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Ex Sony CEO Says Games Should Be Shorter | Is He Right?

Former Sony CEO, Shawn Layden believes games are too costly and development takes too long. Should games become shorter and more refined experiences?

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Sonic-and-Crash12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

i agree with him....if the games are being made with more attention and more substancial content ...then yes he s right ...best duration for a single player games is imo 25-35 hours ....with options to extend this to 80 -100 hours if you want to gather every collectable

Gazabyte12d ago

I agree with the best duration for a linear experience being around that length, but open world games need to feel more open and expansive. We all love the feeling of finding an unexpected quest round the corner!

bouzebbal11d ago (Edited 11d ago )

Sony ceo? 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ 🤦‍♂️

FinalFantasyFanatic10d ago

I'm fine with more Linear games, open world games are all the rage now and there's heaps of them out there as it is.

SierraGuy10d ago

What?!

Fk open world...the cancer of gaming.

Lore11d ago

That’s not what he was pushing for. He wants short 12-15 hour experiences. In my opinion if a game is managed and created from the ground floor with rewarding progression and a solid gameplay loop then 25-45 hour experiences are very viable and on top of that, won’t need 5 years for development. Maybe why he’s not in charge anymore

Sharky23111d ago

What gets me is a long game comes out and everybody argues that games need to be shorter. A shorter AAA game comes out and they argue games need to be longer. Why can’t games just be what they are?

rainslacker11d ago

It didn't seem like his issue was about the game play length for the customer, but more on the production side. How much it costs to develop, and how long it takes to develop a longer game.

I'm not sure I 100% agree with him, because shorter games aren't necessarily cheaper. They usually do take longer to develop though, but not so much that I feel it's significant in the bigger picture.

It's more the scope of the game that determines the cost and production time, as well as the team that is putting it together. Length of the game itself is only one factor that effects scope, but the more complex the game design, the more time it usually takes to develop.

As far as my personal opinion on a games length for the consumer...I just feel a game should be as long as it needs to be to achieve what the designer and director are trying to achieve. It's not necessary to just throw in extra stuff for the sake of saying you have a longer game. There are a few games which do this which seem to drag on, yet the content within isn't really all that compelling, nor does it move a game forward in the story department. A couple of the recent tomb raiders were like that, and I felt FFXV was like that.

nix11d ago

I think 12-15 is perfect.

I was really pushing myself with God of War in the end... I had already clocked more than 20 hours by then. I didn't complete the last 20% of Spiderman because it was just getting too long for me without doing side quests. I loved Heavenly Sword for what it was. I'm not a big fan of sandbox games.

But there are others who love spending hours.

LordoftheCritics11d ago (Edited 11d ago )

Seems like the magic numbers are anywhere from 15 to 25 for a good story. Anything longer should be side quests and repeat business, or multiplayer/co-op extras.

Mass Effect 2 - 25 Hrs
Bioshock Infinite - 25hrs
Last of Us - 15 hrs
God of War - 25hrs
Arkham City Campaign - 25hrs
Half Life 2 - 15 hrs
Halo:CE - 12 - 15hrs

THRASHMOUTH11d ago

Mass Effect 2 - 25 hours.
Was it on Easy?

Kavorklestein10d ago

Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 take MUCH longer if you actually play the game like an RPG and explore everything and listen to your squad mates and do their loyalty missions. It's shorter on Easy perhaps, and definitely shorter if you play it like an action game or only go for Main Objectives.

LordoftheCritics10d ago (Edited 10d ago )

@THRASHMOUTH

I completed ME2 with all side quests and campaign, exlcuding dlc in 25hrs on normal. I'm on pc if that makes a difference.

AngelicIceDiamond11d ago

I dunno that's what AA games are for.

11d ago Replies(1)
Christopher11d ago

***best duration for a single player games is imo 25-35 hours ....with options to extend this to 80 -100 hours if you want to gather every collectable***

Isn't that what we have right now? Most games I play that are SP don't even last 25 hours if you ignore side content.

Sonic-and-Crash10d ago

yes most of them are around this duration ....though shorter than this you will feel unsatisfied if the game is good....(ex Vanquish , Order 1886 ,uncharted 4

Bobertt11d ago

His reasoning for games being shorter is about the cost of making them not if they drag on. He claims that cost of making games have gone up at least 2x since the beginning of the PS3 era but the price has remained at $60. He is saying that AAA games need to be shorter so eventually they don't end up costing more to produce than they will make. I can't remember the name but i know there were a couple games that sold millions of copies but their budget was so big that they lost money and the publisher killed the series. Those tend to be outliers but i guess he is saying if AAA games don't get shorter to reduce the amount they need to sell then the profit margins could end up killing a lot of good games either through not selling enough or having them add micro transactions ruining the game.

Kavorklestein10d ago

Honestly screw their profit margins. Some of these companies have made literally hundreds and even close to thousands of dollars from a single consumer over the course of a decade with sequels, DLC, and remasters/remakes.
Make truly good games and they will do well and make More than enough to be profitable without worrying so much about your cost as a company.

NeoGamer23211d ago (Edited 11d ago )

Games should be the "Right" length. That is a constant balancing act that developers have to meet. Some games I wish would end after the first chapter.... Others are like I am a drug attic, I just can't get enough! (I don't do drugs)

Kornholic10d ago

A single player game that lasts 35 hours is almost bound to be bloated with filler content. Also, with your model for the ideal game time you would spend more time gathering the collectables than actually finishing the game which is a ridiculous notion.

BLUEBLASTER10d ago

Well you dont agree with him as he says 12-15 hours which to me is too short.

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skydragoonityxx12d ago

To each his opinion, but i feel like i love a long game as long as the storyline/gameplay/side quests are worth it.

Iberius11d ago (Edited 11d ago )

I also prefer longer games; however, I understand the argument game development is becoming too expensive as well. There is a lot of risk for publishers investing in a 30-50 hour AAA game that costs 200 to 300 million dollars to make.

Imagine if the leaks for The Last of Us 2 tanked the sales. That would be a huge loss for Sony in both money and time. I think people may be focusing too much on Layden's comment about length of a game and not enough on his thoughts about the cost, development time, risk and reward factors AAA companies face when creating these games in contrast to the game's length.

rainslacker11d ago

Same. So long as a game can keep me engaged for the duration of it's content, I don't really care how long it is. A 6 hour game can be just as good an experience as a 25 hour experience. But, 6 hour experience can seem too short if you are engaged in the game, while a 25 hour game can seem like a lifetime if you just want to be done with it.

Kavorklestein10d ago

I agree that if the game keeps me engaged then I don't care how long it is. And I also agree I've played games that dragged on so long that I just never cared to finish the story.

I feel like open world games can get away with a longer campaign or story because there is usually so much to see or explore, that I truly get lost in the sheer depth of the world and don't mind. But- Open world games also plain OVERWHELM me sometimes too Haha. It's a love hate-relationship sometimes.

rainslacker10d ago

With the open world games I play, at least up until I found the stories more interesting around this gen, that I tend to end up doing a lot of the side stuff as I go, so I spend a lot more time in them that I really have to, and usually lose interest before the end. This isn't always a fault with the story, rather that I just get tired of playing it because I'm doing hours of stuff not related to the core game.

zugdar10d ago

I agree as well but how many games can maintain to be interesting for 40 plus hours? I'd say more fail at it than not and they could have used that dev time to make the core elements better.

GoodGuy0912d ago (Edited 12d ago )

Only rpgs should be 20+hrs in terms of singleplayer story first playthrough really. Online, life sims, and sandbox are pretty much unlimited ofc. Any other genre's gameplay/story can get stale or too dragged on. Imagine if a cod campaign was 20+hrs lol.

LordoftheCritics11d ago (Edited 11d ago )

A long cod campaign would lose the action blockbuster movie pacing.

The gaming medium is still exploring the right play lengths due to the varied types of games. Movies have found its length. Today most movies are 90 to 120 min. A few in between crossing the 2 hr mark.

Rimeskeem11d ago

I feel it depends on the game, but for the most part, I would like stories to be stories, not some adventure with 20 missions before you get to the place that matters. This is something that I struggled with in TLOU2, I loved the gameplay and the more intimate moments between characters. But the story struggled massively with it's pacing and do this, do that mentality where you could spend way too much time doing things you just don't care about. This actually led me to turn on listen scanning for items so i didnt have to spend time looking in every crevice and corner in the game. I really think the game could have been 5 hours shorter just by filler and it would have made pacing and all that much better. I still really enjoyed the game but it was a bit of a drag at points.

Now God of War made great use of it's allotted story time where combat was great and different through out the game and the father/son dynamic really hit home. To think the whole game is about carrying ashes to the top of a mountain but it does it with great twists and turns probably because you know the games ending. Of course there are games like What Remains of Edith Finch where you can play it and beat it by accident in a sitting but still a great story.

I would say that for purely story driven games you should try to aim for 10+ hours for a full priced game but don't just put filler in by making cutscenes into gameplay (when you walk with an AI as they give you the rundown) or making it side mission after side mission on a linear story game (like doing something for someone else to get something for someone else).

Lore11d ago

If you’re making a 10 hour game then just 1-2 year MAX is all the time it should take. It depends on publisher and developer experience, leadership and talent. Insomniac made the 2016 Ratchet game in well under 2 years to hurry and coincide the release with the movie. Their efficiency and resource management was a critical factor in the 220+ million dollar acquisition