn't finish the game doesn't count.

IamSofaKingRaw:
I've invested 100 hours into FF12 much more fun. Monster hunting in real time during FF12 is much more fuin then in FF13.The only thing I give credit to FF13 for is that the summons are more powerful and cooler looking this time around. I like how you searched for them in FF12 though. It made it worthwhile to explore the vast (much larger than FF13) world.

I hated FF12s combat system. I got to some boss in a sewer somewhere ( A flaming unicorn I believe) and I gave up.

I have invested a few hundred hours in FF6, 7, 8 and 10.

And I'd like to finish FF13.. and yeah those summons are badass...

Yet I still miss Yojimbo and his Wakazashi... what a legend.

This doesn't seem to be a complete argument to me. One game that isn't really about finishing the game (I assume, they mentioned Tony Hawk, so I can assume) isn't enough to jump to conclusions about all games of all genres.

TheBadass:

Edit: WAIT. Wrong game, thought this was that parody one about third person shooters. That sucked so bad I can't even remember the name.

mat hazzard?

Well I can't buy the game since I don't have the console in question but I do have an possible answer to explain the why or at provide one reason.

Over-saturation.

The video game industry like it or not is really over-saturated. There are too many outlets to buy games for consumers and since consumers have so many choices the consumer is compelled to buy a game and play the game not to complete but simply to own until the next desire to buy. Essentially there is a lack of restraint from consumers that consumers can't keep that urge to consumer under control. So whenever one comes in possession of said product that urge is satisfied only temporarily because of how much pressure from friends and marketers of the "latest" and "greatest" games coming out.

Another reason is to factor the actual skill or dedication of the consumer in question. A lot people believe it or not pursue activities that they are not good at. From their job to a hobby like video games sometimes a person is just bad at what they want to become good at and no matter how easy the game is sometimes the consumer will be incapable of completing the game to the point where they don't want to play the game anymore.

Another reason could be that one buys the game and plays the game their way. It is only recent that today companies can actually find out through the achievement system which consumers actually completed their game. However like many games not every game is always played to completion. Some people stop playing a game of monopoly because they are bored and some kids stopped playing their NES games because they got a new game or was satisfied of the game playing the game their way even if they lose from a designers standpoint.

I think it depends on the nature of the game, and the mindframe of the gamer at a specific time.

Games light on plot, and gameplay intesity are good in short doses.

Games heavy on exploration, (in terms of size, space, or things to do (e.g. Fallout...)), plot (I.e. JRPGs, Bioware epics, Pointyclickers (for me anyway as I suck at them (but I do love them! :D))), or gameplay intensity, (RTS, Might & Magic, ect.) need several hours, (or even days) of investment to get that certain level of satisfaction.

I know I have a horrible habbit of hoarding games, (I hardly let a good bargian slip through my fingers :D)
Current No. of games unplayed (approximatley):

50 xbox games
20 xbox 360 (+ About 40 indie games, and about 20 arcade titles)
15 PS2 games (Odin Sphere, SMT 3: Nocturne, Summoner 1+2, Dark cloud 2 and DMC being recent aquisitions)
100 pc games

But my problem is I crave genres of games at different times, as well as lead a unpredictable lifestyle, (sometimes I have only a few hours here and there, sometimes I have days, weeks, or even months of free time, (I got Uni you see!), but also I live with my family, so different gaming areas are available at different times, (so it hard to satiate a particular craving)).

My second hobby also leaks into that time as well, (self-teaching myself at guitar at the moment, (slow progress, (especially so since I'm trying to learn on a right handed guitar, (I'm naturally left handed, (though I suspect that may be slightly selective as I can only use a pc mouse and scissors with my right hand... :/ )))).

(As well as my third, (talkin' about games on forums), and what was my fourth (trying to learn to make videogames (I did have XNA on my lappy before it got wiped, (unsuprisingly never got round to learning anything from it), as well as Game Maker 8, and Unity, (for the record, I also tried to use AGS and RPG maker when I was younger as well (didn't suit me all too well :/)

I'm just glad I'm not a reviewer, else I just wouldn't get anything done at all! XD

To me, getting 10% of players to complete a game well over 20 hours long is a darn good achivement.

Not every game can draw people in for long periods of time, (us gamers are exposed to just as much external stimuli as average joe! XD).

(Not every game can be Minecraft! XD (JOKING! (or am I....?)))

EDIT: To clarify. I don't buy games as they come out, (40 just seems excessive to me now that I buy online). I tend to buld up a mental wishlist, and hunt them down over time.

(also I am not rich. I work as a till monkey at Tesco. I just don't buy clothes or alcohol, and take advantage of Ebay, Shopto, Steam and GOG (also I usually forget about most games until, like 6 months later...).

Analogy: Sometimes we want candy, sometimes we want a roast, and occasionally its nice to have a 3 course meal.
But not many people want to just eat candy, or roasts, or a feast all the time.

Tenmar:
Snip

This guy here says a lot of good, true things (very accurate about myself actually), but I'll add my own opinion into the fray anyway.

I was one of those 90% of people who didn't finish Joe Danger, and while I loved playing it for when I did play it, eventually it just got a little stale and I wanted to move on. As Tenmar said, I always feel like I need a new game every 2 weeks or so, so I play a game for a bit and then stop, just waiting for the next thing to buy. I rarely play games exhaustively.

That, and downloadable titles aren't really the games you sit down and play for hours on end. They're the kind of games that you chew on every now and again, sometimes going for a complete and sometimes just playing it as you go along.

When people complain about shorter games, they mean the more "Triple A" titles, like Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2. It's the annoyance that those games basically ignored the single player and just focused on the multiplayer, making for very short campaigns. If a triple-A titles like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, epic sprawling RPGs, was only 10 hours long you better believe we'd be ranting.

Also, with episodic content, if the game is short we expect quick bursts from those, making it more worth it (I'm looking at you VALVe)

That being said, Joe Danger was a mighty fine game, and I heartily recommend it to any PSN downloader.

I have no problem with long games, as long as they have a good story, but if they are just a long grind fest, I get annoyed, this generally includes turn based rpg's.

Yeah if they didn't finish it, it's not that they don't want long games...

They don't want YOUR game.

Sorry to burst your bubble Chuck.
But good try, trying to make the games to blame...I played it at my nephews and wow....it was just ... yeah...

It's not Total Recall NES bad...but it bored me to tears.

I love Joe Danger, I have not finished it though.. yet
It is a really good game to pick up when you do not have a couple of hours to play, do a level or two and put it down.
I have every intention to finish it, but I am just taking my time and enjoying it, I feel no need to rush it, which makes the game even better I think.

of course, Cheerleader For Hire Tom never once questions whether or not this game is worth completeing. If a game is not fun to play all the way through, why would anyone care to do so?

TheBadass:

Gamers don't know what they want. At all. Developers are probably better of just ignoring any and all advice from the internet and in a lot of cases doing the complete opposite imo.

Wouldn't that mean they should do the opposite of what you just said and

PARADOX DETECTED!

Ot: It really depends on the game. I never finished skate, but I spent ages riding around and just enjoying the world. In open world games, or games where a sandbox is important, the linear goals often aren't as important. For linear games though, I'll feel pretty robbed if it's short.

Hmmm. You make a fair point about it being the sort of game one might get caught up in freeplay with or something. But I do see this in things like Steam achievements as well. I don't know if they're skewed, but even so, how is it possible that only 8.5% of people who own it got the achievement for escaping the apartment block raid? It's pretty damn early in the game. Also, by the way, that's the most earned achievement. 2.6% got the achievement for finishing the game. As I said, they will be skewed, by people playing offline, or I don't know if buying the hardcopy affects that, but that's still a very small amount.

Possibly because not all of it appealed? Its always going to be a case where some will be decicated enough to strive to the end, all the way to the end, of everything.

Its fimnding time, and people want to be able to go back, overtime, to do more

Erm no, it's because that game is brutally hard.

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