Are games REALLY good value? Let’s do a maths

No Man's Sky

How much is a game worth? One day soon that question will be academic. Once Zuckerberg has completed his work and we plug every game developer into the Oculus hive, we’ll simply detach USBs from the napes of their necks every four years and play their output forever for free.

For the time being, however, the cost of a game like the $60 No Man’s Sky can cause debate. Is it better or worse value than, say, a Freddo? It can get pretty confusing. Unless you use maths.

Already priced out? Try one of the best free PC games.

Let’s say you’ve bought a Cadbury’s Freddo from Asda in the UK at the going price: 25p. You’ve taken a very fine blade to that Freddo and chopped it into 12 little pieces, each just large enough to taste. You set your watch, and you eat one of those pieces every five minutes. You savour that Freddo and make it last for an hour. Can games do better than that?

We’ve consulted HowLongToBeat.com which, aside from the limiting perception that games are challenges that exist to be beaten, is a handy resource for calculating average playthroughs. And we’ve looked at leading computer game distribution service Steam, which today and every day has a number of epics available for peanuts.

Oh look, here are some now:

Half-Life 2 – £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough – 19 hours
Price per hour = 36.8p /51.6¢
Better value than a Freddo? No

Knights of the Old Republic II – £6.99/ $9.80
Completionist playthrough – 50 hours
Price per hour = 14p / 20¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes

Deus Ex – £4.99 / $6.99
Completionist playthrough – 36.5 hours
Price per hour = 13.7p / 19¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director’s Cut – £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough – 66 hours
Price per hour = 10.6p / 15¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x2

Age of Wonders – £3.99 / $5.59
Completionist playthrough – 52 hours
Price per hour = 7.7p / 11¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x3

Blackguards – £2.99 / $4.19
Completionist playthrough – 46.5 hours
Price per hour = 6.4p / 9¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x3

FTL: Faster Than Light – £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough – 127 hours
Price per hour = 5.5p / 8¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x4

Rome: Total War – £6.99 / $9.80
Completionist playthrough – 156 hours
Price per hour = 4.5p /
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x5

The Binding of Isaac – £3.99 / $5.59
Completionist playthrough – 124.5 hours
Price per hour = 3.2p / 4¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x7

X-Com: UFO Defense – £2.99 / $4.19
Completionist playthrough – 134.5 hours
Price per hour = 2.2p / 3¢
Better value than a Freddo? Yes x11

Yes – our findings show that small chocolate frogs are extortionate. Further research required to determine whether rising costs at Cadbury’s are in proportion with inflation. But PC games? They’re pretty cheap as habits go. Thanks, maths.

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