Summer of 58 Dev quits over steam return policy

noko

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Most users returned it? After playing? How would we know that?

I wonder if the developer tried to modify the return window with Steam due to content length. I can see an Indie developer entice to make short great content, many game players never finish a game making the whole purchase at times stupid. Now for those that played the game all the way through, liked it and then got a refund are just plain turds.
 

Gorankar

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I don't blame the dev for their hard feelings. And I certainly would never advise someone to pad the game with pointless fluff just to reach the 2 hour play time required to not have to worry about refunds.

A lot of cheap people out there. I have only refunded two games. One because it had Denuvo and it was not listed as having it on it's game page, and a game where no matter what I did, I could not get an Xbox controller to work with it. It was a button mashing hack and slash at that. I would love to hear the excuses of people that refunded after finishing.

Use a different distributor?

Refunds up to a point are sort of required these days unless you want to deal with regulators using the distributor as a piggy bank.
 

Lakados

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Most users returned it? After playing? How would we know that?

I wonder if the developer tried to modify the return window with Steam due to content length. I can see an Indie developer entice to make short great content, many game players never finish a game making the whole purchase at times stupid. Now for those that played the game all the way through, liked it and then got a refund are just plain turds.
Achievement for finishing the game
 

sleepeeg3

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Refunds up to a point are sort of required these days unless you want to deal with regulators using the distributor as a piggy bank.
I was talking about Steam. Is that what you are talking about? They could have used Origin or released it from their own website. Should have read the T&Cs themselves.

Why didn't Five Nights at Freddy's have this problem, if the game was so great? They were also able to release on multiple platforms...
 

Zarathustra[H]

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$8.99 is cheap, but it is not 2 hours cheap.

I expect to get a AAA single player game on sale at $29.99 or less depending on the title, 2-3 years after launch, and I expect to get 40 hours for that. Not 40 hours of useless padded content, but 40 hours off true game and good story.

For 2 hours? I'd expect it to cost $1.50, and I'd expect to be warned about the short gameplay in advance so it wasn't a surprise.

I'm not going to lie, if I bought a game and only got two hours out of it I'd probably be pissed off and possibly request a refund as well.
 

Gorankar

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I was talking about Steam. Is that what you are talking about? They could have used Origin or released it from their own website. Should have read the T&Cs themselves.
Origin has a 24 hour refund window. Epic has a 2hour play time in the first 14 days return window. This is not just Steam. Refunds happen on the other distribution platforms as well. Even if they read the T&C well, it is likely they never imagined people would this dishonorable in the quantity needed to claim they made no money.
 

Ebernanut

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If you read some of the reviews before the recent positive review bombing they're a bit more mixed. It sounds like it has great atmosphere but doesn't have any sort of story that ties it together or any sort of gameplay to make it more interesting, coupled with the short length I think a lot of people returning it legitimately didn't care for it.
 

MavericK

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$8.99 is cheap, but it is not 2 hours cheap.

I expect to get a AAA single player game on sale at $29.99 or less depending on the title, 2-3 years after launch, and I expect to get 40 hours for that. Not 40 hours of useless padded content, but 40 hours off true game and good story.
I agree with you about the price, but expecting 40 hours of "non-padded" content in any AAA game is pretty ambitious. Most games are going to probably be something like 10-15 hours at the most, anything 40+ is going to for sure have content padding.
 

Gorankar

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If you read some of the reviews before the recent positive review bombing they're a bit more mixed. It sounds like it has great atmosphere but doesn't have any sort of story that ties it together or any sort of gameplay to make it more interesting, coupled with the short length I think a lot of people returning it legitimately didn't care for it.
You actually have to own the game to review it on Steam. If you receive the game for free, your review gets tagged with that as well. I generally do not buy into the idea that a game can be review bombed in any really effective way on Steam any more.
 

GoodBoy

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He should sell it on Epic, where most people will get a free copy anyway and Fortnite money will pay him for those copies.

Lesson: Don't make a game that's only 2 hours of play. Also, $9 is too much. $4.99 would have gone over better. If people played it and felt like it was a ripoff for the price, then getting a refund is their right. Just 1 more good thing about Steam imho.

As far as refunding a game on Steam, I've never done that. It's good to know that the option is there though.
 

Ebernanut

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You actually have to own the game to review it on Steam. If you receive the game for free, your review gets tagged with that as well. I generally do not buy into the idea that a game can be review bombed in any really effective way on Steam any more.
The first page of recent reviews were discussing the developers comments and praising him more than the game while older reviews were much more mixed and focused more on the actual game so regardless of whether they own the game his complaints are driving the current reviews more than the game.
 

DukenukemX

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Awesome but short game, if you speed through it you can complete it in under 2h. Most users played it, loved it, gave it a great review, then returned it for a full refund.
I remember the days when AAA games were released that people could complete on a weekend and pissed off everyone. A game I could finish in 2 hours even for $8 would make me made. Also, what's the replay-ability of the game? If it's a good game that you only want to play once then it wasn't that good of a game. Doki Doki Literature Club is a game worth only playing once but it's also free. Hollow Knight is $15 about twice as much as Summer of 58, but it won't take me 4 hours to finish it and it has replay value.

Doing a quick Google shows the game is mostly story driven and doesn't have anything that constitutes gameplay. It's a mystery game that you walk around a house. It's kinda scary if you consider darkness scary. According to this YouTube video it can be beaten in an hour with no real effort. Next time the developer should make the game last much longer but thankfully he won't be making anymore games.

 

Zarathustra[H]

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Sure it could be. Look at the price of a movie ticket or buying a movie.

Games are not movies, and I haven't been to a movie theater in 20 years.

Movies are totally not worth it in the theater. They cost WAY too much for what little entertainment you get.
 

GoldenTiger

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I've changed my mind.... Maybe $5 for an hour or two story game with no replay value. Even that might be pushing it. Sounds like the dev made a demo and then decided to sell it :p.
 
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DPI

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$8.99 is cheap, but it is not 2 hours cheap.

I expect to get a AAA single player game on sale at $29.99 or less depending on the title, 2-3 years after launch, and I expect to get 40 hours for that. Not 40 hours of useless padded content, but 40 hours off true game and good story.

For 2 hours? I'd expect it to cost $1.50, and I'd expect to be warned about the short gameplay in advance so it wasn't a surprise.

I'm not going to lie, if I bought a game and only got two hours out of it I'd probably be pissed off and possibly request a refund as well.

No offense since we're all friends here but consider that if everyone had this attitude, videogames would stop being made.

If a lot of gamers feel this way, I am suddenly feeling a lot less sympathetic to the GPU shortage impacting them.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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No offense since we're all friends here but consider that if everyone had this attitude, videogames would stop being made.

If a lot of gamers feel this way, I am suddenly feeling a lot less sympathetic to the GPU shortage impacting them.
Quoted for truth. Then people complain about how games don't take chances anymore....

I am going to go ahead and strongly disagree (in a friendly way :p )

My top single player story based games (based on number of hours played) are as follows:
  • Fallout 4 - 168 hours. Paid $39.99 on sale
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution - 89 hours. Bought it a few years after launch. Probably paid $15.99 (its long enough ago that it is no longer on my steam account history)
  • Fallout: New Vegas - 65 Hours - Also paid a pittance for it years after launch, as I was late to the Fallout party.
  • Dying Light - 61 hours. Paid $20 for the enhanced edition
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R - Shadow of Chenrobyl - 51 Hours. No idea what I paid as it was a while ago, but probably ~$20
  • Far Cry Series: probably about 60 hours each for Far Cry 2, 3, Primal, 4 and 5. Paid ~$20 for the older ones. Maybe closer to $40 on sale for the newer ones.
  • Wolfenstein 2 the New Colossus: 44 Hours. Got it in a dual game pack with Doom for $60, so lets say $30 each.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - 42 Hours. This one is a rare game I did pay full launch price for because I'm a fan of the Deus Ex franchise.
  • Prey (2017): 41 Hours - Paid $39.99
  • Doom (2016): 41 Hours - See Wolfenstein above. $60 for both games.
  • Fallout 3: 40 Hours Paid next to nothing for it as I got it years after launch.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R - Call of Pripyat 40 Hours.(excluding mods that broke Steams hour count, probably more like 200 hours) Paid probably $20
  • The Outer Worlds - 40 Hours - paid $31.86 on sale.
  • Metro Exodus - 37 Hours - $23 on sale
  • Dishonored 2 - 35 Hours - $12 on sale

etc. etc.

This is my expectation because it is what I have gotten to date.

In fact, at launch prices most games are just not worth the money.

It is exceedingly rare that I'd spend launch prices for a game. Anything in the Deus Ex series maybe. Maybe a new Fallout game. Maybe a new Far Cry game (though I am starting to tire of the formula, so maybe not) Certainly any new Sid Meiers Civilization or expansion pack. I always pick them up as soon as they come out, and I have spent a good amount of cash on them, but that's because I know I could get several hundred if not thousands of hours out of them. The rare multiplayer game I'd also buy at launch price. If there were another Red Orchestra - for instance. I got like 800 hours out of the last one. That said, I don't play too many multiplayer games anymore.

The thing is this. We know from Gabe Newell (who has forgotten more about digital distribution than any of us will ever dream to know) back in 2011, that with digital distribution where there is next to zero unit cost, the less a game company charges for a game, the more money they make, because they almost always make up for it in volume.

It's not like game companies are going to go bust if they can't charge you $60 for a game. In fact, they'd be much better off financially if they launched that same game at $20, or even $15 if they could just get over their stupid pride.

As it stands they try to keep the customers guessing, to get as many of them as possible t ok pay the higher price, yet occasionally dropping a sale to also sell to those who refuse to be gouged, without also having the launch price people pay less... It's kind of shitty...

These days due to digital distribution there is almost no unit cost, so you make WAY more money selling 100k copies at $15, than you do selling 10k copies at $60.
 
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Tengis

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I've changed my mind.... Maybe $5 for an hour or two story game with no replay value. Even that might be pushing it. Sounds like the dev made a demo and then decided to sell it :p.
My kids conned me into buying some BS game a guy made in Unreal Engine. Some Youtubers were pushing it and my kids begged for it.... was some really basic horror game.

We beat it in about 20 minutes and it was $5. I need to make a super basic game and then get Youtubers to push it to kids.
 

Gorankar

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The first page of recent reviews were discussing the developers comments and praising him more than the game while older reviews were much more mixed and focused more on the actual game so regardless of whether they own the game his complaints are driving the current reviews more than the game.
That may be, but they at least own the game, and like as not have played it. So these are generally not just people piling on that have no clue. I like a lot of games that I don't necessarily write reviews on or even rate. Stuff like this tends to get me, and I imagine at least some others, to go write a review, or revisit a review I/they have already written. Steam reviews are likely much more indicative of the views of actual owners of a game than say something like Metacritic.

Usually I am changing a review for the the better, because the Dev got around to fixing something. No Mans Sky got their thumbs down changed to a thumbs up after they fixed their game. Sometimes it is for the worse though. Elite Dangerous got downrated over their last disastrous DLC for instance. This is a game I own but have not played. I will thumbs up it or down it based on that experience when I get around to it.
 

Sycraft

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I gotta say, this is a situation where I have to "both sides it". If someone played and enjoyed the game then it is crap to return it. If you enjoyed an experience and were willing to spend the money up front on it that really does mean it was worth the money to you. So if you buy a game and like it, no matter how short, let the dev keep the money.

However the devs are a bit crap here too. 2 hours is REALLY short for a game and they have to know that. People go in expecting much more. It isn't a matter of if movies are the same length, it is a matter of what you expect to get. If you went in to see a movie and it was 10 minutes long instead of 90-150 (normal movie runtimes) you'd be mad because that is not the expectation. Also I guarantee it was not the same QUALITY of a 2 hour movie and that kind of thing counts for value.

People should pay for their shit, but creators should also strive to deliver good experiences.
 

WarriorX

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Provide reasons to replay the game and keep it? Different ending, dialog trees, secret areas, achievements, etc. Also game is barely a month old, give it some time, put it on other platforms?
 

Randall Stephens

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I am going to go ahead and strongly disagree (in a friendly way :p )

My top single player story based games (based on number of hours played) are as follows:
  • Fallout 4 - 168 hours. Paid $39.99 on sale
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution - 89 hours. Bought it a few years after launch. Probably paid $15.99 (its long enough ago that it is no longer on my steam account history)
  • Fallout: New Vegas - 65 Hours - Also paid a pittance for it years after launch, as I was late to the Fallout party.
  • Dying Light - 61 hours. Paid $20 for the enhanced edition
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R - Shadow of Chenrobyl - 51 Hours. No idea what I paid as it was a while ago, but probably ~$20
  • Far Cry Series: probably about 60 hours each for Far Cry 2, 3, Primal, 4 and 5. Paid ~$20 for the older ones. Maybe closer to $40 on sale for the newer ones.
  • Wolfenstein 2 the New Colossus: 44 Hours. Got it in a dual game pack with Doom for $60, so lets say $30 each.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - 42 Hours. This one is a rare game I did pay full launch price for because I'm a fan of the Deus Ex franchise.
  • Prey (2017): 41 Hours - Paid $39.99
  • Doom (2016): 41 Hours - See Wolfenstein above. $60 for both games.
  • Fallout 3: 40 Hours Paid next to nothing for it as I got it years after launch.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R - Call of Pripyat 40 Hours.(excluding mods that broke Steams hour count, probably more like 200 hours) Paid probably $20
  • The Outer Worlds - 40 Hours - paid $31.86 on sale.
  • Metro Exodus - 37 Hours - $23 on sale
  • Dishonored 2 - 35 Hours - $12 on sale

etc. etc.

This is my expectation because it is what I have gotten to date.

In fact, at launch prices most games are just not worth the money.

it is exceedingly rare that I'd spend launch prices for a game. Anything in the Deus Ex series maybe. Maybe a new Fallout game. Maybe a new Far Cry game (though I am starting to tire of the formula, so maybe not) Certainly any new Sid Meiers Civilization or expansion pack. I always pick them up as soon as they come out, and I have spent a good amount of cash on them, but that's because I know I could get several hundred if not thousands of hours out of them. The rare multiplayer game I'd also but at launch price. If there were another Red Orchestra - for instance. I got like 800 hours out of the last one. That said, I don't play too many multiplayer games anymore.

The thing is this. We know from Gabe Newell back in 2011, that with digital distribution where there is next to zero unit cost, the less a game company charges for a game, the more money they make, because they almost always make up for it in volume.

It's not like game companies are going to go bust if they can't charge you $60 for a game. In fact, they'd be much better off financially if they launched that same game at $20, or even $15 if they could just get over their stupid pride.

As it stabds they try to keep the customers guessing, to get as many of them as possible t ok pay the higher price, yet occasionally dropping a sale to also sell to those who refuse to be gouged, without also having the launch price people pay less... It's kind of shitty...

These days due to digital distribution there is almost no unit cost, so you make WAY more money selling 100k copies at $15, than you do selling 10k copies at $60.
No kingdom come? I don’t know you anymore.
 

harmattan

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I gotta say, this is a situation where I have to "both sides it". If someone played and enjoyed the game then it is crap to return it. If you enjoyed an experience and were willing to spend the money up front on it that really does mean it was worth the money to you. So if you buy a game and like it, no matter how short, let the dev keep the money.

However the devs are a bit crap here too. 2 hours is REALLY short for a game and they have to know that. People go in expecting much more. It isn't a matter of if movies are the same length, it is a matter of what you expect to get. If you went in to see a movie and it was 10 minutes long instead of 90-150 (normal movie runtimes) you'd be mad because that is not the expectation. Also I guarantee it was not the same QUALITY of a 2 hour movie and that kind of thing counts for value.

People should pay for their shit, but creators should also strive to deliver good experiences.
I see both sides of it as well. You can also make the argument that video games are/can be art, in which case there's the train of thought that you should pay for the opportunity to experience it, and on the other side you should only pay if you got something out of the experience.

One thing's clear about people who bought the game, played it all the way through (because ostensibly they were enjoying it), then returned -- they're trash. That's somehow worse than just pirating it, sort of like returning used toilet paper in a figurative sense. Worse, this is an independent developer who was trying to do something different. I do agree with OP's sentiment that people that do is are "why we can't have nice things."
 

UnknownSouljer

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$8.99 is cheap, but it is not 2 hours cheap.

I expect to get a AAA single player game on sale at $29.99 or less depending on the title, 2-3 years after launch, and I expect to get 40 hours for that. Not 40 hours of useless padded content, but 40 hours off true game and good story.

For 2 hours? I'd expect it to cost $1.50, and I'd expect to be warned about the short gameplay in advance so it wasn't a surprise.

I'm not going to lie, if I bought a game and only got two hours out of it I'd probably be pissed off and possibly request a refund as well.
2 hours of interactive entertainment for <$10 is an insane steal. There is a massive amount of work that’s put into that, in some ways far more than a movie, and a movie ticket costs more and takes less time to produce.

And I suppose to also put it another way, you pay the same level for a movie regardless of if it was a $100k indie film or a $100M blockbuster. That’s literally a 100 times difference in production costs with the same ticket price.

<personal opinions about length>
In light of that, PC gaming is very inexpensive for 2 hours at $10. If it’s a really well put together 2 hours, an incredible experience, I’d much rather have that than 40 hours of sandbox. My personal favorite length for a game is about 10-15 hours, single player, highly story driven, and experience driven. I want an experience, not something I have to spend huge amounts of time to squeeze content out of. I’m over sandboxes and games that are grindy for the sake of being grindy.

DX:MD and Last of Us are good examples of what I’m taking about.
</personal opinions about length>

Games are not movies, and I haven't been to a movie theater in 20 years.

Movies are totally not worth it in the theater. They cost WAY too much for what little entertainment you get.
That’s a matter of opinion of course. But that would mean basically no form of film media is viable. Because although they make good profits when things are good, there is a lot of garbage movies out there because studios are afraid to take chances. In other words there is a lot of costs and a lot of risks involved in film production. It’s not hard to make a $40M film and see a $20M return. Has happened more often than not.

Basically all film and TV should/would die, if not for models that people are willing to pay for.

Netflix and web distribution models only work because you’re paying them whether new content comes or not. And it’s distributed over a huge body of people. Certain services are pure profit, like Disney+, which basically makes zero new content. Yes yes the Mandalorian is there, but that is one show in a sea of people spending $7 a month for the Disney catalog that has all already been profitable from ticket sales. It’s basically a money printing machine.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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No kingdom come? I don’t know you anymore.
What is Kingdom Come?

Edit:

I mean, I have the googles like everyone else, but I wasn't familiar with it until now.

Medieval stuff isn't really my thing.

Nor is anything fantasy genre.

I prefer 19th and 20th century history but will also do contemporary, and I tend to love dark, gritty and dystopian near future sci-fi worlds.
 
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Flogger23m

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2 hours is too long of a window for such a game. On the other hand, for a game 40-80 hours, 2 hours is just the tutorial if that. I know it would make things a huge pain for returns to have variable windows. But I think in cases like this where the game is ultra short, a 1 hour window makes sense.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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2 hours is too long of a window for such a game. On the other hand, for a game 40-80 hours, 2 hours is just the tutorial if that. I know it would make things a huge pain for returns to have variable windows. But I think in cases like this where the game is ultra short, a 1 hour window makes sense.


The thing is, I can picture going along, playing a game, thinking "this is quite a good start, lets see how it develops" then all of a sudden it is over, and you're like WTF? I paid for THAT?
 

Zarathustra[H]

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<personal opinions about length>
In light of that, PC gaming is very inexpensive for 2 hours at $10. If it’s a really well put together 2 hours, an incredible experience, I’d much rather have that than 40 hours of sandbox. My personal favorite length for a game is about 10-15 hours, single player, highly story driven, and experience driven. I want an experience, not something I have to spend huge amounts of time to squeeze content out of. I’m over sandboxes and games that are grindy for the sake of being grindy.

In the past I've been quite disappointed in games that end after 10-15 hours considering them to be WAY too short. As an example, Singlularity was a pretty good title, and mostly enjoyable, but when it was over after only 13 hours I was left with a sense of "well, thank god I bought tit years after release and only paid $7.49. At full launch price I would have been livid.

I think most people are more along my lines.

I mean, consider how much shit the Outer Worlds got for being way too short. I don't know about everyone else, I got 40 hours out of it. (granted, that included the first expansion, but it was included with the game. so I consider it as one. and even so, it probably only added 5-10 hours. So out of the base game I got 30-35 hours, and that was widely criticized for being "short".

Granted, I tend to pursue all the side quests, and play at the most difficult (not insane) difficulty level, so maybe I derived more hours out if it than others did, but still.

As far as value per hour goes. PC gaming is not a direct apples to apples comparison to movies. Going to a movie theater you can walk in off the street with nothing more than $10 and you are enjoying the full experience. With PC gaming, there is an upfront expense. You don't HAVE to go all in, but many of us choose to to get the best experience, and it is usually well over a grand, especially right now.

With that said, as far as games go, I figure if I'm paying a dollar an hour for high quality interactive content, I'm pretty happy. If I am paying much more than that, I am starting to get pretty disappointed in a hurry. And I don't think that is unreasonable at all. The costs of developing these things are spread over thousands upon thousands of customers.

Sadly unlike movies, games don't usually publish development costs or exact number of sales, so it is difficult to run some hypothetical calculations, but with how large the gaming market is these days, it is not unreasonable to expect very affordable games when the revenue is spread out over many customers.

That said, in the list of the top 50 video games, every single one has over 20 Million units sold. Their breakeven point is thus no more than a few bucks.
 
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UnknownSouljer

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In the past I've been quite disappointed in games that end after 10-15 hours considering them to be WAY too short. As an example, Singlularity was a pretty good title, and mostly enjoyable, but when it was over after only 13 hours I was left with a sense of "well, thank god I bought tit years after release and only paid $7.49. At full launch price I would have been livid.

I think most people are more along my lines.

I mean, consider how much shit the Outer Worlds got for being way too short. I don't know about everyone else, I got 40 hours out of it. (granted, that included the first expansion, but it was included with the game. so I consider it as one. and even so, it probably only added 5-10 hours. So out of the base game I got 30-35 hours, and that was widely criticized for being "short".

Granted, I tend to pursue all the side quests, and play at the most difficult (not insane) difficulty level, so maybe I derived more hours out if it than others did, but still.
I feel like people complain a lot to complain, not you, just in general... about anything really. I actually would have cut some of the flab near the end of the Outer Worlds and tightened it up. One of the big issues with Outer Worlds was of course how much development time they had. And they had to make some unfortunate cuts near the end.

I always wish that in situations like that, that content patches would put that content back in the game. It's weird that that isn't what happens to me. Especially with other titles like the notable Cyberpunk 2077, in which the major complaint is that customers didn't get what was advertised, and that was basically because of cut content (which again my point is, they could put back in).

Anyway, that's all side rambles, the point is yeah we all have different preferences and thresholds. But I wonder how many adults are honest with themselves about how much time they have to dedicate to the gaming hobby. I'm in my late 30's, I'm still single, and I would say I don't have time for excessively long games - let alone if I was married with kids. Heck, long games just risk me forgetting what was even going on with my last play session. Well executed and "short" is highly preferable for me at this point, again over something that just meanders. My tastes have changed. When I was in my teens and twenties, yeah, I wanted every game to be 80+ hours. That's just not "fun" to me anymore.
As far as value per hour goes. PC gaming is not a direct apples to apples comparison to movies. Going to a movie theater you can walk in off the street with nothing more than $10 and you are enjoying the full experience. With PC gaming, there is an upfront expense. You don't HAVE to go all in, but many of us choose to to get the best experience, and it is usually well over a grand, especially right now.
Yes and no. With COVID, most people have been watching on the small screen. Sometimes quite literally. I'm sure if we asked anyone under 29 how many movies/tv shows (lets just say streaming services in general) they watched during 2020/2021 on their phone, it would probably be a vast majority if not all of their content consumption time. And short of 100%, it's likely on other portable laptops like tablets or laptops. Things you can use in bed and laze around with.

Anyway again, ramble ramble, the point is the theater is a full experience that is "expensive", and folks are watching $100M movies on their phones. I would argue that most don't get the full experience out of their movies either. They're not investing $6000 into their audio system, using a 4k projector, blacking out their rooms/windows, etc. The only time you have to go all in on PC gaming is much the same as going all in on a home theater. You get a better result, but you can't argue it's necessary. Hell the Steam survey, last I checked, basically still had a majority of people using a GTX1060 level card. In other worlds I would say it's only a tiny percent that experience PC gaming to its "maximum" very much like a theater experience.
With that said, as far as games go, I figure if I'm paying a dollar an hour for high quality interactive content, I'm pretty happy. If I am paying much more than that, I am starting to get pretty disappointed in a hurry. And I don't think that is unreasonable at all. The costs of developing these things are spread over thousands upon thousands of customers.

Sadly unlike movies, games don't usually publish development costs or exact number of sales, so it is difficult to run some hypothetical calculations, but with how large the gaming market is these days, it is not unreasonable to expect very affordable games when the revenue is spread out over many customers.

That said, in the list of the top 50 video games, every single one has over 20 Million units sold. Their breakeven point is thus no more than a few bucks.
It's lucky to be successful in movies and the gaming industry. It's exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. You're lucky if you can get those thousands of customers, you have a bigger chance of losing money.

This is why all of the indie devs are taking the guaranteed money. Epic Games wouldn't be able to do exclusive buyouts and Microsoft wouldn't be able to corner game publishers onto their platforms with money if that wasn't the case. If the power was all in the devs hands it would be worth 'the gamble' but even with a company like Obsidian, that made the Outer Worlds with veteran devs that have been in the industry for well over 30 years, they'd rather take the Microsoft buyout money and guaranteed distribution than risk a flop for any reason (the Ascent team, Neon Giant, as another example... in fact you can look at all of the recent Microsoft acquisitions and Epic buyouts this way). And I think those decisions really are telling in terms of the economics of gaming and films for that matter too, which also operate on this principle of hopefully selling 'your product' over thousands of people. Despite the visibility of AAA gaming, they are an exception, and those titles are successful by being formulaic, tons of advertising, by being iterative (cutting costs by using the same assets and engine etc), and essentially taking no risks (how many CoD multiplayer only games have we gotten in a single decade?).

Anyone developing as not a part of the big 3 is hoping for a cash positive outcome that isn't remotely guaranteed. And that's a big enough possibility that most devs would rather take the guaranteed money over tossing the dice.
 

HAL_404

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
1,239
I'd bet money at least half the people that returned it because it was too short for the $8.99 price tag are the same people that get pissed if they don't get a $10 tip for walking a couple of plates to your table and pouring two coffees at Waffle House.
well, you know what they say ... "expectation leads to disillusionment."
 

Armenius

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
28,995
https://www.pcgamesn.com/summer-of-...pcjNVbxpnvh1Vwc8ah2Yj7VGq4Gk_Ja7amfm63OZtMehw

This is why we can’t have nice things.
TLDR;
Awesome but short game, if you speed through it you can complete it in under 2h. Most users played it, loved it, gave it a great review, then returned it for a full refund.
I'd like to see the developer's data. I saw some data before that showed overall refund rate for games is around 8%. If 8% refunds is enough to break this developer then maybe he should make longer games or find another industry to get into.

Also, if there really was a litany of people giving positive reviews and refunding the game, then there would be a lot more reviews that said this since Steam tags reviews where the user refunded.
1630337978760.png


I had to scroll down quite far to find these two examples.
https://steamcommunity.com/app/1609080/positivereviews/?browsefilter=toprated&snr=1_5_100010_

After making it all the way to the bottom I was only able to find one more. So 3 out of 579 positive reviews were from people who refunded the game.

And we should not use this as yet another misguided attempt to go after Steam since literally every other major storefront has a similar or even more generous return policy than Steam's.
 

GoodBoy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
2,188
I see both sides of it as well. You can also make the argument that video games are/can be art, in which case there's the train of thought that you should pay for the opportunity to experience it, and on the other side you should only pay if you got something out of the experience.

One thing's clear about people who bought the game, played it all the way through (because ostensibly they were enjoying it), then returned -- they're trash. That's somehow worse than just pirating it, sort of like returning used toilet paper in a figurative sense. Worse, this is an independent developer who was trying to do something different. I do agree with OP's sentiment that people that do is are "why we can't have nice things."
I get what you are saying and agree. But this game is being finished by most players in less than 1 hour. Less than 60 minutes. $8.99 is too expensive, and I would feel ripped off too. The early reviews are mixed.. it is not that good of a game, and apparently not worth $8.99 to a large amount of people.

I'm not going to assume that all of those people who got refunds are 'trash' nor that this dev is an 'angel'. People who pirate are trash (generally).
I'd bet money at least half the people that returned it because it was too short for the $8.99 price tag...
Yep. I'm not going to sympathy buy this game just to support a shitty game dev. If they lower the price to $1.99, I will try it.

The game dev either
1) simply not that good and couldn't deliver a story and enough content to meet reasonable expectations
2) overvalues his work - now he has been awakened
3) incorrectly valued his work - lower prices sell more copies
4) greedy and just trying to rip us off - in which case I am very thankful for the Steam refund policy
5) is ignorant of what a good game is - he is better off doing something else to earn a living
 
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