Does Length Matter?

Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer asked for my views on why video games don't list play length on the box anymore. Here's my response:

“By the time any major title is released, we know from thorough testing how long the average playthrough takes, how long average leveling up takes, and how long it takes different play styles to play through the game,” says game writer Anna Megill. “We know the times for players who skip cinematics vs. players who read every line of conversation, explorers vs. achievers, and so forth. We even have internal speedrun records. A studio could easily estimate an average gameplay time.”

However, Megill believes that just because a studio could estimate average playtime doesn’t mean it should. “There’s danger in viewing games as a time investment rather than an experience,” she says. “Journey took me four hours to play through the first time, but it changed the way I see games forever. How do you quantify that?”

It's an interesting article with thoughtful responses from some big industry names. Definitely worth a read--even if I don't see gameplay times appearing on boxes again anytime soon.